One of the many things that I admire about Jacqueline is that she embodies real compassion and humanitarianism. As a Stigma Fighter and advocate, Jackie shares her own personal stories, spreads awareness, and shines light where ignorance would prefer it remain dark.
Jackie has experienced so many different and fascinating adventures in her life, some haven’t been all that great, but they haven’t tainted her or driven her to become bitter in any way. Jackie believes in celebrating people for their accomplishments, and lifting them up when they fall. She expresses gratitude whole-heartedly, and this is rare to find today. Jackie is a gem, and it has been such a pleasure to get to know her. I love everything that she stands for, and I believe that she is changing the world. Thank you, Jackie. You are inspiring.
The Fault Line
By Jacqueline Cioffa
I keep coming back to one thought. Let me rephrase it for you; I keep dragging, pulling, kicking, screaming and reprimanding my brain to come back. Focus, for Christ sake. Be normal or pretend to be some semblance of normalcy. For them. You know, the others. The ones who don’t have to concentrate to understand what someone is saying while you’ve already jumped five pages ahead complete with side notes, edits and rewrites leaving them mid-air. The normal ones who couldn’t possibly understand that your eye is twitching, throat closing, head exploding and neck aches from the constant whir and chatter of the white noise. Surely you must be dead. To co-exist with anxiety, with this much anxiety, is well for lack of a better more descriptive word, overwhelming.
It wasn’t always like this. I think. I can’t remember, not really. I have been the ‘other’ me for so long; normal is old news. I wasn’t always crazy, well I might have been. But, I was able to leave the house. Shit I lived in so many countries I lost count. I was the girl with the backpack, combat boots, ripped jeans and too many non-conformist fuck you’s flying out of her mouth, trying desperately to be different. I’d cut my stub thumb off to have a tiny bit of normal. It would be comical, if it weren’t so goddamn pathetic. I’m lucky if I can leave the house. Social agoraphobia, manic depression and anxiety are my ‘not so new normal.’ Three, four places I’ve conquered over the last five years. Is that man in the windbreaker and rim glasses staring because he knows me, or planning to break into my house, snap my dog’s neck and slit my throat while I’m sleeping? Some chick approaches fists and jaws clench instinctively, oh wait, it’s OK. I know her. I take a half-breath and pretend to hear what she’s saying while the intrusive thoughts whiz by, tick bite, Lyme’s disease, throat is closing, I most certainly am going to die. I need an Epi-pen. I stand there nodding, even answering, because I have superpowers and am apparently able to think a thousand things at once. This girl is normal she doesn’t see me screaming inside, notice the tremors or flood of irrational outburst and tears that will most certainly follow the second I am home, safe. Praying for normal, begging and weeping for a sliver of routine. My beautiful, chaotic brain is burning. I see the words but cannot will the neurons to speak them from my mouth. I fear they will abandon me, the words, that is the fate waiting down the road. The fault line. There is a very real, dark, impenetrable, decisive line dividing me (the mentally ill) from the norm. I don’t care what you think; I can’t care at all. I’m too busy dealing with my mismanaged brain to worry about anything, too exhausted; plain wore out trying to live this new normal.
I don’t worry.
I am worry.
I won’t share the deep pockets of joy, a spirit animal hopping through canary yellow fields of a million dandelions, the sun playing shadow games casting sunbeam bubbles, or the smiles on my face direct from my heart.
To live and just be, feel alive inside the temporary, serene minutes.
God forbid, I should cross over some fracture, a displaced volume of rock in the earth formed ages ago before labels, defining words, or lines of any sort.
It’s nobody’s fault, really.
If you meet me, you might want to speak a little slower next time.
Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in “Brainstorms, the Anthology” and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.
You can also visit Jackie on:
See below for links to her highly acclaimed novels.
Her poignant, fiction debut THE VAST LANDSCAPE gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.
Order The Vast Landscape here on Amazon
Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put GEORGIA PINE the exciting sequel down.
Order Georgia Pine here on Amazon
“The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” —The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa