Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Marcia Carmen
Burlington, Vermont USA



I was meant to be born in January 1983, but there were complications and my mom had to get a C-section in October 1982. Because I was taken out so soon, I was very small and the doctors were afraid I might die. My mom says I was like a tiger, I fought for survival and I made it out ok.
When I was seven, I got hit by a bus and broke both arms and legs. For months I was in a body cast, and then I had to learn how to walk again. I don't remember much because of all the medication. I healed well and I can walk fine now. I only have a few scars.
After my accident, I switched from Catholic to public school. I had trouble paying attention. My teacher wrote on my report card: "Marcia is still often in her own world and does not always hear oral directions." I was a happy child, but very shy and dreamy.
I didn't like middle school. I aged awkwardly and no one wanted to be my friend. I wore thick glasses and, later, braces on my teeth and a big plastic brace on my back. I spent a lot of time alone in my room, reading. I also started eating a lot. I liked to climb onto the roof in the summertime with a box of Fruit Roll-Ups and just lie in the sun, eating and listening to cassette tapes. When a neighbor squealed on me, my parents nailed the window shut.
In an effort to get me more socially involved and physically active, my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I was the oldest and chubbiest kid in the class and I couldn't swim. It was humiliating. All the other students would have to wait while I tried to catch up. I begged my dad to let me quit, but he wouldn't allow it. Eventually I hid in the locker room during class and wet my hair before my mom came to pick me up. It was weeks before they found out.
In high school, I met my first girlfriend. It was rough, being queer on top of everything else. It did not help my reputation at school, but I didn't care. I loved her. We dated for two months before she broke up with me. It was an intense two months.
When I turned eighteen, I got a huge settlement from the bus accident. I had never worked a day in my life, never really took the time to understand money, and suddenly I had $180,000. I went to college after graduation, and that's when I started getting depressed. I felt really out of place, unwanted. I shaved my head and wore only boys' clothes for several years. I started doing drugs and dropped out of school, spent hundreds of dollars a day on things I didn't need. In a few years, the money was gone and I was feeling awful. I had to move in with my mom, who had divorced my dad, remarried, and was living in a little apartment in my hometown.
Since I hadn't made many friends growing up, there weren't any waiting for me when I got home. I hung around my mom's apartment, listless, bored. Every day I would walk to the park and smoke a bowl in the woods. I didn't know what to do with myself. One day, while looking for a pot connection, I met this super brilliant girl who understood everything. We hung out every day, got high, listened to music. We were "Siamese twins of the soul."
With the last bit of money I had, I put a down payment on a duplex. My mom took one side and I took the other, and I asked this girl to move in with me. The first night in our new home, we did lots of coke and wrote poetry all over the walls in black marker. The next few years are hazy from a lot, a lot, a lot of drugs. We bought them in slums or from guys in shacks in the middle of nowhere.
Somehow I went a little crazy, I think. When we fought, I would cry so hard I couldn't breathe. I broke things, threw tantrums. I cut my arms with razors and knives. My girl's mom suggested I see a psychologist, so one day she drove me to the emergency room and I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Cycolthymia, all sorts of things. I was given prescriptions for Seroquel, Effexor, Geodon, Trazodone. I was in an out of hospitals and outpatient programs for the next few years.
My girl was going to college at one point, and sometimes she'd talk about her psychology professor. We'll call him Doctor X. She said that he had psychic powers, could heal people with his hands, turn lights on and off with his mind. I knew they were romantically involved and I was doubly jealous -- because I wanted her and because I wanted a guy with psychic powers.
One night, when we were out of our minds on pills, Doctor X called the house and I picked up. I don't remember the conversation, but afterwards he showed up at my door and took me away in his car, took me to his apartment. At first I was happy, but living with Doctor X was strange. He was paranoid and wouldn't let me leave the apartment. I wasn't allowed to have visitors or order pizza or tell anyone our phone number. We had no computer and hardly any good junk food. I was bored all day. I watched children's programming on TV. When Doctor X came home, he would fall asleep because he was old and tired. Sometimes he would tell creepy stories about the people he'd killed when he was a secret agent. It became clear to me that he was insane, but I didn't know how to handle it.
Doctor X handled it for me, thankfully. He just plain got sick of taking care of me, buying my food, listening to me talk. He packed up all my stuff and dropped me off at my old house, which was empty and dirty, full of flies, dried blood in the tub. I cried for days because now I was alone, my girl was gone, Doctor X was gone. I half-heartedly tried to kill myself, ended up in the emergency room, drinking charcoal. Went back to the psych ward for a week or so.
Then, oh, I don't know... more of the same. New room mates, new boyfriends. My girl came back and left again several times. Eventually I just couldn't take it anymore. I could see where I was heading and it wasn't pretty. I met someone online, a boy from Vermont. He asked me to visit him and I fell in love with him and the entire state, decided to move in with him a month later. My girl broke out of rehab on the night of my going-away party. It was hard letting her go. I had always felt that if she went down, I went down with her -- but I needed to get out.
When I got to Vermont, the first hassle was coming off the heroin I'd been using for a couple of months. After that, I had to find work. I got a stupid retail job at the mall. Earning a living was especially difficult, since I'd never really held down a job before. I did all right, though. I rented out my place in Jersey and used that money to pay my share of rent and bills. I got clean. I apologized to my mom for all the trouble I'd put her through.
Now, here I am, two years later. I've completely changed my life. I have a slightly better job for slightly better pay. I'm in my first year of college. I keep a nice apartment, I make art. I plan to marry my boyfriend and start a family soon. Amazing!