For those of you who have not met me, I am a former advocate for people with disabilities, and I came into this world with one, and then traded it for another. I know, you are thinking” what? no way!”…right? Most people who know me, know I was born with a brain tumor. I had epilepsy until one faithful day when a seizure sent me to the bottom of a swimming pool and I slipped into a coma…
After my brain surgery, I was given a decade of hurdles to start jumping, figuratively speaking….I started with getting out of the hospital alive. Check! Followed that up with recovering in a total 3 weeks , and making honor roll for the year. I also was thrown into a messy custody battle during my parents divorce…and then moved several times to find safety and stabiity. My life only became more temultious when my homelife was shook up, by a new last name, and new sibilings…
My step parent was not the bad guy, though… more like my unsung hero. We started taking latin in elementary school, we took vacations out of the country, and we became a little unified service oriented troop.
Every ambition was a toturous preperation for the day when reality would have me stuck in the role forever. I wanted to become a singer, I took voice lessons, an actress took acting classes, an artist took art classes…
As I grew into a teenager, my life became painfully awkkward…I became severely depressed, tired all the time, and very antisocial. I had a few allies, and 1 target…I was hell bent on making my mother’s behavior front page news, instead of applause for sacrficiing everything she had….everything we had, to make hersels a famous despot in, the peachtree dish that is southern culture.
At age 18, I was diagnosed with bipolar… and it knocked the win out of my sails completely…I was tied to a hospital bed in my sleep, spit at by my own mother, hit, and called every horrible word possible….she thought her violence would force my bipolar out of me…but all it did was make it worse….
I tried to tell people how violent my home life was , not anyone cared or believed, except the house keeper I call my second mama. I was held back a year in school, first grade, so I was 19 when I graduated…as a teenager though, I had the school secretary teach me to hide abuse that had happened to me in my youth. I had classmates give me diet pills, so I could lose weight, and I had the whole baseball team call me a “whore” as they sped off in the back of a truck, even though I was more aptly living like a prude. …I day dreamed about suicide for years, and truly believed I was a “retard(I AM ONLY USING THIS WORD,BECAUSE IT WAS MY NICKNAME)”
I spent two months on bed rest, because of the medicine the doctor put me on, and when I got back to school , I was a dishoveled wreck. I found out day of graduation, I would graduate with my class, and then struggled as a college student for ten years…People have called me every kind of horrible name you could imagine, but I didnt let it stop me, and I wont let it stop me. I am not saying my life is perfect, or I am perfect…because I am not…but I am perfectly me, disability and all, and I am ok with that…I am also a pageant winner, a grad student, and a wife, friend and family member. I would be lying to say I dont have days where I wish the world would stop spinning and let me off…I am scared everyday, about my responsibilities….but I am so grateful to have them….why because I want to be included in life. I am disabled, and good bad or ugly…I am still me.