Tessa is our guest today on Success Inspirer. Have you met her before? She is such a charm you would love to meet; open and I love to talk to her. Since I knew her, she has remained a faithful friend, ready to admit the dark spots of her life and determined to make the most of the opportunities ahead. I have a special liking for Tessa. If I stay for a while without seeing her I want to go look for her because she has become part of my world. I am happy that she accepted to be our guest. If you can find time to read all of her interview you will discover what I have found – Tessa has a golden heart.
Thank you Tessa for granting this interview to Success Inspirer. Tell me how you feel doing this.
Well I feel honored to be selected, but I am also a little nervous.
I know you on WordPress as Tessa. Can you kindly give me your full name?
My full name is Teresa Elizabeth Smeigh (Dean – maiden name).
Where do you live at the moment?
Deptford, NJ in the USA.
Have you always lived in this city or country?
I have always lived in this country. I have lived in 2 states. NJ and NC (when my now ex-husband was in the Marine Corps).
What keeps you here? Any plans to move elsewhere?
I am only here because I live with my 83 year old father. I will have to find a new home somewhere when he passes. I pray to God to provide someplace.
What do you do for a living?
I don’t do anything for a living anymore. I am disabled and on government disability. Before that I was many things although most of my jobs were office work mainly.
The last job I had was customer service in a bank’s call center. Terrible job, I was terrified of it and the customers get nasty when dealing with their money.
It means that was not your dream job. What is the job you dreamed of when you were young?
That, nor any of the others, was my dream job. My dream job was to be an oceanographer, but 2 problems – scuba diving and fish in the ocean of many sizes.
Let us talk a little about your family life. Do you have brothers and sisters? What is your relationship with them?
I have one brother and one sister, both younger than me. We are not close as a family. My sister is here in town and my brother is in the state of NC. My sister tries to get us all together (except my brother’s family) a few times a year besides Christmas.
What of your parents? Are they alive?
My mother passed October 5, 2013. My dad is alive and well and 83 now. Since I live with him, it is more like parent and child than 2 adults. My 28 year old son lives here too since my mom passed.
When you were growing how was the atmosphere in your family? Looking at it now what do you say about the way your parents brought you up? Were they strict? Lenient? Was there love in your family?
My dad was definitely strict. My mother left discipline to Dad. It could be difficult depending on what it was. We loved each other, but we are just not a close family.
What type of a child were you? Heady? Obedient? Loving or difficult?
Ok this is difficult. I was super obedient because I was afraid of punishment, but I was also difficult because I had bipolar disorder plus other mental illnesses and I didn’t sleep, got depressed, got manic and couldn’t focus on real life. I tuned out. Loving! definitely not. It is just not in my makeup as a human, though I am learning through my blogging.
What do you like or dislike about your childhood or girlhood?
I hated my childhood. I was different and bullied at school. I was intelligent, but that was all the cool kids wanted from me. Not many friends.
In what ways have you changed over the years?
I have become more scared of life as I lost the innocence of childhood, but then I was an anxious baby even. I try to stand up for myself more. I have more self-esteem now. I finally recognize my writing talent.
What were your ideas of marriage when you were young? Did you find your ideal husband? To what extent have you or have you not met your dreams for marriage?
As a young girl I dreamed of having 12 babies and not having to work, just be a wife. Thankfully only 3 babies and unfortunately I had to work. I did not find my ideal husband. We stayed married 23 years and I have been divorced for 16 now.
Many marriages break up and often a finger is pointed at the man. What do you say?
I say that it takes two to break up a marriage. Even though my husband walked out with another woman I won’t deny my part in the breakup. I couldn’t leave so he left me. We weren’t meant for each other and God finally saw that; and that we had suffered enough.
Do you have any frustrations worth mentioning outside the fact that your marriage didn’t work?
I have never been able to sleep like normal people or what I consider normal.
What about your successes or achievements?
I have had 4 articles on bipolar disorder published in a major blog, besides ones in several smaller blogs.
What prompted you to start blogging?
I had all this creativity bottled up inside of me. I wanted to write so I started a fiction blog full of stories, poems and prompt works where you follow a prompt. After that I had a break down from my bipolar and attempted suicide. I created a second blog, I want to help people in the same situation and to help people know that those symptoms are normal and that someone cares about them and to help erase stigma.
What have you gained from blogging?
A satisfaction in having helped people; and have those same people help me when I need it. I still suffer from my bipolar and right now I am manic and having a problem with mood swings from depression and back. I am afraid a medication tweaking is in the future. This cocktail is no longer working. She tweaked it last week because of the depression and now I am going into mania.
I see life has not been a bed or roses, so what has kept or keeps you going?
My new-found faith in God. After 40 years of denying him I have come back and he has welcomed me with open-arms. I feel God in me. I know he has plans for me.
If you were to remake your life are there things you wouldn’t like to do the same way you did them before?
I wouldn’t get married so early or to who I did, although I would not have the same children if life were different and I love my children with all of my heart and being. I wrote a letter of apology to my children apologizing for raising them with my bipolar and how it affected their lives. Their lives weren’t quite so easy. Yet both girls became very loving mothers to their children. Just the opposite of me.
Do you have a role-model? Who is that and why?
I would have to say my deceased mother. I am trying to take over her role in life and helping people. I am so proud of her and she was very sick with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia.
Which books or authors have shaped your life and in what way?
Now this is another hard one. My reading was mainly fiction. My favorite author is Stephen King and I relate to him because of his style of writing. Many of my stories are horror or at least on the dark side. I am trying to break that habit and stay more on the lighter side of life. My nightmares are like his stories. He writes about his nightmares. I can understand that.
What are your hobbies? I am talking about how you like to spend your free time.
Well it used to be reading only. I read a book a day sometimes. Now it is writing. I have immersed myself into my one love from childhood which is writing although I read all the time I was allowed and not shoved out the door to play. Reading took me out of my unhappy life.
Any dreams for the future?
I would love to be a published writer and still keep blogging and advocating for mental health.
Drawing from all the experience you have gathered over the years, what advice do you have for young girls about life, work and marriage?
Life: live it to the fullest. Don’t let others or fear, stop you from trying. I missed out on a lot of good things in life.
Work: learn a career, not just any job. Find that career job where you can support yourself. You can’t always count on a man. I did and it left me broke and struggling.
Marriage: don’t settle! Wait for the man who is going to love you and respect you and be there for you. Never, ever settle. That was one of my biggest mistakes.
Any message to your followers on WordPress?
To my followers, I want to say thank you for following me, thank you for being there when I stumble and even fall, and most of all thank you for being my friends and family. I love our community.
Once again, thank you for accepting to be the guest of Success Inspirer.
I am honored and thank you for having me.
Teresa Elizabeth Smeigh lives in Deptford, NJ in the USA. You can visit her blog at https://tessacandoit.wordpress.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.