have been living in fear most of my life!


first main sign, that I was different than the others, is other than my mother
I preferred my own company, I used to wander on my own, while the others played
at school. This worried both the teachers, and my mum, was I turning into a
little sociopath? It got to a stage the ‘head shrinks’ were called in! As you
can probably tell I hated it, taken out of class, other people wondering where
I was going, the paranoia, that has haunted me all my life kicked in, “they
think I’m in trouble,” “weird Andrew away, wonder what he has done?”

classmates, as you probably could tell were little bastards, I hated school,
the bulling, names I was called reinforced my protective wall around myself and
raised the fear level to DEFCON 2. Primary was not as bad as secondary, when
puberty hit, and it was clear that I was, ‘different,’ I was not attracted to
girls, that at the time, end of the 80s, start of the 90s, was a bad time to
‘come out.’ My squeaky voice, the fact that I did not have a girlfriend, the
rise of AIDS, and that every ‘straight,’ had the idea I did not have any taste
in men and would just jump anyone’s ass! I really did not have any kind of
friends really, again I hung around in my own, it was safer that way. But it
did not help the bulling, I was different. Not one of the clique, and I was
prime for the bulling! It was around this time, I first contemplated suicide, I
really thought about how I was going to do it, would I slit my wrists? too much
pain, would I drown myself? I did not want my last moments struggling for air,
as I slid into the darkness, Pills? What it didn’t work, or I was found? I
could end up even worse a vegetable! To say I scraped by adolescence was an
understatement, and when someone says, “sticks and stones will break your
bones, but names will not hurt you,” or “schooldays were the best days of your
life,” I physically want to punch them to the ground!

came work, the first thing I decided to shield myself would mask my real self,
I hid my sexuality from everyone at school, and I was still was bullied. So, I
decided to go right out there, I was ‘BIG CAMP ANDI!’ the life and soul of the
party! Despite my awkwardness, I have a very weird, and somewhat blunt sense of
humour, and to say I turned this up to the max, would be understating
this! The things my mother and father,
warned me not to do, I DID, campy hats, furry bags, bright colours, anything
for ‘them,’ to focus on that, then me! I still did not socialise, one reason
for this is the fear again of revealing my ‘true self’ to people, and I cant
hold my drink, (it’s true, one Christmas,
in my first real job, I had a small amount of whisky in a glass, I was
up on the tables, singing like a bad karaoke star, that thinks he’s Elton
john!) But I had my bad days, where the mask would slip, for example when I was
told off by a boss, I go into little schoolboy mode, the nerves overcame me,
and the stammering, trying to get myself out of the mess, and out of the door
as soon as possible. I have great difficulty adapting to new things, again this
really did not make me a great employee, (I’ve realised these are traits of
Asperger’s,) but at the time all I could do is wish my brain worked like normal
people! At these points the depression, would really sink in, and I got from my
work friends around me, “where’s happy bubbly andi?” And I try, really try, to
put the mask back on, and be ‘bubbly andi,’ but inside I’m screaming, “leave me
alone, this is the real me!” and the guilt would kick in, I’m deceiving these
people, the ones that are trying to make friends with me! They are trying to
help, and you are slapping them down!

be honest, working in a customer service call centre was a huge mistake! I took
everything in like a sponge, yes, I could tell you inside and out the product,
the flipside of that was, when people got angry, which they did quite a lot, I
took it personally. I would go home at night sometimes and cry myself to sleep.
It was only inevitable I would have a MAJOR BREAKDOWN, and I did, it was due to
my old foe, non-conforming, I done something wrong on a call, I promised I
would change, and about a day later did the same thing again. When I was taken
in, to be questioned by my superiors, I felt I was that little schoolboy again,
having done something worse than death, the ground opened and swallowed me!
Then after that I was put back on the phones, with a supervisor, and the same
thing happened again! I could not get the office quick enough, and went to the
end of the road, looking to put myself in front of the next car, I stood there
for 10 mins, debating with myself, (it felt like 10 hours!) I never had a
thought, that I was going to die, I wanted to die! The only thought I had was
the person in the car, how were they going to feel, that they were in the
instrument that would end my life. That kinda called me out of my misery, and I
slowly walked home, crying, I felt such a failure, that I did not kill myself,
I could not even do that right!

may be wondering why this is called ‘about a hat,’ its about said hat,
(pictured,) I went out yesterday wearing it, (my bit of rebellion,) and I got
from my father, “you are not going out like that, it’s embarrassing, take it
off, you look like coco the clown,” and I’m back trying to please people,
hiding away again, to save me from the hurt, that I perceive people are
thinking about me, in their head! I didn’t take it off, I walked out the door,
head held high!