Mark Grealish

the life and code of a crazy cat man

Holy shit, two thousand posts!

in me

This post will be the two thousandth on my blog, give or take. I want it to serve as a bridge between the eleven years of ups and downs in my life behind me, and the bright and unknown future ahead.

Eadaoin pointed out to me that, yes, I threw up other retrospectives in the past, but they were all negative. I dug up my crap past, mixed it up with my crap present and then proceeded to shit on myself until my future looked just as bad. There are many things in my past to make me unhappy, but it’s as Eadaoin repeats over and over: I cannot continue to hold onto my past if I want a different future. I need to let the past go.

Alright then-positive present. I have Asperger Syndrome. This diagnosis came about by way of my doctor and my therapist, and although it’s tentative, Asperger’s makes too much sense as an explanation for me for it to be false. Everything makes sense now: how I think, how I interact and socialize.

Eadaoin in Brussels

For years, I’ve struggled to balance my perception of myself against everyone else’s. They call me smart, I call me stupid. They heap praise on me while I dump shit on me.

It’s hard to get around the conviction that I’m stupid after most of my childhood authority figures told me the same. I carried every bit of certainty of my own stupidity and wierdness. One teacher’s go-to description of me was as “a mine of useless information.” I’m all the bad words: Queer, weirdo, spaceman, loner, geek, nerd, outcast, loner.


Eh, that’s behind me now. I’m comfortable with the way I think and how I interact with the wider world. I can say “I’m smart!” without cringing inside.

Me in Brussels

I’m fortunate, in brief. “Happy” is weird and wrong, an emotion that sits at right angles to my expectations and experience. Yes, there remains a huge amount of Unhappy Crap, but I’ve carved out a small happy place for myself and Eadaoin. I don’t feel the need to be defensive around other people, or beat myself up inside just because I think about stuff in a different way.

I know who I am! I know what I am!

That’s the good of my life. The bad is the mess I made of it over the summer. Eadaoin and I had a thing which I damn near ruined by my own words and deeds. I don’t want to say more about it, but a good allegory would be the bloody great scythe in The Pit and the Pendulum. I still feel the aftereffects: I cut down on the gym, I eat a lot of crap, and most days I just want to get to the next.

I can’t complain though, because my problems led to so much self-discovery. Asperger Syndrome! That shit’s heavy, the discovery that I am different, and that it’s okay. It led to a change of thoughts which lead of a change of thoughts which… Repeat forever. The diagnosis sparked off a manic transformative runaway process that left nothing untouched or unchanged.

Discovering Asperger’s shook up our relationship too. It gave Eadaoin the tools to deal with my quirky crap, and clear the way for us to move forward as a couple.

Whatever happened before, happened before. Whatever comes next, comes next. Right now, Eadaoin rocks the shit out of my world. I love her to death. I don’t care where I go in life so long as we do it together.

Eadaoin and I balance one another. I logic, she feels. I work out big complex crap in my head, and she reminds me to say hello when her parents come to visit. She brings human warmth and empathy into a life that’s often nothing but rules and problems to solve. Eadaoin makes me want to try harder to be a better person for its own sake. She gives me both a place to call home and someone to come home to after work.

Eadaoin, above all, showed me how to forgive, forget and appreciate what the friendships I enjoy, instead of fixating on the parenthood I don’t.

Beyond me, and beyond us, not much has changed. I love and miss Caira and Garrett with all my heart every moment of every day. My coffee snobbery continues to grow. I types the codes that makes the websites run good. Cookie adorably cuddles us sometimes.

All glory to the vim master race.

Eadaoin in a Christmas Cave

in belgium

Taken at De Witte Pelikaan in Brugge, Flanders.

Eadain died and went to heaven

Brugge, Flanders

in belgium

Brugge is one of the top tourist spots in Belgium, and indeed, most of Western Europe. A PDF I pulled up asserts “…29 million overnight stays and 11 million tourist arrivals” to Flanders.

Tens of millions of people visited to Brugge over the last half century. Those visitors took somewhere between hundreds and thousands of millions of photographs. Set against this tide of photography, there isn’t anything I could add to the photographic record that would be unique or special. Given that, I was happy to wander around the town and take snapshots of pretty rooftops or colour combinations.

It’s a weird relief when that pressure to perform with the camera goes away: I could relax, spot the pretty and snap the pretty.

Brugge was an incredible experience, gorgeous and weighted with history. It was also a crappy tourist trap. There were a thousand tat shops and tourist restaurants who served Generic Western European Bar Food. Eadaoin and I wandered the city, enjoyed a boat tour, had waffles, had coffee, had frites, then went home.

The biggest problem I have with the town were us: tourists. Big complains, small problem, because tourists are part the entire point of a tourist attraction. It was great to get away from the noise and clutter of Brussels, but at the end of the day I wanted more. Give me a bleak, empty beach with the wind in my hair.


Eadaoin and I both loved Brugge. We have tentative plans to go back for an overnight winter stay, because whatever about the crowds, the city radiated the quiet serenity I crave. There are few cars, but many narrow roads and silent corners by a canal.

Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium
Brugge, Belgium

Brugge from the Dijver

in belgium

The Dijver is a traditional canal, street and marketplace in the heart of Brugge, although today’s markets sell tourist tat. :) I took this panorama while on a boat trip with Eadaoin.

Brugge from the Dijver

Platform #12, Brussel-Zuid Train Station

in belgium

Foggy and dark and cold-the perfect platform for a trip to sunny Brugge!

Panorama of Platform #12

Eadaoin at Maria and Adrian’s wedding

in family

Taken at Spanish Point Co. Clare on September 1 2016.

Eadaoin at Spanish Point