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Pretty Painted Picture Cheryl Lynn

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Some of the names in this memoir have been changed to conceal the personal identities of those implicated.

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This memoir is dedicated to my three loving children that brighten my every day and are truly my salvationyou all have been kissed by an angel. Also to my husband. We have made it through the best and the worst of times together. I do and will always truly love and adore you for continuing to love me unconditionally as I do you. Thank you for your love, support, and understanding of this important venture in my life. To my Mom. I love, admire you, respect you, and am honored to be your daughter. Thank you for not giving up on me. I love you. To my family and friends that have loved and supported me through this journey. I am grateful for your support and encouraging words; you know who you are. Thank you and I love you all.

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A special thank you to Christina Perri and Evanescence for inspiring me to write.

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Pretty Painted Picture

Looking out my window I think there’s something there My pretty painted picture I thought you really cared Your wisdom and your meaning The love I saw inside My pretty painted picture You know you made me cry So I am looking out my window This song I’ll give to you My pretty painted picture you left me feeling blue…

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Prologue

What is so significant about my life? Who cares to know the story that I have to tell? Is there someone out there that will and desires to listen? The loneliness that my heart feels is so unbearable at times. I find myself feeling guilty for my thoughts, my actions, my grief— even for feeling bad for myself. There are so many that suffer and have suffered more than me. I am just a typical girl, mother, wife, sister, and child. However, the undeniable sorrow that plagues my soul rests ever so close to the surface of my being. I cry almost every day. I think of my loves and my lost loves. I dream of my future and am overwhelmed and disheartened by my past. Will I ever be able to move on? I do know that several parts of me have died over my thirty-plus years of life. This memoir is my hope, my last chance to find myself and all the paths, dreams, and 6


wishes that went astray. I have come to the conclusion that my only deliverance from the turbulence in my heart and the demise of my soul has to begin at one of my lowest points: the turning point in my life—the intervention.

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Chapter 1: The Intervention

I am not sure of the time of day, but my husband is taking me to my Mom’s house for “a talk” about my bipolar disorder. I don’t know though. For a few weeks I have had this feeling in my gut that I am going to be ambushed. My husband is the worst liar. It is written all over his face and behind his eyes. I see a vacancy, almost like he is just going through the motions. “This better not be an intervention,” I utter to him. He just smiles and grabs my hand, just squeezing gently. No words. Just silence. I fucking knew it. We pull up to the house and walk slowly to the door. These few steps to the door would change my life, heart, and soul forever. I was processing but could still not process, if that makes any sense. 8


We open the door and go in. My Mom greets us at the door. I glance in toward the living room, and there he sits. Todd. I know him. I see him at my sister’s office all of the time. He is a behavioral therapist. My Mom lightly puts her arm around me and says, “Don’t worry. It will be fine. Just come on in. I have a seat for you.” Wow, a seat for me…little old me. How kind. What the fuck? As I enter the living room I see them all there: three of my sisters, my Stepdad, Todd, my husband, and my mother. The tension in the room actually stinks. It is a real smell that I can’t seem to place. I want to hold my breath so that I can’t smell it anymore, but I can’t. I can breathe, but I can’t. Their faces look worried, pathetic. And they all look as if I could bolt at any minute, so they watch my mannerisms very closely. The saying “all eyes are on me” is resonating through my head. The

only

thoughts

echoing, 9

screaming,

and


reverberating out of my very being are Get me the fuck out of here and Where are my kids? He speaks. Todd. “So, as you can probably or have probably figured out, we are staging an intervention.” No shit, Sherlock. “Your family cares about you very much and is only doing this because they love you.” Yeah, I know the drill, I watch Intervention. “So, why don’t we just get started?” Todd nods his head toward the couch and motions for someone to go first. I want to laugh. Maybe a nervous laugh. Maybe an I am going insane laugh. Not sure which one yet. One of my sisters, the one born after me, decides she will go first. Can’t really recall what exactly she said, but at one point she brought out a card and a letter that I had given her when she left for college. She said that she wanted to read it, and she did. It was about unconditional love

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and support and how she could always count on me for anything. I kept seeing her mouth move, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I wasn’t processing, but I was. Was I going deaf? I was numb. I was in pain—physical, real pain. Tears started to roll down her face. What the hell is she crying for? I am being fucking ambushed over here. She handed me the card and letter when she was done. It felt heavy in my hands—a heavy, heaping load of actual shit in my hand, burning a hole through it. My sisters all went first. My older sister followed my younger. She explained how I was not getting my work done at her office that I was supposed to be doing for her. She said she noticed I was lacking in my organization and time management, and she found this to be unacceptable. She failed to mention that part of 11

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