Thursday, March 31, 2011

Come Home City Girl

Come Home City Girl
            She may have been excited the day she received her acceptance letter to the University of Georgia, but she never would have known what bumpy road lie ahead in front of her.  Meredith Menneg an outgoing city girl drove up to Athens that one sun shiny day as an incoming freshman to UGA.  She had friends, an adoring family that supported her and, of course, most of her life packed in the back seat of her car.  Yet something happened after a while, there was a swift change in the air and she started to crumble one day. 
She went on to tell that her greatest achievement to date is “having the courage and strength to get help for my eating disorders”.  A year and a half ago a student at UGA she found herself always being very unhappy.  She hadn’t made any new friends, her grades started to suffer and she ended an eight year friendship with two girls who were her best friends.  Breaking up with her two best friends was her biggest regret in life, in that she wishes she would have done it sooner.  Help is what she needed and help from doctors is what she got.  She was diagnosed with depression, anorexia, bulimia and a memory eating disorder (where you over eat on foods you tie back to happy memories).  Finally she decided to  sit down with her family and make a statement that she needed help.  As soon as the semester was over and she could pack up her life again, she moved back to Atlanta, immediately sought help, and is now on the road to a successful recovery. 
Surprisingly, when she was about eight years old she had a near fatal accident which would lead to no trips to Six Flags or any amusement parks for the rest of her life.  She went to a small little carnival, the ones that you can find out at your local K-Mart parking lot every once in a while.  Well you know how those usually turn out, and well for Meredith she just so happened to be at the right place at the wrong time.  She described it as a Pepto-Bismol colored roller coaster that was full of adventure and excitement.  Yet, twenty feet down to the ground lay a bruised and hurt little girl.  She said the yell from her mother and the dead silence of the world was something that she’d never forget.  The fall left her pretty banged up, and to this day will never ride one again.  Her mother took care of her after the accident, and she thanks her for that every day.  She admires her mom the most especially since the divorce of her parents a few years back.  Her mom sort of went to being her own type of unique person, one that she could look up to. 
Meredith kept talking to me about things that meant the most to her.  Her most treasured possession is her dog Mischa.  Mischa is a year and a half black lab/border collie/pit bull mix and she is the true love of her life.  The dog arrived in her life when she was at her worst moments at UGA, when that eye of the storm was trying to pass over her life.  She is one of the only reasons she is not in a rehabilitation center right now. She completely caught me off guard when she told me this story about her dog.   
“She has saved my life in more ways than one.  One night she was restless and wouldn’t let me sleep.  I took her out because I figured she had to go to the bathroom, but as it turns out my roommate left her flat iron on and it had started a small fire on the carpet...I had no idea but Mischa wouldn’t let me sleep until I put it out.  I got up saw the fire and we ran out in terror. ”
Her dog had got her through more things than we can ever understand.  Her dog indeed makes her happy, but for perfect happiness she wants to be happy for herself.  Not happiness for herself but to take that happiness and find someone to share it with for the rest of her life.   She described her current state of mind as “I am happy where I am in life so far but I know I have so much more to go.  I have a lot of dreams and goals for myself and I know I am my own worst critic.  I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself but I know in the end it will produce a lot of great things for me.” 
Her mother is now one of her biggest inspirations.  She is inspired everyday to follow the footsteps of her mom and to succeed through life as she has.  “I believe in Meredith and believe that she can overcome anything now.”  Meredith almost gave up but through the power of a strong woman like her mother there is no way she’s going to give up easy this time.  “I saw her through her darkest days when she was in Athens, and at night I would just lie awake in bed wondering if I was going to get a call that she was gone.  This went on for months until she came to me with happy tears in her eyes saying that she weren’t going to let me down and that her life was more precious now than ever.  Yet I think she owes it all to her dog Mischa.”
The story doesn’t end there.  When she finally got back into school at Georgia State she quickly became friends with a girl named Sarah Humphrey.  As they adventured through studies and fun social times, Meredith became wrapped up in the life that she had always wanted.  She got a new job bartending and making A’s in all of her school work.  Sarah never knew the story of her past until just a few months ago.  “I was shocked.  In fact I was just speechless and almost broke out in tears.  To know that someone was so far on the edge that they could have just ended it all really hit me deep.  I don’t know what I’d do without her in my life and I feel honored and pray every day that I’m just a much a part of hers.”
Since she has already experienced the ups and downs of her young life she just wants herself and the people around her to appreciate what they’ve done for her and what she has done for them.  “I will do anything for my friends and family and it means the world to me to see them smile because of some small gesture that I did.”  Meredith continues to grow as a better person everyday and hopes to never fall into the darkness that once took over her life.  The goal of happiness is something she reaches out with open arms every day.

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