I’m Clara Jane Tenny.
I take photos.
I make videos.
I record songs, spoken thoughts, and stories.
I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a personality disorder not otherswise specified (NOS).
My life was derailed from anything that qualifies as “normal” long ago and won’t be put back on that track ever again.
I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned, even if only one person sees it.
I’ve written a memoir that will someday be published and it won’t be my last.
My highest level of formal education is a bachelors degree in French.
I speak French, read French, and listen to spoken and sung French as much as I can.
I’ve been told I’m fluent in French, but I don’t think I am.
I feel much younger than I actually am.
I still believe some of the faith I was raised in, but my beliefs have greatly evolved and I no longer go to church.
I love musicals.
I love long, solo drives.
I love stories, especially true stories.
I love books and just being near them brings me joy.
I’m a romantic.
I’m learning to love myself.
I’m always searching for meaning especially in the wake of trauma and tragedy.
I’m comfortable with solitude.
I’m comfortable with melancholy.
I fully embrace the mystery of life.
I don’t know how my story will end, but I won’t be the one to end it.
I’ve made many poor decisions in life, especially in my youth, but I’ve learned from them and regret nothing.
I’ve met and befriended some of the most remarkable people in the world.
I still deal with intense emotions, despite my prescribed lithium and fluoxetine.
I still feel adventurous, despite not having the means to travel the world.
But it doesn’t matter how many positive statements I’m able to write about me. I still feel stigma and shame for having a mental illness and the way it’s irreversibly altered my life. I know I’m not the only one feels this way, so I will use my gifts to fight for myself and anyone else who feels as powerless as I’ve felt. I may feel alone much of the time, but I know I’ve never truly been alone.