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Fall and Rise by Maria G

Photo Cred: Belinda Mim

By the age of 6, I had been to see more psychiatrists than I ever wanted to – 6,10,15 – I’ve lost count. So many faces they just disappear. My parents searched far and near for help but all they got was sorry there is nothing for her here. Unnecessary pain and suffering dominated my life for years because the world’s resources are not geared towards those they despise. Nothing could erase the pain I felt as kids and teachers called me a freak even though they couldn’t see what was underneath. When I would arrive home my mom would ask me, “Are you okay?” I would yell and scream, “Not a chance.” I would take my pain out on those closest to me. No words could repair the tears my mom shed or my sisters shivering with dread.

Finally, an answer arose. I was given the words Borderline Personality Disorder at the age of 18. My family’s faces, as we left the room, were full of despair as they learned the hard truth about their oldest daughter. Bullied and shoved away by society, misunderstood by my family. Because of my pain, I held my family emotionally captive with one crisis after the next. Finally, they said enough it is time for you to leave our home. My world came crashing down as it was the only home I had ever known.

No one could understand how I felt inside if I told you- wouldn’t believe me anyway. Closed and hurt while fenced in by emotions and sadness I can’t control. Wait. I’m angry. No, I’m afraid. So many emotions I can’t separate one from another. Flooded with emotions, my body feels like it’s on fire. A look, a stare, a touch can cause the speed of emotion to hit me like 60 tons of sand. I can’t think straight or breathe.

A flood overcomes me. I grab the floor.  Jump into a cold bath full of ice to clear my head. Tissues and tears are my closest friends providing comfort after my emotional turmoil ends.

You wouldn’t know by looking at me that I’m screaming and crying at the top of my lungs. Left unraveling. Feeling undone. I hate that one look from you can cause my brain to become undone. I feel powerless like I am in a straightjacket. I can’t move because my brain is like a Chevy with crisscross electrical wires that look different than yours. When I am in pain my engine explodes, yours just gets a flat tire. 

How do I explain what I don’t understand? Trapped in a jail cell every day in my own head, it is heavy and painful like lead. I can’t hear what you say because my head has a million thoughts scrambled inside. Do you like me? Do I want to live today? Can I do this anymore? Everyone thinks it’s all about me. Really I don’t even know myself.

Why can one text determine how I feel all day? How I feel is so dictated by how others act towards me. If you smile, I smile. You move, I groove, and mimic whomever you think I should be. Shoved aside like leftovers, I’m a chameleon blending into the crowd. Twisting and turning, wrapping around like I’m drowning and being buried underground.

I long for a smile from my mom rather than a look of fright because she is so worried whether I’m going to be all right. I long to remember a fun night with friends rather than crying the whole way through waiting for it to end. I want the glass to break between you and I so we can connect. I want people to smile at me rather than run. I want to be free.

For ten years, self-destruction ran my life as I rushed to the end I hoped was in sight. Empty relationships, broken trust with those I love. I don’t recognize who I see in the mirror. Running was what I was good at. My MO of how I survived. An unclear, smoky maze has been my life for years. I scream and fight to just survive. I don’t want to want to wake up every day waiting to die; gripping my pillow and wiping the tears streaming down my face.

While fleeing I hit a wall, a family friend introduces me to a new path of healing so I didn’t have to run anymore. Now two years later I am free. My pain is still a part of me. I had to look at myself and see how my fears caused me to be overrun. But now… I see the truth. I see the sun. The healing process begins. I get on my knees and come to my senses about how my behavior had impacted others. I make peace with my past. And I move forward and start to be free at last.  

I want to create the possibility of a new time and space. Now I take steps towards a new, unknown path, getting to know who I really am. Everything from the inside out has started to shift.

I am wanting to live and not just exist. I smile at the reflection in the mirror instead of covering my eyes. I try on the world on for size. It feels like it is starting to fit.

I wake up and I am excited to breathe. I no longer feel dead inside. I have a team I trust to help me find the right tools at the right time. They challenge me at every turn. Family vacations are full of precious moments as I cook with my mom. I hold my niece close. My family doesn’t run away from me. They run to me. I have a career that I love and show up for 100% of the time. Because now I am reliable and refined.  I have assembled a team of mentors in my life to spot minefields that I don’t see so I can be the best version of me. To keep my life balanced I take care of my physical, emotional, and spiritual well being like a three- dimensional wave. I do all three to be equal all the way. I even passionately advocate for others that struggle like I did. Creating hope and awareness for others where despair once stood. Feels good. Real good.

My running has started to slow down. My heart is opening. The time has come for me to heal from all the buried and hidden pain.

Like a graffiti artist leaving my tag for the very first time, my life is my canvas – one day at a time. God has given me the power to see I can be renewed.

I have tasted what it is like to be free and finally – and happily – I’m on the scary but exhilarating journey of slowly being, becoming the person I was meant to be.

I am learning to love the person I see.

Maria G. has worked for the last ten years serving at-risk young adults. She is a passionate advocate for young people with mental health challenges, working with organizations committed to serving this underserved community. Maria has a BA in Urban Studies and Masters in Public Administration.
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About wendyang

Wendy Angulo is a New York City born Latina, raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Wendy is a mother, writer, lawyer and the founder of Wendy Angulo Productions, an organization whose goal is to support, encourage, and promote poetry and visual arts in the borough of Queens. Wendy, re-discovered her love for writing in the summer of 2011 after attending a spoken word event in Queens. She then joined the New York City Latina Writers Group where she has been an active member and has taken on the role as the organization’s Program Director. Wendy is an essayist who is currently working on her Memoir. She has read her work at several venues throughout New York City, including Nuyorican’s Poets Cafe, East Harlem Cafe, Sankofa Sisterhood, Camaradas and has been published in the online journal Mom Egg Review; she is a 2016 VONA alum and the sole creator/curator and producer of Canvas of Words, an art and poetry showcase that birthed of Wendy’s desire to bring the arts back to her beloved borough of Queens. Wendy continues to scout for new talent and build new connections to perpetuate the arts and strengthen the literary community.

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