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  • Writer's pictureZuZu

Hi! You Don't Know Me...Yet

The song playing as I write this, is, "Girl On Fire", by Alicia Keys. She has a great new song out, Underdog. But, I'm not here to promote one other people's gigs; I'm here to promote me. My challenges living with debilitating mental illnesses, health problems, and being a Unicorn- A Hetero, HIV Positive woman. We're rare, but we are very real.

So, I'm originally from the Metro Detroit area. I actually lived in downtown Detroit, lived in Orlando, every hood in Michoigan, travelled Greece for theatre for a month, and now I live on the West side of Michigan. In Conservative, Christian, Republican, DeVos, Amway, Van Andel country. It sucks. Especially when you grew up in a Union family. Four generations of teachers. I chose acting. I made films, Renaissance Festival, where I was an evil Princess, a sword fighter, shop help, and finally a pity job as security. I also went to U of D. I did a lot of technical theatre: Assistant Director/Stage Managing, Electrical, hanging lights, focusing lights, running the old school and one of the first electronic light boards. I was on stage. Lived in the Patch room for a show with 127 re patches. I basically Finished All Quiet on the Western Front (one of my favorites) during the show. The show was The Rimers of Eldritch. It was horrible. Boring. So, I didn't mind living in a 3x4 foot room with four banks of lighting banks. Got screwed out of a gun cue. Was blamed for years. I was finally cleared thirty years later. The Artistic Director would throw unopened cans of Diet Coke at you, it was great. I loved Improv. Still do.

But, I left Detroit for a stint in Orlando. My first job- I only did one day- as a pole dancer at Thee Playhouse. On Orange Blossom Trail. You down with OBT? Yeah! You know me! Then, some people I made my first movie with, HellMaster, were working at a haunted attraction, Terror on Church Street. So, I worked there for a year. Moved back home in 1994.

Became an alcoholic in Greece. That and Orlando are a whole other entry! Drank crazy till August 15, 2008. Still sober. My addictive behavior is out of control, but I'm not fucking drinking. I left off at Death. Since addiction is a progressive disease, if I picked up a drink, that's where I'd wind back up: Death. So, today, I choose not to drink.

When I was 13, I sank into a deep depression. I came in and told my mom, "Something's wrong with me. I need to see somebody." "You're fine". A year later, I attempted suicide. I was 14. It wasn't a huge deal. I scratched myself with a pin and took a bunch of Tylenol. I made the grateful mistake of calling a Suicide Hotline. The cops came. My dad was there, he didn't understand, he was so confused and hurt.

School the next day was great. Some girl heard about it on the police scanner- I lived in a VERY small town, and the whole school knew the next day. Fortunately, I was blessed with great, understanding and caring friends. Who didn't, and to this day, don't judge me. That day, I was sent to Mrs. Chricton. The school counselor. She worked with me, and recommenced a therapist for me- Donald E Arvidson. He said, "I don't want to do this, because you're so young, but I think you're Bipolar".

And that, my friends, begins our journey. Tune in next time for our next episode of

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