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The Story of a Twenty-One Year Old Girl

Yup, another life story. Yay!

You must be thinking, "Oh god, here we go again with a life story." Ah, sure it may be another life story but you may learn something from this story. That or you might think you just wasted your time reading this. Who knows? If you do decide to stick around, let's get to it.

Hello, this is my story.

On August 5, 1997, at 4:42 p.m. I was born. There were complications. I'm gonna skip all the gory details that I don't exactly remember. What I can tell you is that I got stuck. Both mine and my mother's heart rate dropped. The doctors ordered an emergency c-section. Now for those of you who don't know what a c-section is, it's actually called a cesarean section. If you still don't know what that is exactly, look it up. You'll learn something new. I was born a healthy baby after that, all ten fingers and all ten toes. Of course, my mom, who was all looped up on morphine, spelled my name wrong. Yeah, that's right. My mom had a good name picked out and under medication, she decided to normalize my name. I went from Emma Lee Danielle Nicole Cothran to Emily Danielle Nicole Cothran. I know still a mouthful. I still give her crap for it.

Fast forwarding two years, I'm now a big sister. My mom never married my father nor did they stay together. My mom met and married my sister's real dad. He died a few months before she was born. I think it was a drowning. It was tragic, though. On December 17, 1999, I became a big sister. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be a big sister to twins, a boy and a girl. The boy didn't make it so only my little sister was born. It was also the night my mom grabbed the doctor by the collar of his shirt and demand that she get her tubes tied. I was not happy about being a big sister, as most kids typically weren't. Imagine a chubby two-year girl in a diaper with a deep red face and tears streaming down her face as she tries to push a baby, sitting in a car seat, out of the house. Yeah, I did that. Of course, everyone thought it was hilarious and took pictures. Spoiler alert! It didn't work.

I was also two years old when my biological father abandoned me. My mom never told me how all I know is that he did. My mom also noticed that I was having trouble hearing at age two. It was a "terrible twos" for me but for different reasons. Mom took me to an audiologist (hearing doctor.) The doctor declared me having selective hearing. I was apparently "faking" the whole time. Little did he know, he was wrong and it made my life exceedingly difficult. 

A few years later my mom remarried. It was not a good marriage. We don't speak this guy's name. He was a terrible husband. He cheated on my mom a lot. He messed up her credit by not paying bills and all that stuff. He also took discipline too far. Everything my sister and I did was wrong. Even my cousins were "disciplined" for doing nothing wrong. I was like five or six and I still remember everything he did. From smacking us to shoving soap in our mouths with towels over our heads so he didn't have to look at us. All the bad things happened while my mom wasn't home. One day, he smacked my mom and took the money she had on her. We packed up and moved in with my grandparents while he was at work. 

I remember the first time my mom found out he was cheating on her, she called up my aunts asking for advice. One of my aunts wanted my mom to feed him daddy long-legs.  Not taking their advice, she made up his favorite dinner, chili. She made sure to make mine, her's and my sister's bowls first. After that, she dumped a bottle of laxatives in the pot of chili. He was home for about a week. 

I was five years old when I was supposed to see my biological father again. It was Easter. I was so excited to spend time with my daddy. Only he didn't show up. First, it was because of work. Then it was traffic. Mom gave up. Upset for me, she took me and my sister to Build-a-Bear Workshop. I've had my panda Mickey for sixteen years now. I'll never forget why I got her. But ever since she has been through everything with me. Through the first days of school, to moving around a lot, she even survived a house fire somehow. I'll never understand how she got out but she did.

When I was in third grade, 8 years old, mom met the love of her life. I hated him. Mom's ex-husband ruined my image of men. Every male that wasn't family was horrible in my eyes. When I saw my mom getting too attached to this guy, I went berserk. The first thing I did was attempting to jump out of a two-story window when my mom left this guy to babysit us while she went to school to become a hair stylist. Mom ended up quitting school because of that. The second thing I did was threaten him. I mean I threatened him with a knife, a fan, I even tried throwing a chair at him. Nothing worked. He stayed. I, however, ended up in a hospital for six days. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on two types of medication that I purposely stopped taking in eighth grade. It was awful and the people there were worse than me. The other thing I liked about it was that it got me into art and I got ice cream. But even then this guy stayed with my mom. 

Looking back now, part of me will never understand how he could possibly care enough to put up with my attitude. There was one time where I threw a fit and it caused him and mom fight. It was after they were engaged. It got so bad that he threw his ring away. Both of them each had a ring. He threw his ring and lost it. A week later they were back together. I was a terrible kid. Up until I was sixteen I fought with him. Even though I did, I still considered him my dad. He was the only one who stayed. No matter what I did, he didn't leave me. I finally had a dad. Dad was a goofy man. He had medical problems. He was blind, had diabetes. He was also a recovering addict. But he was a good man. 

February 23, 2009, my grandma (my mom's mom) passed away. Bleeding in the brain I think they said it was. I remember falling to my knees and crying hysterically while being held by my granny (my dad's mom). She had passed away ten days after my grandpa's birthday. Five years later, on April 29, 2014, the only dad I had known passed away. It was the start of a dark time for everyone. At sixteen, almost a junior in high school, I was hit with depression. My mom's health deteriorated. My little sister became angry. We almost lost everything. If it wasn't for my grandpa and old friends of my mom's, we would have lost everything. It became too hard to pay bills, we lost our car because we couldn't keep up the payments, and my mom was denied disability. 

My mom was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Basically, what that means is osteoarthritis in the lower back and neck. Her back began to give out. She was also diagnosed with depression and PTSD. She had knee surgery when I was little. My mom has arthritis in both hands along nephropathy. She can't feel her feet. She can't stand up straight. My mom is unable to do anything she has been doing since she was nine years old. For the last four years, her health has been getting worse. Do you know how hard it is to hear your mom say she wants to give up on a daily basis? Do you know how hard it is to hear your mom scream in pain because she can't get in and out of bed? Do you know how hard it is to hear your mom talk about killing herself because she can't take the pain and stress anymore?

For four years, I've hidden my feelings from my family. I still have depression and anxiety, pushing through the trauma I have dealt to take care of my mom and angry little sister. I relied on my close friends and teachers. I relied on my art and buried my nose in books. I became attached to TV shows and musicians. Even today, my source of happiness is a certain television show and a certain band. My senior year of high school, I finally got the hearing aids I needed my entire life. I graduated high school. I went to college for a few months but dropped out because I ended up moving to another state with my family. 

Living so far away from my best friend and the rest of my family put me even deeper into depression. My anxiety became worse. I barely left the house. Aside from helping my mom around the house and going to her doctor's appointments I barely left my room. I became even more hooked on reading. I stopped drawing. The last few months of living in a different state, I began talking less. I went completely mute for two weeks. It freaked mom out. 

I became an aunt of a beautiful baby boy. I was there when he was born. So gross. I was there almost every day up until I moved back to my home state and in with my best friend. Unemployed and still don't know how to drive. Struggling with things and so far from my mom, feeling so alone.

See they don't teach you how to be an adult in school. You graduate high school and you're pushed into the real world with no idea what to do. There is only so much your parents can help with. Twenty-one years old and I have no idea how to be an adult. Do you know how hard it is to be an adult when you don't like associating with other people? When I am forced to talk to random people my mind reverts back when my mom taught me not to talk to strangers. I get panicky and think STRANGER DANGER! Then there is the whole job thing. You can't get a job without experience but you can't get experience without a job. 

Why should I be allowed to be an adult? I don't even feel comfortable buying alcohol. Then there's the pressure of being single when everyone around you is getting married and/or having kids. Soon people are gonna ask me, "Why don't you have a man?" Or, "When are you getting married?" Um, excuse you, let me work up the courage to buy myself a drink before you ask me to get myself a lover or have a child. Thanks.

At this moment, telling my story, I feel relieved. No matter how hard my life is, I know other people may have it harder. Being in a family that has medical problems and mental health issues is difficult. It's hard being surrounded by pain, suffering, and sadness. But there is also love and laughter. The pain and suffering that my mom goes through brought us closer. She is my best friend. The struggling my sister goes through after having a baby while still in school and working part-time also brought us closer. We may argue time after time. I may hate her 95% of the time but after giving birth to my nephew we learned to tolerate each other. The sadness and darkness I dealt with lessened when I was reunited with my best friend and got to spend time with my family.

Life is filled with misfortunes. My entire life I have lost friends, family, even pets. People grow up and lose touch. I've had friends become enemies. I've had friends become family. I've had family becomes strangers. I have seen and know love, loss, disappointments, pain, suffering, stress, happiness, laughter, and sadness. I don't know how I want to live my life. I don't know what I am doing. I probably messed up my life a bit. I've probably unknowingly made enemies. I'm human. It's expected. The only thing to do is push through it and keep going.

There will always be darkness in the world and in your life. How you choose to deal with it is the question. Surrounding yourself with things that make you happy helps. As cliché as it sounds, surrounding yourself with negativity will keep you from being happy. 

"It is often in the darkest skies we see the brightest stars." -Richard Evans 

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