Hopefully you’ve read the ‘about me’ page? If not, I suggest you do so to make sense of and understand this post.
The studio in St Austell closed pretty much as soon as it opened. I was like a goldfish in a bowl where the only people coming in to swim in my waters were the drunks, the druggies, the morbidly curious (the rubberneckers) and friends. Everyone else just peered through the glass at the sad and lonely fish bouncing off the walls and the fetish furniture.
Over the period of three months I shot three models on a TFCD basis and had one paying customer that couldn’t afford the full amount so I let him have the shoot half price. It was for his girlfriend on her birthday; I’m a sucker for people doing good deeds.
It seemed that the local LGBT community was a closed group run out of a bar in Truro and the local BDSM community weren’t half as liberal as the communities I’d known in London. I was kicked off their forum as a few people disagreed with the religious aspects of my work and I later found out that in Plymouth, at a Torture Garden/Club Rub type affair the bouncers actually removed crops, whips and swatches from the customers prior to their entry to the club.
The models that I wanted to help promote didn’t show. There were lots of girls wanting to be shot but no-one seemed to make the effort to actually show up and be shot. To the girls in Plymouth, while seemingly wanting to work with me, obviously found the forty minute trip to St Austell to be similar to trekking across the Gobi desert on foot and un-supported. They never showed. Perhaps they wandered off, lured by a mirage somewhere near West Taphouse.
A depression that had been brewing since the beginning of the year took full hold of me and in October I shut the studio doors for the last time. I hung up my camera and immersed myself into an autopsy of a failed business.
In December, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I had to give up sugar, lose weight and control my blood sugars with a daily round of tablets added to those I was already taking for the depression. Half of my family disowned me over money issues and having signed on to the electoral role when I moved to Cornwall all of my past debtors caught up with me in one fell swoop.
After a fairly dismal Christmas without the majority of my family and without money, I was struggling to deal with day-to-day issues and even those things I found pleasurable felt like chores. My bodyboard went into the same not-to-be-opened box as my camera and kites. I hung up my wetsuit and became reclusive. In January, when I thought things could get no worse I received court orders from the CSA and managed to spectacularly offend my last remaining close friends.
Our neighbours rallied around my partner and I and with them and our dog we managed to get by. As proud a man as I am I felt weak and humbled by their help. I hate to be seen as looking for sympathy and I hate being in a place where I need help rather than being able to offer it. I felt I’d made a bunch of lifestyle choices that were detrimental and that my rebellious nature far from defining me had been my undoing. At times I even envied those people stuck on the M25 on their way to sensible office jobs in the morning and similarly stuck on the M25 in the evening on their way home to their three bedroomed semi’s in suburbia with their 2.4 children and their doting stay at home but ultimately unsatisfied wives who were busy having affairs with their gym instructors.
I went for a psychiatric assessment. I became a 20 hour a day World of Warcraft playing hermit only venturing out of the house for shopping and cigarettes. If I wasn’t online then I was asleep in bed.
I had over four and half thousand ‘friends’ on my Facebook account and only twelve of them were friends. Of that twelve I missed most of their posts and updates and had upset over half of them into not talking to me.
Still, I had Jo and the dog… They stood by me and refused to give up on me. Still, I had my father who surprisingly was the one to rally round and support me of all my family. Still I had our neighbours who were there daily to chat, smoke and drink coffee with. Surprisingly I also had the Church I’d so royally offended but felt I was worth trying to convert and save.
More than that I had a dogged determination not to give up. I wanted a blog in which to vent and throw open ideas, I badgered my ISP into providing functionality which although they are one of the biggest and most professional ISP’s they didn’t offer unless one was paying a vast sum of money for hosting each year. I wanted a new slant on the business and I wanted my health back.
Sympathy can make one weak. It’s nice to receive in small doses and can make you feel loved and cared about but can ultimately leave you wanting more and losing the will to fight while wrapped in that cotton-wool ball of love.
It’s sometimes easier to shut yourself away in a room of your own and weather the crushing blows of your depression alone. It’s easier sometimes to sit alone and think and write and to measure your own failures and successes looking for that break in the weather to make you want to walk in the sunshine.
Alone you can make your own decisions and define your own future rather than being told how you’ve failed and how to avoid making the same mistakes over and over.
I’ve had to sell everything but my camera and one lens to survive since October. All the lights are gone, my car is gone and my DVD collection comprises only of those films I love and can truly watch over and over.
But… I have my blog now and I have a fresh slant on an old idea. I still have half a family and I have friends if only I show them love back. I have Jo and Sid my dog.
I’m not prepared to give up just yet and am tossing around an idea in my head that will not only be financially viable to myself but to any of the models that sign up for it. I was down but never completely out. I still have issues but I’m willing to iron them out. I still have faults but I’ll hold my hands up to them and try to overcome them.
I’m going to give it one more go. I might have a space in which to start a new studio, I might have an idea that will pay the bills but not satisfy my soul. If I have that space, hell, even without that space I might also have the idea that satisfies my soul and pays the bills.
Who’s willing to take a chance with me and step on-board?