I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, moved to Princeton, NJ where I graduated high school, and moved back to Seattle around the year 2001. Creative writing was my first major in college, but I was asked to leave the campus. I did not pass any of the subjects and was diagnosed with a more severe form of depression. I was rejected by my college boyfriend. I was hospitalized numerous times for psychiatric problems, put on medication, and forced to attend meetings at mental health clinics for many years. I eventually did go back to school, and studied psychology and law. Though I introduced myself to all my instructors as disabled, after I enrolled in the disability program, I was one of their best students and got into the psychology honor society after having earned a 4.0 GPA, majoring in clinical psychology. It was my goal to receive a scientific bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, and become a clinical psychologist. But my family was moving back to the Pacific Northwest, and even though I was admitted to a university in Seattle, I changed my mind an transferred to one of their community colleges, where I took just one more psychology course, art, English, another term of English grammar, environmental science, and then decided to take legal classes to earn a certificate. Also around that time I went through a religious conversion. I grew up going to various denominations of Protestant faith, but I sought to know more about Christianity, other religions, and God. So, in my late 20’s, I began to research a wide variety of religions on the Web. I grew dissatisfied just reading books and wanted a real, personal experience with the Divine. I read books and books and books. My readings began with stacks and stacks of popular paperback books, but I got a sour taste in my mouth from them, and I moved on to higher brow fiction and non-fiction books concerning religion and law. A couple of years after my religious conversion, my father, who has seven college degrees, received his fourth master’s degree, this time at a theological seminary. He was always giving me clever books. So, after school and after my religious conversion, I went back to mental health clinics, and with my psychology education, I tried to become a peer support specialist. I looked for work both at mental health organizations and also at law offices. I self-published The Heart Grows Stronger at the same time as my mother self-published the first edition of her narrative poetry. After moving away from Seattle, I published with free-ebooks.net, eight more books. I began to volunteer as a peer support specialist, but I was not paid to do so at that point. I inquired about becoming a Roman Catholic cloistered nun, but was asked to leave because of my psychiatric diagnosis. However, I received spiritual guidance, and I am very happy that I spent a night at a monastery for a vocation discernment retreat and saw a vocational counselor, because the information I gathered was invaluable. To this day, I try to remain active in my community, read as many books as I can, and spend time in prayer every day.
I grew up a painfully shy girl, with many heartbreaks and worries. I have been broken-hearted by many boys, and chose to date again a little bit after having been turned away by the monastery. I never found the right one, but my faith tells me to carry on as though I were living in a cloister, and also as though I were married and had many children. You see, the constant conversion towards God means that I do not ever assume that I will have these things. The constant conversion towards God is self-sacrificial and unassuming. It would have been happy to become a nun, because of the joy in Christ that I have become his bride, and it would have been happy to be a wife and mother, because I would have a man to love and children to mother. But the self-sacrificial attitude allows God to bless us with that which He desires, leaving aside all our wants for ourselves and for others.
I look back at my creativity, my academic achievements, and my relationship with God and I realize that all three of these things are happy things. I may have suffered pains in the past, but to focus on that which brings us joy is what we are called to do, and not just wallow in self-pity. I have made outstanding achievements, despite my psychiatric disability. I have had the opportunity to love others, through relationships, gift-giving, and service. I can be happy right here, right now, as soon as I brush aside all worry and convert towards that which brings me joy.