‘Once you get to a certain age, you’re not so consumed about looking around for how people perceive you. You start perceiving yourself in a different kind of way and start trying to expand who you are.
‘Sometimes I feel like I’m behind. I have friends who are in corporate jobs. Fluorescent lights are nice but I’d much rather have my hands in the dirt. I’ve embrace an artistic lifestyle and I have no fear that money will come. It doesn’t really matter.
‘It feels liberating in a way. You’re more in tune with things. You see things and you draw creativity from it and that fulfils you – it’s the best. It’s frightening too. You have to make something from it because you have no other choice. You have to go forward.’
‘Originally I couldn’t stand up without support. I used to come up here to King Street with my walker and sell my pictures. I progressed from a walker to a cane and now I can stand up without the cane.
‘I had two strokes in 2002. My physio at the time said I should do something with my hands because my balance was completely shot. Her theory was if your hand-eye coordination improves, so does your balance. So I started to do picture framing as a way of recuperation and my balance has improved no end.
‘Everything on my right side – my leg, my foot, my arms – I had no control over them whatsoever and that’s why at times I had to strap my arm to my body to control it. I used to come up here to King Street and sell my stuff one-handed.
‘My left hand has become my right hand. I’ve learned to write left-handed, shave left-handed; I’ve learned to do everything left-handed. Every now and then I forget my circumstances and I pick up a pen and go to sign my name right-handed like I used to and it doesn’t quite work.’
‘I felt totally useless because what could I do? I couldn’t do a thing. All I could do was hold my wife’s hand. It was the first in my life that I felt completely useless. One minute it’s just the two of you and the next minute there is another being with a personality and character just out there. That’s the most amazing thing about it. The miracle of the whole thing is just amazing. When he was born, it was like looking at a picture of myself as a child.
‘Before you just lived life for yourself and your partner and all of a sudden you stop and live life for someone else and try to make a future for them.’
‘We were together for five years. We moved here from New Zealand and then he left me. I’m very family orientated so for me just to not pack it all up and go back home for a boy, that was really challenging.
‘I had to look within myself and think was it worth giving it all up for a guy because he leaves you or do you want to further yourself? When I looked deeper within myself, I found somebody who’s very outgoing and spontaneous. I learnt that I shouldn’t be defined by what somebody else makes me. I saw myself as a bigger entity than in a relationship.’