But I also had some magic in there. I had a fairy shrine in our landscaping - in Florida, it's never a garden, it's landscaping. Florida is soulless.
But I had a fairy shrine in the landscaping. And I would stand in my backyard and pretend to be a tree.
And... that part of me was systematically stamped down. An adolescence of bad boyfriends, junior psychiatric wards, wilderness survival programs for bad seeds, and a group home in Utah will do that to you. Crushes the spirit.
I went straight from that group home to marrying my first husband. Chris. (Leader of a martial arts cult, but that's a different story altogether.) Chris was going into the Air Force and was afraid of being alone. I did not want to go back to Florida. Stupid reasons for a marriage, but hey, we were 18, it happens.
So there's 18-year-old 'song, 19-year-old 'song, living in a trailer (and not even a double-wide) walking distance from an Air Force base in North Carolina. (This is where my hatred of the military comes in - but again, that's a different story). Had no friends, because I was so damn different. Wasn't allowed to work. Et cetera. All contributing to making me feel rather dead inside... which was all brought to a head when I had a miscarriage and Chris simply dropped me off at the hospital and went out with friends...
Soon after that, I went to the library, where I'd been systematically devouring Philip K. Dick short story collections... and I saw a book that looked interesting, and checked it out.
The book was Dreams Underfoot, by Charles de Lint.
And everything changed.
I realized that there were other people out there that saw the magic I used to see. That were the magic that I used to be. I... woke up. I started breathing again.
In Dreams Underfoot, I found myself. In everyone. But most of all in Jilly. (People I've never met say I'm "a Jilly".) As Professor Dapple and his manservant Goon awakened her to the magic in the world, I was along for the ride. I remembered.
I remembered and, like Jilly, I'll never again forget.
I do credit this book with saving my life.
This book is part of my soul. It is bone-deep part of me.
Shortly after that, I left Chris and went to Vegas (which is a whole book in itself), where I had many adventures. Got pregnant. Went back to soulless Florida...
...but I discovered the internet. And a little fairly-new e-mail mailing list called Tamson House, after the house in de Lint's Moonheart that straddled two worlds, and that "knows its own". And, although it was through the tenuous connection of a dial-up modem... I was still not alone.
I joined Tamson House eight years ago. And I met so many incredible people there - who I'm not going to list because I know I'll forget someone because of my brain damage and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
And I met a man named Adam, who became my best friend, and then more.
(That was a rocky road, mostly due to me marrying an asshole because I was desperately seeking stability. And he turned out to be unstable on top of everything else. But. Another story.)
And Adam and I fell in love. His Geordie to my Jilly, we sometimes say, though he's more like Christy in that he writes instead of playing music.
This is me. I rediscovered my magic. I nurtured it. I found people like me.
And I see magic in the world every day. Everywhere.
And I'm not going to forget, not ever again.
I tell people that if they want to understand me, they should read Dreams Underfoot.
That's who I am.
And maybe, in part, that's who you are as well.