But this time, the depression was worse than I could have ever imagined and I couldn’t handle it. I got my dad’s 45 caliber gun and shot myself in the stomach.

You will forever spend your life avoiding being “average” or “normal” because your only claim to fame in your family was that you were the offbeat one that had other redeeming qualities besides just being the one born first or last.

Every part of me rejected that phrase. He said it casually in the hope that maybe I didn’t hear it, and maybe it didn’t have to be true, or perhaps so we could just glaze over it and move on to what was for dinner. “I’m sick,” he said.


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