I started painting when I attended the College of William and Mary and in 1964 graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. But, despite my desire to write and paint, the world of creating art wasn't going to be my professional destiny. You see, I also loved to fly ... in planes. And the only option for a young women in the early 60s was to become a stewardess, now known as a flight attendant.
So with a love of art in my back pocket, I began a career with the airlines and then .... everything went topsy-turvy. After flying ten years, traveling around the world, living the life of a carefree social butterfly, I ended up in a psychiatric ward.
Over a four year period, my world evolved from one of stability and normalcy, to one of darkness. My rational mind disappeared and I plummeted into a way of seeing and behaving that was bizarre, frightening, and destructive. Without knowing it and without any obvious warning, I had manifested an acute schizophrenic episode, paranoid variety. I was schizophrenic!
What on earth do I do now? I thought in my rare rational moments. Do I succumb to this new disease or was there a way out for me?
While considering these questions, I realized I had some resources at hand. In fact, almost immediately, thanks to a wonderful doctor who saw my potential and not just my dysfunctional side, I began to see that my connection to the creative arts and my faith, of a Christian variety, might be just what I needed.
In addition, my doctor and I began to recognize that my "warped" sense of humor - I actually learned to make fun of my predicament instead of feeling sorry for myself, and a bullheaded commitment to stay out of the hospital- would lift me out of my sad state of affairs ... if I let them. As this doctor - who supported and guided me for over 25 years - said to me one day, "Miss Goin, I admire your steely determination." I was so lucky to have medical advice that never let me victimize myself and always encouraged me to explore and invest in my creative side, my desire and ability to find beauty in the small and large things alike.
And then I rediscovered writing and what writing can do to purge the mind and open the soul and spirit to hope-filled discoveries. What fun I thought to revisit the ins and outs of being me. Maybe my crazy story - with all the adventures, opportunities, and "plunges" into darkness - might not only help me find my deeper story but help others find theirs as well. So, some fifteen years ago, I began the journey of putting one word in front of the other and now ... it's finished. My book is done!!
And you, a potential reader, if you want to take a fast and crazy ride to the wild side, travel my journey from health, to sickness, to a wonderful life, and find along the way lessons and observations that might help open your heart to a bigger, bolder you, I welcome your partnership on the way.
I hope you enjoy it!
Here's a photo of me today and a painting I did right after I got out of the hospital when I was in my early 30s and had experienced a frightening mental breakdown. I'm older now but I'm sure glad I don't look like the Betsy of back then. What a time that was!