I was at college this past Wednesday in one of my Early Childhood Education classes and one of the young ladies (she is Asian) said “Ayesha is Black and she accepts herself and everything!”. She also said I was quiet and I seemed like a nice person. It’s funny because I am doing my paper on a book called Kwanzaa and Me by Vivian Paley. I feel like she was really surprised that I accept myself and I’m a Black woman. I think she was expecting me to be like other Black women she knows who may be self hating because a lot of Black women and Black men are self hating or self loathing. Not me though, not Ayesha! That’s not true about me. I sometimes feel like I’m an exception to that “rule” but that makes me feel good in a lot of ways. Despite everything I have been through I can say I like myself and want to be who I am not somebody I’m not.
I am a very important person. I’m not less than anyone else and nobody is better than I am. I see myself as a very important person. I’m not a celebrity but I’m a V.I.P. If I had treated myself the way other people treat me I wouldn’t be good to myself but I am being good to myself. I’m true to myself and I feel like I deserve a rose gold nameplate and name earrings and nice clothes and jewelry and cool hats and lots of bling bling. Nobody is going to love me like me. I remember when I got hired at Mercer as a Mentor for the DREAM program. I knew I had moved up a level from where I was. I will be working at Mercer until May 2017 or December 2017. I haven’t made my mind up yet. This Christmas is Christmas at Mercer and by January 2017 I’ll have 6 credits in my Early Childhood Education major! I cannot wait to take the Praxis Core for Educators tests (3 in all). I am doing so well! I co-facilitate the NAMI Connection support group too once or twice a month! I’m happy.
Of the things that make me who I am two big things I think would be my Black Identity and my college degrees. My parents especially my mom have pushed education since I was a little girl. It was important to both of my parents that I applied myself and did well in school. I was never the type to be a smoker. I tried to quit smoking with the patch back in my 20s but I was not successful at quitting until age 33 when my psychiatrist asked me if I was serious about quitting and she started me on Chantix. In a few months I had no desire to smoke and next July will be my 3-year smoke free with not a puff off a cigarette in three years. I never thought I would become a smoker as a kid. It was because of peer pressure I started smoking at the alternative high school I went to where teenagers got smoking privileges. That was when I guess you could say I became a smoker. My Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at age 34 is something I am very proud of. No one can take my degrees away from me. I am working on a second BA in Early Childhood Education starting this Fall 2016. I want to teach at a The Goddard School or a Montessori school when I get my Early Childhood Education degree.
The brokenness was healed or began to heal after I turned thirty. This self assured confident feeling of wholeness and self acceptance really took me by surprise. I had been a broken African American teenage girl with body image issues and people made fun of me about my looks, my skin color and other reasons. When I was in my 20s the major things that happened to me was at the age of 26 I graduated from Mercer and at the age of 27 I became involved with NAMI Mercer the same organization that gives me a place to volunteer and quality of life. This feeling of self acceptance was a feeling that was new to me. It came by surprise to me because as a child I was bullied badly and criticized. For a while it was just me and my mom and then when I was nine or ten years old my step dad Neil became my dad. I remember turning thirty and thinking” I like who I am”. That was a feeling I thought could not be right at first. All the bullying I encountered as a little girl even as a teenage girl and all the struggles in my 20s and now at thirty here I was liking myself and accepting myself and feeling really good about who I am! It’s still a process of continued self acceptance and independence and self reliance for me.
Everyday though I never give in I get strange feelings like I harmed myself. I basically get self harm hallucinations all day until I go to sleep at night. Sometimes I get the feeling like someone is bashing my face in to my laptop. New York Times best selling Memoirist Mary Karr said you can’t write memoir if you can’t literally punch yourself in the face believe that or not. Mary Karr said it! I am a proud African American woman and I’m a Poet and a Memoir writer and an aspiring children’s book author. I am ambitious. I am writing my memoir, Ayesha’s story right now. All of the spiritual abuse is unfair to me. I don’t harm others and I sure as hell don’t want to cause any harm to myself. Schizophrenia is such a tough illness. I’m on a whole new level now that I’m on payroll at Mercer and I refuse to be silenced or abused by anybody. If you’re out there haters you can kiss my ass!
I led the Bowling and Pizza event for the first time in December 2010 after being asked by Erika Reading. I remember a Just Friends member telling me that I did a good job leading the event. I also remember the same Just Friends member telling me he tried to lead the event and he just couldn’t do it but he told me I did a great job. I really believe that God walks with me and wherever I am God is with me. I had an experience one day with the Divine or with God. I know the supernatural peace that washed over me that day at AAMH partial care program was from God. That’s how I know I don’t walk alone. I would’ve snapped if God had not intervened. Divine intervention is real! This December 2016 will be six years since the first time I volunteered to lead a Just Friends event. It’s my “anniversary”!
I am writing my life story from early onset of my Schizophrenia at age fourteen to my life right now in my 30s. The first part of my memoir is my early onset of my mental illness (Schizophrenia) to now me in my 30s and doing so much better having “made peace with my illness” and all of that good stuff. I no longer blame other people for my shortcomings or weakness or struggles. I know that if it was God’s will then there was some reason for my suffering. One day the reason will be known and obvious at some time in the future. If I suffer and have been suffering I believe that there was a reason that I suffered. Nothing just happens there is a reason for everything that happens in life we just don’t always know why but there is always a reason. I got lucky and Edi Giunta liked me enough to support me for my last two semesters at NJCU starting to write my memoir she affectionately calls My Schizophrenia Autobiography. I smile wherever I think of the word idiosyncratic. I will have a memoir soon. By next January I want to have 40,000 words (word count) and by June or the following January I want to have 60,000 words. I’m working on a book length memoir project! I am so happy. So far I have like 55 pages typed written and everything! I will keep going.