The Truth About Me


The truth about me is that I tuned in to Oprah’s Life Class for a few minutes today. The challenge that impaled my chest one minute in was, Are you addicted to your story? Impaled my chest? Yes, I’m a super-sensitive person so bristles sprang up on the back of my neck too.  Iyanla Vanzant kept saying to a woman on skype, “. . . that’s the story you keep telling yourself. What is the real story?”

The truth about me is I love a good challenge.  I needed a lot of therapy to survive and combat the depression and self-hatred beaten into my young psyche. Role-playing. Reading a letter to an empty chair. Trusting the doctors that anti-depressants and relaxants would give me the strength to deal with my frequent panic disorder, agoraphobia, and night terrors. Whiling away complete hours of silence with my therapist, wishing I was at least whittling.  As I matured and grew into increasing levels of insight, I spent considerable time raging, grieving, writing and thinking hard about everything.

The truth about me is that I have been motoring in mud forever.  Actually, when I ran away from home, I just escaped into another prison. A different sort of kidnapping took place, just free of my mother and stepfather. The trauma kept multiplying so I was forgetting faster than anything. Memories didn’t always reveal themselves in any order, nor did they do PowerPoint presentations connecting every minute detail for me.  I, like every survivor, had to address issues of abandonment, distrust, hatred, love, betrayal, and victimization, while summoning the necessary energy to survive day-to-day.

The truth about me is that any interaction that is, in effect, silencing someone from speaking at all–no matter what level of stuck-ness they are at–irks me. Many times, as I attempted to deal with people who were way beyond me in terms of social skills, I ended up in tears and found myself crawling ever-deeper into my shell.  I do realize that in the format of Oprah’s Life Class, every exchange with someone must get succinct fast.

The truth about me is that in my ever-evolving story, I have not been stuck since the beginning of 2011.  I was blessed then as the grief of Steve’s death changed ever so slightly; I was able to move ahead while holding him dear to my heart.  The wonders of life since then are like maple sugar to a child.  Writing retreats. New friends. Trusting more deeply. Letting friends I love know that. Laughing until a geyser of tea is pouring from my nose.

The truth about me is I still struggle with self-esteem, feeling equal to everyone else, being my own best friend, and yearning for a family that would have my back through anything. The latter is wasted energy but the rest is not. The truth is that in hope and the evolution of my story, I have truly ‘made it.’

The truth about me is I am not sure I could sit between Oprah and Iyanla and hold my own. But I would sure try and contribute enough so I wouldn’t have to grab Oprah’s shoe as a memento.

One Reply to “The Truth About Me”

  1. This piece embodies so much courage and love. The courage to choose to do the hard work of healing always amazes me. The determination of the human spirit to live is inspiring. Thank you Terry for sharing your story with such grace and honesty. I think you would do more than hold your own between Oprah and Iyanla. I believe you would give Miss Vanzant and Miss Winfrey a run for their money.

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