In the last week of the year, I finally have the guts to call myself a writer, a label that I had been very hesitant to give to myself. Instead of a writer, I called myself “writer-wannabe” or “scribbler.” I hold quotes like “don’t be a writer, be writing” to heart, using them not only as inspiration to keep writing but also as excuses to avoid clearly defining a part of me. I have not published anything. I have not gotten any stamp of approval from anyone. Even if I had published, would anyone be interested in what I have to say?
I am also a schizophrenic, for real, medically. I gave myself that label six years ago, the moment that I finally started to understand what I had been fighting against. The journey to the beginning of self-awareness of this brain disease took about seven years, even though my close friends and family all knew what I had. Among my own circles, I have become comfortable in discussing what I have. Most of the time, I am the one who initiates that conversation. I want more people to know what it’s like to be schizophrenic and that I am not at all that different from everyone. Outside of my circles, I oscillate between being brave and cautious. What is smarter? To share or not share? Do I want to have this label when I meet a stranger who does not know anything else about me?
Furthermore, I am a single-childless woman in my forties. A minority in my circle for sure. Fortunately, I loved the last forty-something years of my life. I have not met the right man even though I did meet many very good men in my life. I embrace my singleness every day. I believe it is possible to have an open heart for a partner while being happily single. I did not decide that I did not want kids. I did consider having my own biological child by using a donor. That did not work out and was not meant to be. I now made peace with being childless. Being single and married are just two different paths in life. This one is mine and it’s okay it’s different from most of my married friends. My time of having children has run out, however, I am still dating. When I meet men, I sometimes wonder if I am able to let someone in after being single, independent, and peaceful for many years.
There are definitely risks to owning up to these labels, to be different. But that’s what life is all about. To be uniquely me. I want to write what I have to say, even if only my family and friends read them. I have to speak up for mental illness because I am lucky to be able to. I am hopeful of meeting new people. I have to take a stand in the light, away from the dark, and say, this is me, and it’s okay.