Xesce FAQ
1. Why did you compile these FAQ?
2. How do you pronounce Xesce?
3. What is the origin of the name?
4. How old are you?
5. Where do you live?
6. In what country were you born?
7. What do you do?
8. Where do the images on your sites come from?
9. How many sites do you have?
10. What do you look like, anyway?
11. Why do you have a problem going outside?
12. Do you consider yourself self-absorbed?
13. Do you think anyone cares about what you have to say?
14. Do you consider yourself an artist?
15. Do you have any friends?
16. Why do you think that is?
17. Why have you cut off contact with family and friends?
18. Do you think you have it worse than everybody else?
19. What physical conditions affect your life?
20. Are you an alcoholic?
21. Don't you find vomiting disgusting?
22. Do you realize that eating disorders can kill?
23. What do you want out of life?
24. What do you want out of a relationship?
25. What is your psychosexual makeup?
26. What does 'hope' entail for you?
27. Do you see anything positive in life?
28. Do you feel you have a purpose in life?
29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
30. Have you ever tried therapy or medication?
31. Where have you travelled?
32. Are possums rodents?
33. How hard can it be to kill yourself if you really want to?
34. What would happen if you tried to stop thinking or reacting, if you tried to just be?
35. If you wish you had never existed, why bother with a public website?
36. Do you have any purging or weight loss tips?
37. Other?

Xesce FAQ

1. Why did you compile these Frequently Asked Questions?

I now have so many different websites out there that I think it is probably difficult or next to impossible for anyone to know what I am trying to say. This is an attempt to organize my info and provide a kind of overview.

2. How do you pronounce Xesce?


3. What is the origin of the name?

It is something that a former partner and I came up with together, just playing around with letters. I have often thought of it as a blank slate, as it is not a reference to anything or anyone, but I also think that it is a word or concept that provides a kind of structure or coherence for a person with a shaky sense of identity. It's a way of linking all the parts, or an attempt to do so.

The first person to help me incorporate this name on a regular basis was steward. [alternate address] I remain thankful for his encouragement and support.

All my life I had wanted a different name than the one I had been given at birth. Not long after steward started using the name, I asked members of my biological family to use it, and since that time I have used it when I have contact with anyone new.

4. How old are you?

I was born in 1966. (In 2007, I am 41.)

5. Where do you live?

I have permanent resident status in Australia. I am not sure I will ever feel I have a home, though, and I often think of my website as an attempt to create a place where I belong. Hotel Chaotica is a phrase from Anaïs Nin's work that I liked and often use to describe my state of mind/where I live psychologically.

I was able to remain in Australia through my marriage to the Grey Knight. The immigration process was a nightmare. It was meant to be a 'marriage of convenience', but the relationship was and remains important and meaningful to me. We are divorced now, but GK is very dear to me.

For my thoughts regarding this alternative relationship, click here.

6. In what country were you born?

I was born in Canada and lived there for 34 years. My accent is Canadian. My personal view is that I would prefer that the idea of countries was less strict. We all live on the same planet, but to travel from one place to another involves so many rules and expenses that many people are disincluded. Also, I can appreciate the privileges involved with being born in a country like Canada, but I don't like feeling obligated to say a country is best for me personally just because I was born there, especially if I have not had a chance to experience more of the world firsthand.

[I would also like to comment on my weird habit of combining different versions of English spellings seemingly at random. I mean, I don't just choose one version, like American English, or Australian, all versions are all mixed up together. I am not sure how to justify this. Perhaps it is related to this non-allegiance to any one country? :>]

7. What do you do?

I am a navel-gazer. I spend my time trying to understand my existence. I haven't been able to find answers from conventional sources.

I have no career. I have no usual occupation. I have not held a job as an adult. When I was 21 I worked for 11 days as a waitress, when I was 20 I worked for a month at a fast food restaurant, when I was 18 I worked for about a year part-time as a telemarketer for a cemetery. I also had a brief summer job working as my father's secretary (16), and I used to work the cash register in the gift shop at my mother's summer resort for a couple of years before that (14- 15, although the second year I was only there a few weeks). I had also done some babysitting.

But beyond the age of 21, there has been nothing to speak of.

If anyone thinks I was ever complacent about it, or that I sat around enjoying my 'permanent vacation', they've missed the point entirely.

[2015: For some time now, GK has paid me a salary to do things around the house here. I pay a lot or most of it back in room and board. The overall amount is not enough that I am required to pay income tax, but the structure of this arrangement is psychologically helpful to me.]

8. Where do the images on your websites come from?

The vast majority of the images on all my sites have been created by me. Most of the photos are photos of me (with the notable exception of possums).

GK and other photo credits can be found here.

9. How many sites do you have?

The first site, obxesceion, was originally put online in early 2001. Since that time I have made changes and additions, but in recent years these have been minor.

The other main ones are:

exoterica (2004)
mia page (2004)
tarot (2005)
hotel chaotica (2005)
possum tv (2005)
blue tongue blog (2007)

Exoterica eventually included the mia, tarot, chaotica and possum tv sites, but started out composed mostly of images.

I began with the idea that I wanted a very simple website to act as a kind of personals ad. I had no idea that it would end up going in the directions it has gone.

The Grey Knight taught me html, and for the most part, I continue to create my own simple pages. However, when I create new sites, with new or advanced techniques, I often get a lot of help from GK with the html, although the creative/design aspects come from me.

[Hotel Chaotica is really just a mini-site, and it is possible that eventually I will create a new version that is travel oriented.]

10. What do you look like, anyway?

I think that the photos and images on my website represent how difficult this subject is for me. I have a serious problem with my self-esteem related to my appearance, and my pathological obsession with creating new images to show different perspectives or angles is probably about a desperate need to be more interesting and attractive than I am. At the same time, I probably stumbled on the idea that we are all more complicated or multi-faceted than our passport photos or other identification photos show us to be. Rather, I stumbled upon a way of outwardly expressing ideas I had held for a long time related not only to how I view myself, but to how I view others.

Photographs and video are now part of daily life. It is difficult to go anywhere in public without being filmed. I am not naturally photogenic, and my website photos are an attempt maybe to fight back or compete. I also think they are a valid expression of creativity and fantasy.

11. Why do you have a problem going outside?

I think it started as a manifestation of Post Traumatic Stress. However, over the years it came to represent low self-esteem and the feeling that there was no place in the world I belonged, and shame about not being able to support myself.

I still do focus a lot on my appearance, and how I'm not comfortable with it. I am now facing a kind of phobia related to the ubiquitousness of cameras and video equipment as part of everyday life.

I don't completely identify with descriptions of agoraphobia or social phobia, although it is true that I have not ventured out in the world much for most of my adult life. However, during the exceptions, I have often managed to do some daring things.

12. Do you consider yourself self-absorbed?

My life is very closed off from life and people. I don't have the same stimuli and stability that other people have. It's almost like there's no choice but to sit and think about my problems, and try to come up with my own approach to becoming more fulfilled. It's not like I haven't in the past tried to concentrate on others rather than myself - but I am now so depleted and lacking in any kind of foundation that I am more likely to harm people than help them if I try to 'help' or become involved in their lives. I think it is partly a kind of personal morality that makes me hesitant to involve others in my mess - although the way it comes out can hurt and/or confuse (or irritate) people.

13. Do you think anyone cares about what you have to say?

I do hope that at least some of what I say has relevance to others out there.

I am open to the idea of others suggesting things for me to read or study. I am open to the idea of talking to a therapist who understands my issues. How can people make suggestions if they don't have accurate info to work with?

I am not putting this out there because I think I have some important message for the world. I have spent a lot of time alone, isolated. The way I developed is weird. I don't have visibility in the regular world. When I put up stuff on a website, in a way I think it might fill a similar social function as when others put in an appearance in the daily world - to go shopping, walk their dog, go for lunch - even if alone.

In my isolation I did feel different, and I suppose as I express things online I have a chance to find out if there is any credibility to that feeling. If I am 'different', in what ways am I different? I think sometimes as you try to express what it is you actually feel you find it is difficult to help others understand, and/or that you may not be as unusual as you originally thought.

For now, I feel that I need my websites as a kind of self-support. I do often feel that I want to delete everything, erase my presence, erase my idiocy, my awkwardness, my errors, everything I am, because I feel that it would be better if I had never existed. But while I am still here, I feel that I need the self-support.

For a long time, I did think it was better that I destroy everything and hide the shame of what I am. If I had managed to die young, the world would have been spared me inflicting my baggage on it.

If it comes across that I consciously want to blame others for what is wrong in my life, that is not my intent, and it is something that embarrasses me. As I got older and weaker, I found it more and more difficult not to keep going over and over the same old things, looking for patterns, clues. I am trying to understand myself, and it does distress me that in doing so I might be unfair to others, or that I might not focus enough on their points of view. It is partly that I am getting more tired, and sloppy.

I think if you manage to find peace or fulfillment in life, it may be easier to let go of all the baggage, think of it as only part of who you are, and that it helped you to become who you are. But if you don't manage to escape it, you get stuck there indefinitely. You may want to say: enough! I consciously want out of this because I am not strong enough to solve it, I don't want to blame anyone, just please let me out of this life! But if that doesn't happen, in one way or another you will probably just continue to do exactly what you don't wish to do: hurt and/or confuse others, or make them uncomfortable in one way or another as you continue to try to make sense of it all.

14. Do you consider yourself an artist?

I always cringe when anyone asks me anything related to this topic. I think mostly it feels like too much pressure. I think I am a creative, but not skilled person. I am technically very sloppy and haven't taken the time to learn or develop skills - everything with me is a rush, and it's hit or miss. Flukes. I think what I do is Bad Art. Objectively. However, I think what I do is very personally expressive, and if I want the chance to be understood on an individual level, by a few people or one person only, I have a better chance if I keep trying to express myself in my own individual way. I have my own language, which I probably have to help decipher for others, but I do feel that what I do is about communication.

I do think that in a sense everyone's life is a work of art. As for myself, I think I might have a talent for seeing many different perspectives.

15. Do you have any friends?

GK is my friend. I am not sure that anyone else currently even likes me. And as for GK, as with all other relationships in my life, I view our friendship as precarious.

Psychiatrists or others could look at this as an example of me not being able to form deep personal attachments, or of not feeling normal human emotions, and this could help them to place me in a category.

When I was young, I think I responded 'normally' to family relationships, to friendships, and to grief over loss. The factual data that might be missing here when people make projections about my capacity for emotion is that for many years I did not have contact with the outside world, and therefore had no contact with people other than family. I did not want it that way, although others might have assumed I did. I was extremely lonely, and ashamed of myself, and years later when I discovered my family didn't realize that, I began to feel alienated from them, too. Also - my family moved much more than most families, which contributed to this. I actually found that when I tried to keep up written correspondences with old friends, they gave up before I did. This could certainly have had some effect on my present approach to email and correspondence. I stop things before I have to face a long, drawn-out realization that I am not really liked, or that I am replaceable.

What I have found in relationships since that time is that I have a much greater need for intimacy than do any of my partners or friends. It seems nobody can go as 'deep' as me - or because of my weird development, that's how it seems to me. When I am building relationships, it actually seems to me that I am approaching it from a much more real, sincere place than the people I have contact with. Looking at those ideas objectively, they seem silly. I think what it means is that I need to find those who need to go as deeply into the places I have a need to go. Maybe that urge is about trying to find solutions, or self-healing.

I do experience the emotions of grief and loss when it comes to the endings of personal relationships.

16. Why do you think that is?

It is partly because I am too psychologically depleted to be able to feed and sustain relationships.

Another important consideration is that I fear I embarrass people and that they are embarrassed to be associated with me. As a result, I try to 'make things easy for them' by backing away.

It is also related to an inability to trust. My personal experience is that you can know someone for many years, and then all of a sudden you will find out something about how they see you, or they will perform some action that seems to negate everything you have shared with them. I think this is part of why my sense of identity is so shaky. I certainly would not wish to inflict this on another person myself, but have to wonder, am I so complicated that it is inevitable? If you can't resolve something yourself, do you ultimately end up passing it on in one way or another? This is something else I fear.

More about identity: When I am communicating with people, the feeling of being 'overwhelmed' can be about feeling that there is too much to explain, and if I can't do it, the person won't understand who I really am, and the relationship won't be based on anything real. I can't build from that position.

I think that communication between most people doesn't go very far. Relationships look like they are based more on roles in life and preexisting family ties than about what individuals communicate, or who they feel they are at a core level. This may be fine if you fit into normal life, or have found a way of creating your own place in life, because the structure of your life and relationships ensures that a lot of what remains unsaid may be communicated non-verbally, in daily actions, and if you feel at peace with your existence, there is no need to over-complicate things.

But if you are floundering, or if you don't have a real life, you have a choice to make up a persona and fake it to survive, to run away and hide, or to find your own way of creating stability or a foundation that feels real to you. For me, I think it's been about trying to establish a framework of trust through discussion and analysis. I can't create a real life out of my empty life. I have to focus on trying to explain the chaos, I have to try to organize it.

So much communication in modern relationships seems very unclear to me, but I can understand why to most people it is tiresome or unappealing to try to work out the misunderstandings. I don't want to be unfair to people in what I write, but what I write and put online can't be specific to every single person I have had contact with, and I'm likely to be unfair without meaning to be. In each case, I would have tried to feel my way about how much the other person was willing to disclose or discuss, and I would have felt very self- conscious about trying to inflict something on them that they didn't want. But I personally don't have much choice. In order to create relationships that feel real to me, I have to struggle to find a common language. If I fail to do that, I will feel uncomfortable to a very high degree. I know that others are often a lot more easygoing than I am, and willing to accept muddled communication. I have to blame the problem on me, and what is necessary to me personally. I also can't blame the communication skills of others, as they may be communicating very well, but I just may not be equipped to understand. I also realize that my own communication skills may not be adaptable enough or simply not good enough to achieve the kind of understanding I seem to be looking for.

I can't even help it or turn it off. It is fine for people to have the spiritual or psychological belief that it is best to approach life in an easygoing, open, patient way, but when that hasn't worked out in the past, it kinda starts to look like a learning disability if I continue to approach things in the same way, by giving people space when I don't understand but sense that they don't want to be pressured. I am reluctant now to disregard these warning signs.

I think it is sometimes good to try to go with the flow, not take things too seriously, and that sometimes it is good to take things very seriously, or even necessary to do so. And only I can know what balance is right for me.

17. Why have you cut off contact with your biological family and with people from your past?

I don't have a kind of inner stability that allows me to maintain relationships. It is also extremely difficult to find those with compatible interests or perspectives. When you don't want to live, what can you actually talk about? Most people don't realize how much of conversation depends on an assumption of ongoing life. I make a decision to protect others from me, and to protect myself from the disgust of others. But, it is also fair to say that a big contributing factor is that people, including family and friends, are unconsciously affected by the stigma that surrounds those like me, and this can make even simple communication difficult.

Why is it so necessary to cut off all contact with people at a certain point?

[2015: I will leave my original answer here, but I realize that I have changed and am not affected in the ways I used to be, or I interpret things differently now. Somehow, I think I am a lot better at handling the kind of stress I mention below. I'm more likely to sum it up: we are in different places psychologically and philosophically for understandable reasons. I will usually make some effort to see what a person is open to or can tolerate discussing, but I have a lot more personal 'peace' with the process. And if anyone does try to fuck with me, I just sort of see it as a good opportunity to express some of the complexity I might not otherwise get to express.]

For me, the issues are similar to those people with addictions face. I don't know where to draw lines, and I am so depleted that I have excessive personal needs. Every time someone contacts me, even if it is a very simple email, I immediately project all kinds of stuff into a whole lot of different directions, and I feel an incredible amount of stress, which is compounded by the knowledge that most people do not want to go through the tedium of addressing things point by point until I relax.

I think one way to describe it would be that I can't stop at just one social drink. I can't wait until an appropriate hour, etc. In relationships, I want too much information too fast, as if there is no sense that there is enough time to be patient.

I do manage to control myself in the beginning, but I inevitably feel that I can't continue. When there are too many unanswered questions for too long, I feel vulnerable from too many angles, and I also start to view the whole situation with a feeling of unreality. 'This relationship/friendship is just a game' - or, it feels like I am trapped in some cliché relationship pattern, cliché script included. And when I feel that I can't be sincere, it feels hypocritical or cynical of me to continue. And I can't.

The extremely difficult thing is to help people understand just how much stress is related to receiving seemingly simple emails, and how at the same time I don't want others to feel bad for behaving 'appropriately' - I realize all too well that I am the one with excessive preferences. Everyday life stresses me. I find it difficult to talk to anyone who has a life and doesn't want out of it. I suppose I must be seen as a cold or mean person to totally shut people out, but I do not feel I really have a choice. This is not the kind of thing that just seems to get better over time. I think it represents a difference in beliefs and values that I've had trouble identifying or standing up for because I am always preoccupied with self-esteem issues.

If I had to guess, I would say that it is likely that the events of my past affected me in serious ways, such that at every moment I fear new unexpected shocks or betrayals. I seem to go back into those past experiences, relive them in a sense, and know that I am not allowed to have the information I need to help me make sense of things, or find my own way to fight back or prevent what I can. So, new people (as well as others from my past) with perfectly good intentions may be paying for my inability to resolve past issues. But it's not like I would withhold any of this information from any person who had a need to know. My overwhelming experience has been that it is all just too much for other people to deal with. They want safe communication. They want their personal privacy. And that is ok, and all I'm trying to say is that I just want to do as little damage as possible, and let people find people who are more suitable for them.

I guess another issue is that in the state I'm in, with my self-esteem issues and all the rest, I may be more likely now to attract people who smell fear and weakness, who are just naturally drawn to the experience of sadistically toying with a pathetic specimen - even if that's not the conscious intent.

18. Do you think you've had it worse than everybody else?

No, I definitely do not. And believe it or not, I am touched by inspirational stories I hear of people who face the challenges of their lives in spite of whatever tragedies, setbacks or problems they encounter. What I have to face is that I am just not as strong as these people, or perhaps it is possible that we don't have accurate ways of measuring effort and outcomes. I don't expect people to like or respect me. But I seem to have a very strong urge to attempt to figure out just what the hell happened.

It may be unappealing, but this is what I have been able to articulate so far. Much of it probably repeats what I am trying to say here.

19. What physical conditions affect your life?

I have a skin problem which I think is ichthyosis. It's a self- diagnosis, so I can't be sure. The subtropical climate here improves it to the extent that for me my skin is now 'normal enough'*, but for most of my life it was a very significant problem. My whole life was planned around hiding the condition, I felt a lot of shame about it, I experienced mental and physical discomfort/distress, and for a long time, I even tried to plan having relationships around the summer (warmer) months, when the condition wasn't as active.

For a few more details, click here.

*[It is considerably better than it was when I lived in a colder climate, but I still don't really have normal skin, and would not like to have it looked at in bright light or up close. As I age, I have found that it is again something I am becoming more uncomfortable and self-conscious about. I also still have to put a lot of effort into applying moisturizer - there is no such thing for me as being able to go without as my skin quickly becomes uncomfortably dry. The lines on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet are of course still exceptionally deep. The accompanying condition, keratosis pilaris, however, appears to be completely gone - or is at a level that is not noticeable.]

I also contracted genital herpes at the age of 23. Until the age of 31-33, the problem was relatively minor, with infrequent outbreaks. However, from the age of 23 on, I think my sexuality was significantly affected, and that this was probably the 'final straw'. I had been depressed since age 13 (or I consciously became aware of the depression at that age), and suicide did cross my mind through the years, but by the age of 23 I became constantly sure that I wanted to die, that I now had more to deal with than I'd ever be able to deal with.

Note: If there were any instances in which I had some form of sex with a person after the age of 23 and did not inform them of my condition, it was never at a time of outbreak, and condoms were always used.

2015: Since writing the above, I have realized that I became permanently suicidal some months before contracting herpes. After a horrifying hospitalization, a condition of release was that I accept welfare as I had no place to go and would be effectively homeless otherwise. Each time I went to pick up a cheque, I dropped off a lengthy suicide note in the trash at the social services building, and it was common for me to drop such notes all over town at this time. I think this related to both the stigma of being on welfare, and the trauma of my experience in relation to the hospital.

As for herpes, I can't deny it had a big effect, but at present what I see is that the whole approach to herpes is backward and doesn't make much sense. See stds and stigma.

20. Are you an alcoholic?

[2015: The term alcoholic has become obsolete and at the moment I forget what everyone is using. Alcohol abuse maybe. That needs to be factored in when reading what I wrote below. Also, I developed increased tolerance, very rarely have hangovers, and seem to get a lot more out of drinking. As of 2015, my liver is actually in pretty good condition. At the time of writing I have been sober for some months, but I don't think I will be sober indefinitely. Alcohol is now my drug of choice, to the extent it has taken the place of disordered eating.]

Yes, I think so. I don't drink every day, and I don't get withdrawal symptoms if I don't drink (I do experience more hangovers in proportion to when I was younger), but in the last couple of years I have become increasingly reliant on alcohol. I have had a problem with binge drinking most of my life, although the episodes were really very few and far between all told.

I think that the idea of turning 40 might have pushed me over into a new category of desperation in my life. I hadn't managed to either kill myself, have the kind of passionate love affair I felt I was capable of having, or finish up the last creative projects I had in mind, and I think I began to despair that I would never manage any of those things, and that I would continue to simply get older and become more and more paralyzed.

I now [2008] experience two binge drinking episodes (I only binge drink, I never drink moderately) per week on average. It could be I've always had the potential to become a more active alcoholic.

I don't think it's the alcohol in itself, though. I have the need of some kind of strong drug. If other drugs were available, I would use them. The effects of bulimia can be tweaked to create endorphin highs and body buzzes and whatnot, but consciousness can't be escaped. The younger and stronger I was, probably the more willing I was to try to cope with consciousness. The more hope I lost about having any dignity or feeling of self-fulfillment, in life or death, the more eroded the last barriers became, and I began to constantly wish for strong drugs. What I think it represents is a death wish. I think achieving a degree of oblivion is the next best thing to non-existence. However, the fallout, recovery period, and associated side effects or symptoms do contribute to the feeling of hopelessness and despair, the feeling that there is just no way to escape.

On occasions in recent years when I have given up all alcohol for a period of 10 weeks or more (2015: 21 weeks or more), it has not made a difference to my outlook.

21. Don't you find vomiting disgusting?

Well, I had an eating disorder that seriously disrupted my life from age 13 on, but didn't begin self-induced vomiting until age 21. Perhaps the disgusting factor played a psychological role. However, when a person is desperate, they can do things they never thought they could.

For elaboration, check out my mia page, in particular purgatory and rituals, and also eating disorders are silly from my Blue Tongue Blog.

22. Do you realize that eating disorders can kill?

I am not so concerned with dying. I mean, if I die, I would see that as a bonus. My fear is that eating disordered behaviour, especially combined with other addictions, will cause health issues that make my practical problems worse.

Anyway, in recent years I have not experienced as much bulimic behaviour as in the past. In fact, at the time of writing it is pretty rare. [2015: I think it might now have been almost 4 years since my last b/p session.]

23. What do you want out of life?

I want out of life.

Sometimes, I think that maybe whatever mental blocks I've got that prevent me from killing myself might be removed if I could 'finish up' a few projects: creating dance videos, travelling a bit more, creating the new website I had in mind years ago... but honestly, I feel that I want out of my life, and that any day is a good day to die.

I would not like my death plunge video to be a YouTube joke, but I realize that you can't control everything, and if I can finally die, once I'm gone I won't be around to endure further loss of dignity.

But if I could have what I want in death, I think that it would be some kind of trip, travel, and that I would be able to enjoy life finally, knowing that I would soon die.

Also, it is worth noting that when I feel my very happiest I think about death, and have hope that I will die in a way that feels fulfilling to me. I do not ever for a moment imagine that I could live a long life. It is not something I ever want.

24. What do you want out of a relationship?

I suppose I can't totally eradicate the wish for another relationship, a wish for passion, intimacy, connection, comfort, understanding. But I do not want a long-term relationship, and I also don't do well with casual relationships, or want them.

So what's left? Something intense and short-term that ends in death.


Many people have commented that GK and I seem to belong together. For my response, click here.

25. What is your psychosexual makeup?

I can imagine there is a lot of confusion about this. For a while, I guess I liked the idea of being considered deviant. I probably am deviant, but like everything else about me, it's in a way that most people would not find very exciting.

To simplify, what I seem to want most is a very deep and intimate connection with another person, and for the outcome of this relationship to be death within a relatively short period (eg, within a few weeks). This wish is probably related to a fear of abandonment, coupled with realistic assessment of my ability to sustain a relationship or live happily. I suppose there are others whose fears of abandonment and whose personal patterns would manifest in similar or compatible ways.

While seeking this, I have occasionally come across individuals with unusual psychosexual makeups, and have found it natural to want to explore new psychological territory. So, in a secondary sense, I have been open to learning more about the complexities of life through my relationships with unusual people. I don't respond to any particular fetish in itself - rather, it is the personal psychological connection, the mental interaction, the psychological and emotional details that are shared that inspire my interest and response. In writing, I can see fetish words as representing extreme emotion or passion, or psychological complexity, and I respond to what is underneath, rather than to any particular fetish in itself.

I know that many people believe that real love is about something that lasts a long time, and is about two people supporting each other through life, seeing all there is to see about each other and accepting each other. But if you have no real life, if your life is not in daily activities, but in your head, in your thoughts, and if you do not value long life for yourself, if you do not like the person you are in everyday reality and think that who you are is best expressed in a moment of trying to free yourself from your own prison, if you estimate yourself accurately, wouldn't it make sense that real love for you would not be based on the same things as it would for others?

And from what I've seen, a long relationship does not guarantee that people do not conceal their deepest selves from each other.

26. What does 'hope' entail for you?

When I feel happiest, or the most hope, what it means is that I am somehow able to daydream about romantic and sexual connection, and that I will be able to die in a way that feels creative and fulfilling to me. These ideas are tied together, not separate. But, as time goes on, I feel less interested in the first part. Or, more accurately, I don't really have hope that it is possible. I hope for the second.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress that when I speak of wanting a creative and fulfilling death, I do not in any way mean that I would ever wish to make the kind of political statement or whatever that would involve taking others with me. I have spoken of being an extreme person, and an obsessive person, but, boring as it may sound, I would never want to take others with me, even if I had no other chance for an interesting or sure death. In my mind, it would be better to continue to endure my unhappy existence.

Nor would I perform such an act of destruction for any person I happened to be in love with. My psychological makeup is such that I would turn things inward, and focus on killing myself only.

27. Do you see anything positive in life?

I still see what is good in life. I can't really feel it the same way. It's more like I appreciate intellectually all the good things. My mind actually does that on an ongoing basis. I remain observant.

28. Do you think you have a purpose in life?

I think it's possible that I am either a redundant paragraph, or that I am a kind of warning. I am an example of what no one wants to grow up to be. I am an example of imagination and creativity without purpose and direction. I am an example of the negative overshadowing what is good or interesting in a person. I represent an unappealing quality or principle in life. Or.. I think that might be how the majority of people see me. My purpose has become to try to trust my perception and accept that my experience might not be easily translatable to others, and to try to honestly assess what I can do to make things better for myself, and what I can genuinely contribute to the whole.

If I could have a good death, I feel that all of my negativity would be transcended, and I would feel differently about myself and all I express.

I experienced difficulty already with attending family gatherings and with going out into the world when I was a teenager. I think I was experiencing some kind of existential crisis, but had no frame of reference to identify it.

If my entire existence is about me refusing to face reality: The combination of environmental factors, preventable and unpreventable, that contributed to my development may never be repeated again in the family, and there may be no future mutants like me. Also, there may have been some kind of unconscious selection process that ensures the genetic combination that resulted in me would never occur again.

However, I don't know all that much about genetics, and it may be possible that at some point some member of the family will end up living out some similar pattern. If I could, I would like to help prevent that, or help others to recognize it early if it happens again.

I don't believe that even happy people are constantly happy or that they have no significant problems. However, when certain members of a family have a serious lack of ability to cope adequately on an ongoing basis, I am not so sure that the problems just die with the individuals in question and do not resurface in another form later on in new members. It may be a sign that there are dysfunctional behaviours and patterns that remain unresolved and that may resurface in a future generation when a certain combination of genetics and experiences brings them out. Increased awareness of dysfunctional behavioural or complicated thought patterns family members might be susceptible to might lead to better preventative strategies or solutions for future generations.

29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I really hope I am not still technically alive in 5 years, but I have been hoping that for much more than 5 years already. If somehow I am still around in 5 years, I would guess that I would probably have continued to make websites of various descriptions, tried out other online projects, and travelled at least a little. But, I could have a serious problem with alcohol, I could become ill as a result, or my personal patterns could lead me to becoming homeless. I might need to apply for government assistance, or I might be institutionalized. The longer things go on, the more likely the last three outcomes seem to me, but perhaps I will manage to kill myself, or come up with some other options.

30. Have you ever tried therapy or medication?

Yes, but this topic is complicated. I think the underlying problem is that I lacked enough of a foundation or support, enough of a base from which any of these sorts of things could work. One really big issue was always that I was so cut off from the world that I couldn't make these arrangements or go through with them on my own. My personal pattern was to hide inside every time I felt stressed. And if no one urged me to go outside or go to therapy, or even questioned me about it, I was stuck in a state of paralysis. This pattern took hold, and at the age of 41 it seems unlikely it can ever be broken.

To sum up: if I could cope with going to therapy on an ongoing basis, I probably could have coped with school or a job - the very focus of my problem was the 'disability' that made it impossible for me to attend therapy.

As for medication: When I was younger and read up on all the available medications, there were always side effects and risks that were not acceptable to me in proportion to the proposed benefit - because I had a serious issue with a feeling of lack of purpose in life, and knew that medication might help with some symptoms, but not motivation to try in life. When I was younger, I felt motivated to cope with problems in life because I wanted to live. It was like I couldn't move forward without that being addressed. It was like I needed to have my experience heard before I was willing to submit to medication, and I never felt that it got to that point. I felt always that I was seen only as a list of symptoms and not as an individual, and there was something in me that couldn't accept that.

I do not worry so much now about 'ruining' my body or brain with medication (yes, one way of putting it is that when I was younger I didn't want to take medication because I feared it would cause a kind of permanent damage - and I still had hope that I could do something with my life, I wanted my brain as intact as possible), but over the years I have found concrete ways of managing my symptoms of anxiety and my problems with bulimia at least. As for depression - while it is a chemical issue and I realize that, I think that it is also very seriously a spiritual issue or that it is related to the feeling that I have no place in life. It could be phrased that my 'spirit is terminally ill'.

31. Where have you travelled?

In spite of my issues with going outside, I have travelled from time to time. Some of what I list here occurred while I was still a child, before I developed problems.

In Canada, I have travelled through Northern Ontario, I lived for a while in Northern Ontario (near Manitoulin Island), I lived in Southern Ontario and Toronto, I travelled to Montreal when I was a child, and I travelled out west to Vancouver and saw all the provinces along the way. I also lived in the city of Winnipeg for a while.

I have been on road trips to Florida, New Orleans and Atlantic City in the United States.

In Australia, I have gone scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, I have seen Uluru and Kata Tjuta, I've been to Kangaroo Island, I've gone hiking in rainforest, I've visited Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Mackay, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs.

I have travelled to New Zealand twice.

I have travelled to Fiji once.

I spent a week in New York City.

In 2008, I travelled to Asia, Europe, and Africa. In Australia, I also travelled to Tasmania.

My favourite place to date is Melbourne, Australia.

32. Are possums rodents?

No. They are marsupials, which means females carry the young in a pouch. The young also spend some time clinging to their mother's backs after they come out of the pouch. Ringtail possums look a bit like reddish rats, but they are also marsupials. Possums (brushtails, ringtails, and many other varieties) are very cute. They found ways to get past my personal barriers, and they do make my life better.

33. How hard can it be to kill yourself if you really want to?

The issues that have prevented me from living my life also result in me being too dysfunctional to kill myself.

I am currently housebound* (at the time of writing 09/07). This state has recurred again and again in my life, and is probably the most normal state of affairs for me.

I have made a promise not to kill myself in this house. That means I have to find a way to leave. It still may seem relatively simple to most people, but what they might not understand is how much energy and concentration has been involved in my past attempts to go outside. And when I get out there, I am in a strange version of emergency mode. I know how I need to act so as not to call attention to myself if I am going to kill myself, and that is not an easy thing to pull off. It can takes months of both mental/psychological preparation, as well as physical preparation.

The only part of my appearance that is theoretically within my control is my weight and fitness, and some attempt at creativity. But no matter what, that will never be enough, and I have trouble facing the world. Losing weight and exercising help with self-esteem to some extent, but I think exercising also changes the chemical balance, reduces anxiety, and that it can also give me a sense of personal accomplishment. But the psychological preparation is also necessary. I have to put a lot of effort into maintaining mental focus. It's like I have to try to prepare myself beforehand for all possible scenarios, and it is like a kind of brainwashing.

When I am out there, I always have the sense that I need to get as much done as I can before I break down again. Unfortunately, I am derailed by some of the most simple details of daily life, for example, the fact that there are cameras everywhere. I don't have the necessary concentration and focus to get the deed done. At a certain point it becomes impossible to fight the urge to hide for a while to gain strength. And usually the whole time I am outside I am unable to stop thinking about how long I have to endure being outside - while on the outside I may very well be passing as a normally functioning individual. I don't know if I can explain better without specific questions.

If you look at my mia diary and see things I wrote on that page about trips to Sydney and Melbourne, it will look like I am a normal person chatting about travel. But that is me intellectually appreciating what is good. It doesn't mean that all of the stress I speak of isn't also present at the same time.

*Since February of 2007, I have not been anywhere public except to the vet when it was necessary to have a pet euthanized. This demonstrates that it is possible in certain circumstances for me to leave the house, but when such circumstances aren't present, I have to put a lot of effort into creating reasons or motivation to go out.

34. What would happen if you tried to stop thinking or reacting, if you tried to just be?

Believe it or not, I have approached things in this way a lot in the past (but there's no documentation of it :>), and still continue to do so at times now. There are a lot of hours in the day, and I am just not very often if ever (any more) able to clear my mind of the thoughts or feeling that I don't want to be in this body, this life.

Some of the things I read in the past about 'finding your own path' might have suggested trying to just be, trying to just listen to your inner voice and answers would come. My website is perhaps at least partly a result of that process.

35. If you wish you had never existed, why bother with a public website?

While I am here I seem to be compelled to seek understanding or connection. Can the duality be somewhat understandable or at least human? I don't like being me, but it is hard to control a wish that maybe somebody could understand, or help me to see things differently.

When I used to write and create, then destroy, it didn't feel like purging in the same way uploading stuff to the web does. Perhaps I don't like admitting this, but I think in uploading to the web I have more 'hope' that someone like me could find me, or something along those lines, than before. I used to have the idea that you didn't really need to broadcast anything, who you were was something that would draw others to you, but I spent so much time alone that I felt I needed a new system. Or, that's not really accurate, it's more like when I discovered the internet, I only very slowly started to come around to the idea that it was a step forward, in some way, to stop hiding.

But I think it is partly that I have lost control. It's like being bedridden, and having no control over your bowels. I still have a human wish for comfort and pain relief. I tried to warn people that I couldn't control this mess, and now it's out there.

In some bizarre way, I suppose it also feels a little like having a job. Non-paying, and my hours aren't 9 to 5, but I think that over time it has come to feel something like a job.

The biggest thing is that for me it is a support system, and a kind of 'home'.

36. Do you have any purging or weight loss tips?

No. I'm not in that headspace. I don't want to encourage anyone with this type of focus, however much I might sympathize with the pain or urgency behind it.

37. Other?

There are undoubtedly obvious things I'm leaving out. This FAQ is a work in progress. If you would like to submit a question or comment: