I was born on January 9th, 1993. I was a happy little pistol. My sister Emily who is my half sister (same mother) is five years older than me. In 1995, my chunk of a brother Ricky was born with a full head of hair. He and I would be the best of friends growing up.We were a happy family. But like all families we had our fair share of baggage. We practically defined the word miscommunication. My dad and I love differently than my mom and my siblings. Were open and like talking to the ones we love about things. They tend to not like to bring up painful subjects just because they don’t want to burden anyone with their problems. It’s not wrong, it’s just a different kind of love. People may learn differently or open themselves up to a new person at different times from others. Just like people love differently. It doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them individuals. Unfortunately, the way we handled things is where the problems would start, and where miscommunication would happen. And when it’d be too hard, there would be no communication. My word of advice to aspiring parents/families; always make your kids and family comfortable to talk about whatever the hell they want to talk about. Obviously there are times when a topic isn’t appropriate but when it is, never show disinterest. It shapes a child’s communication skills and overall confidence in their opinions. It’s what helps them find their voice! I know this.
My mother and I at the Dallas Symphony Orcastra.
Since I was a baby I was attached to my mother. She was my everything. She was there to nurture me and listen to me. She encouraged me and inspired me. To this day she does. But she protected me too much at a young age. Even when there was nothing she needed to protect me from. I became scared, all the time. I was anxious, timid, and shy. I was confused of the world and people around me. The only thing that told me what the world was, was movies. Film shaped my understanding of the world. I marveled at characters strengths and especially the embrace of their weaknesses. It was a reminder that I wasn’t alone. Oh how I wished I could leave my life and enter these characters worlds. The laughs I’d share with Charlie Chaplin, the amazing advice I’d receive from Spencer Tracey, the songs I’d sing with Julie Andrews, the courage I’d learn from Andy Dufresne, and the adventures I’d experience with Frodo. All these worlds filled my heart and subconscious.Through elementary I would think of these worlds and these characters and even talk to them. Needless to say it concerned my teachers, peers, and family. I was in special ed till third grade. That was when I joined choir and cheer leading. I was able to apply myself and discover talents I didn’t know I had. I was able to socialize, and the voices got softer than they ever had. It was like a weight was being lifted from me. It was horrifying letting go of my mother, but slowly but surely I did. But where one strength is found, a weakness gets in your way. This is the way of life I’m sad to say. I was thin and active as a child, that is until I turned nine. My weight gain was beyond my control. Before I knew it, I was the only fourth grader already wearing a training bra. Words hurt. I don’t know how to make that anymore serious for a person to understand. I carry a lot of those words with me today. Sitting here as I type this it’s hard for me to hold back the tears from words that hurt me when I was nine, and I’m twenty-three. My weight was such a burden. I felt like it buried me alive and hid from people my talents and inner beauty that I knew to be true to my heart. It was so painful. Especially when you would see how people treated you differently. Yes I was shy and insecure but I could hear and make my own judgments and opinions and kids were just relentless with the way they would talk about me inches away. Only today do I understand that it wasn’t that they thought I was stupid, but that they knew they could say those things, and I wouldn’t do anything about it. I felt weak and alone. But who else could I go to but my mother. The person who was always there and encouraging me. The person who always listened and wanted to hear my thoughts. She reminded me that I did have a voice. Little did I know, my mother was fighting her own battles during my time of need. I remember as clear as day pulling at her arm as she lay in her bed. I pleaded with her to get up and play with me or even go to the store together. Anything! The sun was out but her room was dark. It was like that a lot. She just looked up at me, an expression on her face that I didn’t realize would not only impact me greatly but that I can relate to today; an expression of defeat. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t even question it. How does a child comprehend depression? The only thing that I got out of it was that I was losing her. And I needed to try harder. I needed to protect her and take care of her like she did for me. I suddenly took on the mother role. My anxiety and worries were at an all time high. I would have panic attacks if my siblings or my mother didn’t get home on time from school or work. It was miserable. I would call my mother frantically in tears and looking out the window. When she would arrive I would embrace her tightly and tremble. My family decided it was time for a therapist. Our family therapist Chris has been the ears and wisdom for my family since before I was born. I was just nine when I had my first session with her. My mother had taken my brother and I with her to her sessions when he was still in diapers and I was still sucking my thumb. It was my turn now and it scared me. But it intrigued me when this grown women wanted to hear what I had to say. I thought I would be lectured and/or judged. But she listened to me and helped me see things I didn’t see before. Now I am here to say that therapy isn’t for everyone, and I am very blessed to have an amazing therapist who I wish anyone needing therapy could have. After many sessions, the worries got softer until they weren’t there anymore. Chris told me that if I ever worried about something, I should write it down. I began writing a lot. In fourth grade it was brought to my attention by my peers, teacher, and even principle that I may have a huge talent in writing. This new found talent couldn’t have come at a better time. Imagination always came easy for me. It was such a natural thing that I didn’t realize just how great it was.That same year I decided to play basketball. It’s the tallest I would ever be in my life. My coach whom I had a huge crush on helped me come out of my shell. He taught me to be “aggressive” and to yank the ball out of players arms. So the day I did assert myself was the day I remember my coaches cheering and my team mates embracing me and me feeling like the strongest kid on that court.
My siblings, Emily and Ricky.
In intermediate school I declared I would become a writer when I grew up. Oh my, how exciting it was to announce something like that. I felt I really knew who I was for the first time. It gave me purpose. The friendships I created in the sixth grade with peers and teachers alike gave me the ultimate confidence. It was truly the greatest year of my life. For once I felt accepted and didn’t get truancy. Even though I was now at my heaviest, it wasn’t a focus because it was the year everyone acknowledged my strengths and not my weaknesses. And so I focused on them less. I remember being asked by my friends and teacher Ms. Pease (whom I will thank when I receive my Oscar) to share my stories. And the greatest part was that I didn’t just accept their requests but found myself raising my hand and asking to read on my own. It was the encouragement I had always needed. I didn’t want to leave that year. How could it get better than that? One of my closest friends would be moving away. We would all be apart.
Junior High was hell. In eighth grade, two of my closest and only friends decided they didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore. I know it was only because I had decided I didn’t want to be a part of theirs much earlier. When I got into Junior High all my friends had moved away and I lost a huge part of myself. I forgot who I was when I saw how guys looked at me and other girls. What happened to being loved and encouraged and practically being a celebrity among your peers to being laughed at by a bunch of basketball players as you walk by? The jokes and harassment was beyond repair. I found myself slowly succumbing. I pushed my closest friend away every time she wanted to be with me. I’d yell at my brother who would ask me to play. I was numb, almost drugged. I stayed on my computer all the time. And I missed school a lot. I was screaming in my head for someone to help. I remember thinking than and now that I never wanted to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to hurt. But people got angry when I tried to explain. My friends “invited” me over. They sat me down and had been whispering the whole time. They were incredibly hostile; barely looking at me. I felt the hot poison course through me. I wouldn’t wish a more debilitating feeling on my worst enemy than seeing your two greatest childhood friends look at you like a stranger. I wanted to leave. They said they had marked this day as my “intervention” because they thought I had depression. I was in utter disbelief. It was hurt that ran deep. Even today I feel how I haven’t fully accepted that it happened. They had nothing else to say to me so I asked for my dad to get me. My panic attacks were so bad that I was put on two inhalers. Why would no one help me? I felt so lost and betrayed. That’s when the irrational thinking started. I began obsessing. I wouldn’t be able to go a day without thinking how I would die. I realized that I wanted to die. Later that year I would audition for High school band. When I was in sixth grade, I picked up a clarinet for the first time. I wasn’t the best at first, but overtime I excelled. It was more than a hobby but something I could always rely on over the next six years. I could write a whole other blog over High school band. It was the most intimidating and difficult thing I’ve ever done. Making the marching band my Freshman year made me feel found again. I was a part of something bigger than myself. It would take me all through High school just to understand how positively the program would impact. It disciplined me mentally. It gave me responsibilities. It forced me to work among my peers. It inspired trust and created the most powerful friendships I have ever had.
My band director Mr. Lambert embracing the 2013 Seniors (My brothers Senior year).
On the bus after going to Cici’s for lunch after a performance. We saw a vending machine of mustaches and couldn’t pass it up.
Yes, I was a band nerd. I thank band, and my band director Mr. Lambert (who was so hard on me, and pushed me every day, because he knew my worth) for getting me through those High school days. They were not easy. I got truancy and had to go to court. I was having stomach pains and my body ached all the time. I never thought we would find out what it was. Little did I know that this illness had a name. It was depression. My Junior year I was horribly, verbally bullied by students in my science class. They would joke that I never spoke and said I was probably a psycho or sex fiend outside of class. When I missed a bunch of school I would be harassed as to why I had been gone for so long. Students spread a rumor that when I was out for month, I had really been in jail for selling drugs. People are so cruel. I found myself in a hole again. I felt like I was just constantly letting people down. I would leave school early in tears after the abuse from that class. One day, I couldn’t take anymore. I got on the road and stopped at a red light. I put one foot on my break, and one on the gas. I closed my eyes and counted to three. On three I would press the gas and zoom into on coming traffic to kill myself. I felt something take hold of me suddenly. It was the strangest sense of calm. I felt the most aware of my surroundings than ever before. I shook my head and sobbed the rest of the way home. I called Chris and told her what had happened and that’s when Prozac entered my life. I have since been on several other medications. They have helped me immensely, but they aren’t for everyone. After joining choir my Junior year I had more to focus on and look forward to. Before I knew it graduation was in view. My dad has admitted that for a while he thought I wouldn’t get there. I don’t blame him, I felt the same way. But I did graduate. I had also lost an incredible amount of weight by joining Weight Watchers. My confidence was at an all time high. That is until, I stepped into the real world.
My relationship with my father crumbled. I was scared and terrified of the world. Here I was, beautiful and so much going for me but, did I want people to notice me? Maybe that just sounded nice when I felt bad about my body, but now I was thin and dreading walking the street and people looking at me or worse, try to talk to me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I would lay in bed and only leave my room for food or to use the bathroom. My dad would come and try to talk to me. He would get angry even. In the moment it hurt, I know now that he was helpless and angry that he couldn’t help me. I didn’t know what could save me or if I could be saved. My suicidal thoughts came back. That was until my 2oth Birthday when my father surprised me with Hope. All I had to do was look down into those eyes and stare at that precious face to feel life again. She saved my life. And that’s why her name is so appropriate.
The night I got my dog Hope. Holding her on the couch for the first time.
I enrolled at Collin Community College. It was the best decision I could have made for myself. While I went I babysat for a little. I worked very hard. I had my moments where it was just too hard to make decisions. I was put on a second medication and I saw an instant change in myself. There was a time when I avoided my father altogether because he had always been the enforcer and I felt my worth was constantly reflected through his eyes. But our relationship is healthy now as is with my mother. I went to Quad C for three years and received my Associate of Arts. Soon after I was accepted into the University of Texas at Dallas. I never realized just how many ups and downs there are in life until I wrote this. I thought that was just some cheesy saying. But it is true. It has been a rocky road for me. It continues to be one, but somehow I’m finding my way through it. Today I’m pushing forward with my Major and working at Jimmy Johns in my home town of Wylie Texas (where nothing happens). I hope to be in California in the future and pursue my dream of writing and casting for film. If I’ve gotten anything out of this journey so far, it’s that one shouldn’t be afraid to be who they are. They shouldn’t be afraid to push themselves. Yes I have been hurt many times, by many people, most whom I love the most. But I wouldn’t change what happened to me, because it has given me an inner strength that I’m sure not many have. Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t be who you are. Because whether others like it or not, we are individuals, and no one has the right to tell us how to feel or who to be. That belongs to us. No one else.
Me receiving my Associate of Arts.
My father and I after an elementary play. I had a solo.
My mother (my best friend) and I at orientation for UTD.