Physically and mentally.
To anyone who's recently been reintroduced to my life; don't worry too much about what you're seeing on this site.
For almost a decade I've been a completely different person.
“That's just called growing up!”— you
No, this was different. I think moving out of Liverpool at 19 had a big impact on my identity, then after a series of trauma, I reconnected to my previous life and am starting to feel like a Scouser again, ready to get my life back on track.
So, if we were friends before I was working in film, or you're just getting to know me now: this may be helpful for you to understand what's going on.
My two worlds are colliding.
I've written a lot of scripts since I was 19, but a large part of them were so detached from my own reality that I suffered an identity crisis almost a decade later. I think I was so focused on trying to make commercially successful films, that I neglected to be honest with myself about what I think a good film is: something you enjoy. It doesn't matter about the dialogue or who starred in it, the lighting isn't important and neither is what camera or film stock it was shot on. It's binary: did you enjoy it? Yes or no.
I feel like my two worlds always had me in conflict with myself. In the industry, often what is viewed as art is perceived as weird in the real world, and often what is viewed as normal in the real world is perceived as cheap and unartistic in the film world.
I need a blend of the two.
I need to make “A Spoonful of Honey” – a film about a person getting shouted at for playing music loudly while eating honey at 2 am.
“It doesn't follow a three-act structure! It serves no purpose.”— you, possibly
“What's this kid doing? Has it lost it?”— also you, possibly
Respectively, it doesn't matter and no I haven't. I've just really been struggling with the grief of losing my father.
If you follow the Kübler-Ross model, I think at the moment I'm bouncing between bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I don't think you necessarily have each stage independently and then the proceeding, in my experience they blend and come crashing in at random intervals like waves.
What you're reading on this site is when I'm catching a breath after being hit by a big wave of depression. Don't worry: I'm totally aware and getting good support.
As I use creativity as my emotional outlet, I've been up to a series of projects since my dad died. I've been writing scripts of events in my life—I think trying to immortalise him somehow—intending to release them as short films or a series of episodes for each location. I would also like to do a stage play.
I've been taking photographs that I hope to turn into either a photo book or exhibition of some sort. It mixes digital, instant, and 35mm as different parts of my identity.
I've been writing these posts as part of another project. Considering I've publicly shared them after pretty much zero social activity since 2012, you may be just seeing these and know nothing about my recent life, but again: don't worry.
What I think is happening is simply my two worlds merging to allow me to overcome an identity crisis at the same time as accepting that my dad has died. I reckon this will be sorted at the end of March, once I've had all my “first without him” key moments.
So don't worry if I've posted this on Facebook or Twitter and you're concerned I've gone weird(er)… I haven't; you're just seeing a side of my life you maybe didn't know much about but is accepted elsewhere and under control.
So about this physical pain? Since I was 12 I've had almost unbearable pain in my knees. I was brushed off by the doctor so many times, it was unbelievable. I've complained endlessly to people from my film world since my first day of work experience, and I'd pretty much given up hope on a solution. A couple of years ago—with thanks to Doctor Barber—I was blessed with an appointment with Joanne Banks. She figured out the problem (or five) and gave me hope for the future. She's been a glimmer of light in a very dark part of my life. I say “part” because you may very well not have even known about how miserable I could be when I was having a particularly painful day, you may not have even known I had days like that because I tried so hard to hide it as a different part of myself.
Recently, the pain has been much worse. As it's travelled to my thighs and hips, it's taken its toll on my mental state. I've been prescribed a few different attempts of physical pain relief, but none have been of much help so far. Amitriptyline certainly seems to help me mentally cope, but still, the physical pain is constant. I've been referred to a pain specialist so fingers crossed it will be managed soon… although the appointment isn't until August 2022, so not too soon.
When the physical and mental start to become overbearing, I try to get a massage from Jenny Miller. She's—hands down—played such an important part in my recent mental and physical improvements. I initially visited with the hope of a few hours of pain relief but ended up with at-home exercises, a diet plan, and emotional support as well. She's awesome.
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. I feel like that was relevant for you to know as it somehow blends into my indenting crisis. While I do apologise thoroughly, it's something the people from my other life have to deal with also, so you may just have to accept it if you're willing to be involved with that part of my life.
Right now I feel like I'm at a pivotal point of both the stages of grief and overcoming my own mental health plummet.
What does it mean for you?
It depends what part of my life you know.
If you know my personal Scouse-based life: it means you'll see me post content that may seem weird or worrisome, but don't panic; it's normal in my other world.
If you know my work life in Manchester: you'll see my creativity or “art” start to reflect my Scouse life; it may seem weird or worrisome, but don't panic; it's normal here.
In both scenarios, I'm simply attempting to overcome an identity crisis; embrace where I'm from and what my life is; and accept that I've lost my dad.
I genuinely believe once I've got this multitude of projects off the ground, I'll be on my way to a better self that can have a hand in each world he adores.
I hope you like who I will become.