Alan Rickman

These last few months I got a lot better with many things that for a long time were simply impossible for me. For the first time in my life I had a healthy BMI, meaning I had to buy new clothing because you know the old jeans didn’t fit anymore also for the first time in my life. Spooky. Even spookier I developed a sleep pattern that was a lot more normal.


Yesterday it all came crashing down again. I had forgotten the sensations like crying until one was nauseous, being so sleep deprived and disoriented you feel like you have a herd of chloride molecules lodged in you nose. I had forgotten how it feels when emotional tolls can cause you to be physically off balance. Some things were new since I now fel more of my emotions than I ever did. This is the first time in my life I did the stereotypical rocking back and forth to soothe me and the first time I cried myself to sleep. (The latter is an achievement in more ways than one I could have never fallen asleep that upset as close to a year in the past.)

Some things I remembered tho. How you should make sure to use soft tissue when blowing your nose to delay the inevitable soreness. The late night cravings to write for my life and sanity. The need to keep your plushies close because they will never desert you on their own free will. They will not be sick or preoccupied with their own issues and most importantly they will not die on you.


This time around tho I do not mind so much. I feel the pain in all its expressions can not be strong enough. Just yesterday morning I thought how I wasn’t connected closely enough to anyone to mourn their death badly. Depression warps your thinking in unreasonable ways sometimes. It’s not true and sadly in the afternoon my Depression got a firm and well earned talking down to.


You see sometimes life writes strange stories. The person who donated a sperm to my existence simply was never interested in the act of parenting anyone. I grew up an orphan and later I made the discovery that even if like any well trained neglect survivor  I could not accept kindness I can use my imaginary world to somehow make it work a bit in a weird way. Accept a shadow of the things normal people seem to need to get from day to day.

I stumbled across “Snow¬† Cake” in those days. A delightful movie about a foreigner stumbling about the canadian landscape and an autistic mother grieving her child. Lina Freeman, said adult autistic character made sense to me in a way no one ever made sense to me before. I got her, they way you get people of you own culture or gender.

But more important for me even was the way the lead treated all of Lindas little and not so little differences. Alex Hughes was incredibly accepting and rather supportive of even the weirdest of Lindas boundaries. He never asked her to justify the way she is until late in the movie. When he already had a designated and very small area in the kitchen, questionable sleeping arrangements, a dog and a curious diet (for both him and the dog) to deal with.


It took some years to sink in but that movie made me realise I was autistic and that was ok. It would have never been on my radar if it hadn’t been for Alan Rickman. That same time I also started noticing him. Growing up in such a hostile environment it was weirdly reassuring to notice Alex Hughes’ other incarnations had been flimmering across the screen all this time. My exmother even had a Mike Oldfield CD. I felt someone had been there in a way. I felt seen just a little bit. I couldn’t have dealt with more and less wouldn’t have helped me heal.


Over the years I watched and listened to everything Rickman I could get my hands on, somehow he had cast a powerful spell on me (the muggle variant) and the famed Aspie obsession kicked in. It has changed my life a great deal. Even before the Autism thing really came to fruition my obsession with him and his nice slow way of speaking meant I could hear the gaps between the words in this English language that isn’t my native. It gave me time to process and learn the prosody. Even when I didn’t understand much of the language (cough close my eyes cough) I could still enjoy his voice and his acting. I achieved fluency in English because of him.

Also coming from someone who is face blind it is akin to impossible a compliment to achieve to enjoy someones acting. To have some resemblance of information from facial expressions. He still managed. Just like he managed to enter into this fort I had built around my true self. The self I almost forgot existed. He made me take up acting. I couldn’t do it as a full time job but it was as serious as getting cast as an extra in an oscar nominated movie and doing a few stage plays.


But over the years his impact became much greater even than enabling me to learn a language proper or branch off into a new side career. His most important legacy in my life is how through little bits and glimpses I got to know a kind, warm hearted and generous person from afar. I slowly, painfully learnt how the place I came from was anything but and begun the grueling journey of learning to accept good things in my life while letting go of the bad. (Very much a work in progress still.) He gave me the strength and he was the guiding light I used to orient myself in this strange world I previously only had intentionally misleading guides to. Or to borrow the words from Alex Hughes and twist them to suit my situation: I didn’t loose just any favourite actor. He was the one who helped me make sense of all this shit.


I could never thank him enough for all the good he has brought into my life, all the strength I direly needed and all the wisdom and wit that kept me sane enough to last another day when I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I meant to write him a letter after my life settles down a little more again next month attempting the impossible of framing my thanks for his generosity and sort of mentorship in words that would no doubt have been only a hollow echo of the things that truly went on. I did and do consider him the closest thing I ever had to a father figure and I meant to ask his permission to legally change my surname, hypenate his to mine in honour of the massive healing, saving, supporting influence he was in my life.

The world is a colder place now and I don’t quite know how to go on from here. I relied so much on a man who never knew me, who now will never know what he has done for me. He wasn’t just an artist to me, it was more than that. A part of me always felt creepy for elevating him so much, projecting so much onto him, objectising him that way and rob him of the say a person usually has in an important relationship with someone. I wanted to give him this power back. I will forever regret I didn’t.