From the June 2011 magazine.

A Solitary Swimmer

After a childhood of solitary pursuits, she became a secret drinker

I always felt different, an outsider in a family of outsiders. I was adopted as an infant. My one brother was also adopted as well as my mother. Being adopted made me angry. As a small girl, I ripped my clothes off when my mother tried to dress me. I often had tantrums, the down-on-the floor screaming and kicking kind. Mom had to lock me in my room for fear of hurting me. Before seatbelts and car seats, I once tried to leap out of a moving car.

I did not lack for material comforts. My dad was a businessman and my mother stayed at home. I had everything I could possibly want or need. I was very lucky in this respect. I loved art, books and tennis: all solitary endeavors. I excelled in swimming. Water was a place I could hide from the world and be alone. Dad wanted me to train for the Olympics, but mom felt this was no life for a young girl. I was painfully shy and remember sometimes going days without speaking. I liked to run away from home with only a small suitcase packed with my favorite doll. I wandered off from the public beach one summer day and my parents had to call the police to find me.

-- Nancy L.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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