“Hi. My name is Amethyst Mahoney, and I’m a Weirdo.”
At least, that’s what everyone told me. My entire life. Growing up in the fundamentalist Bible Belt, I was always the outsider, even when I was playing at being a “good Christian” and wondering why I was supposed to judge everyone else and tell them to convert or they’d go to Hell.
Obviously, it wasn’t the place for me. I rarely had friends. Plus, my parents didn’t know what to do with me, and no one else really did, either. I had genius-level IQ scores, and the schools tried to skip me 5 grades, but my parents said no.
So I was ancy, and figety, and finished my work so early that teachers would tell me to go outside and play for hours out of the day.
At church, I insisted on giving a full sermon at the ripe old age of 8. I soaked up the attention, and LOVED being on stage and public speaking. I looked for opportunities to entertain, to make people laugh, to let them know that they were okay no matter where they were in life.
But things weren’t all rosy…
I lived with an abusive, alcoholic step-father. Every day he would beat me and say, “I don’t know what you did, but I’m sure you did something wrong today and you deserve this.” My mother, who was always drunk or high (or both), agreed.
By the age of 12, I was ready to end it all. I sat up all night with a gun in my mouth, trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. Beating me wasn’t the only thing my step-father was doing, and I wanted out.
But that night, I made a choice. I chose to not end my life. I chose to be the weirdo that I am, and to stand up for others… I chose to live.