This Photographer Captured the Struggle and Beauty of Her Sister’s Mental Illness
A devastating brain disorder upended Christy’s life. But she still shows us how to live with grace and laughter.
Photos by Jenny Cordle
Growing up, my sister Christy, who is eight years older than me, never left the house without her hair and makeup done flawlessly. All of her clothes had to match perfectly with her lipstick. She set the bar for me in terms of appearance, perpetuating notions of how to achieve Southern beauty. She certainly didn’t fit my childish ideas of what a disabled person looked like. I thought our only differences were her incessant ticks and fidgeting.
School was hard for Christy, academically and socially. For years in high school, girls threw the contents of her purse into the toilet, pushed her around, called her stupid and a whore. Once, some girls even threatened to stab her with a metal fingernail file. She left school in the eleventh grade and began to show signs of what was to come.
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