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I was raised in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. We didn’t have a mansion, but we had a four bedroom house with two baths and two powder rooms. It was a two story colonial. We got new cars every year, went on vacations, went to the nicest restaurants. Until my dad got caught using the company tab to pay for his drug binges at work. He’s going to the Park Schenley in the afternoon to meet a client and never go bad to work. So that took us down a notch. It never bothered me my parents were dead against doing anything for me anyway so what did I have to lose? I was the youngest…the mistake…and I never heard the end of it. My mom wanted to abort me, but it was too dangerous to her health at the time because they were illegal.

I’m not sure if that’s partly where my insecurities stemmed from, but I was super worried about my looks. My weight had to be just right or I was freaking out and working out double time! I went to an outlet store to buy designer clothes cheap. So I would look and feel the best and people would admire me. The one thing I let go was my hair I’d wash it and put it up in a bun on top of my head. One Summer I remember I hadn’t brushed it once and no one could even tell!! It took a lot of conditioner to get those knots out!! I died it blond and my wild hairdo did seem to be a hit with people. Especially guys they loved it!

My real gift is that I put other’s at ease because of my nature. I don’t have the attitude that I’m better than you and I try to find something in common with everyone I meet. I like to point out the positive aspects of a new person I meet. Unless I’m in a mood or something. As a whole, I live(d) to make other people happy. I love(d) to laugh and so did Kim and Jenn so we had a lot of fun together. If I get manic everybody laughs!! Whether you want to or not!! It’s contagious and once I start I can’t stop!

I had two best friends. Jenn and Kim. Well, Jenn and I had a falling out then I got into a disagreement with Kim. Kim used abortion as a form of birth control!! I didn’t mind the space without them. Jenn is one of those people who like to monopolize my time. She took all her son’s Ritalin so bad all her hair was falling out in bloody chunks. Her skin was getting these gross boils all over it from the meds(gross). I suggested to her she may be allergic to them, but, of course, that was too absurd to even consider in her eyes. It’s sad because it’s her son that had to suffer. Although he was an insufferable brat he still deserved his medication. In those days though the only thing that could pull me away from Jenn and Kim was a call from the love of my life.

Yes, there was this guy I was completely in love with. Was this infatuation? I don’t know, but it went on for over 20 years. He could tell me to do anything and I would do it!! His name was Pat and he was all about what I looked like. He made negative comments about my physique. Meanwhile, I wore a size seven and worked out every other day. I lived on rabbit food and grains. I used to use fake tanning lotion to make sure my complexion was a light golden color. My makeup was always on. I didn’t wear a lot, but I used foundation, eyeliner, mascara and blush, oh and I can’t forget the red lipstick. That lipstick was red I mean REALLY RED!! I went to great lengths to make myself the best I thought I could be. (I did tone down the lipstick after Kim pointed out that it was a bit overwhelming).

One day out of the blue Jenn called Pat while Pat and I were on the phone. She always was a slut like that. She called on his other line and I kept trying to call him back (obsessively) and he wouldn’t answer. I was fuming!!! He hung up with me to talk to her!! Not long after that my car broke down so I couldn’t see him and he was too selfish to ever make an attempt to see me. He used to tell me how selfish he was (I was so blind). I think he was proud of this trait. I also lost the mailbox key and couldn’t get the phone bill to pay it so my phone got shut off. I had no contact with anyone but a couple neighbors and some fake friends.

It took a lot of crying. An hour didn’t go by that I wasn’t running into my room in tears, but I finally got over it. After the tears stopped and I could think better I realized some things. I didn’t need someone criticizing every area on my body that isn’t perfect. And his selfishness was unbearable. He only came to see me when he wanted to. He never took me out with him and his friends. He just used me to have someone when he was in the mood.

I also realized other things in life. I hated rabbit food and popcorn and pretzels and rice cakes and most of the other diet food I forced myself to eat! I felt like everything I was doing was so surface. I wanted to dig deeper to find the secrets and promises of joy, love, peace and all that I had heard come from God. He seemed so out of reach. I thought only certain people could actually know God. He gives like joy, peace, contentment, perseverance, steadfast, patience. I wanted to find out what the secret was to being totally fulfilled. I mean I had heard this could happen and I wanted it to happen to me!

On one of my trips to my counselor I was in the waiting room and I found a pamphlet about psychosis. I read the symptoms and I had every one. I went into shock. It was the last straw. I couldn’t take anymore. I put that pamphlet in my pocket and never said a word to her. I got home and sat on my bed and said, Lord, you’ve taken everything from me, you’ve even taken my mind. He’d taken everything I lived in a small two-bedroom trailer with five kids. I have nothing.

I put my nightgown on and got in bed and I told God I was going to die and HE was going to kill me. Before I had made a pact with God to never try to kill myself again so that was out.

I got out my guitar and started writing and praying and crying for months (it seemed like years!). I also read the bible, in fact, I slept with it. I hardly left my bed. Didn’t worry about what I looked like or what I was wearing.

I wanted to die and a big part of me did die. I let go of a lot of hate, anger, resentment and fear. Different kinds of fears like what people thought of me. Underneath all that negative there was a newness. I realized how superficial I was. How screwed up my priorities were.

Now I’m not so worried about my looks. I’m fat and I’m OK with it. I’ve accepted that I have a mental Illness and will for the rest of my life. I’m dealing with it every day. I see my Dr. regularly.

I’ve learned about my disorder and the common traits that go with it. I’ve taken each one and worked on it till it became a strength.

I’ve come to an acceptance in my life. I’ve accepted all my good and bad points and no longer fight with myself to “appear” so perfect. I have character traits that are rare. I am a person of integrity. I have a good heart. I don’t judge others. I have a lot of qualities that really put me in a whole other category than most. These qualities make me more beautiful than any outward appearance could ever be.

I have complete contentment. I have a profound peace about me that I have never had before. I have patience. I’m excited to wake up and see what I will accomplish today.

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