“Mom, do you have to tell everyone you’re bipolar?” Kristie asked me once after we left a luncheon.
“I mean, you just waltz right in and say, ‘Hello, I’m LeeAnn Jefferies, and I’m bipolar.’”
Her voice held both a strange hint of humor and embarrassment.
“Well, I am,” I exclaimed without a note of apology. “I’m LeeAnn Jefferies, and I’m bipolar. I’m not ashamed of it …” (Because that’s what they want, you know. They want you to be ashamed.)
Kristie shook her head. That girl won’t do, and she knows I won’t either. She loves me, and I love her, too, so even in times like that, we’re all right.
I rose from my desk at Carolina Talent and headed for the bathroom to wash my hands, but the phone rang again before I could get two feet away. I exchanged a look with Miss Eyebrow Tweezers; she knew I was just a bundle of nerves sitting in my cubicle, and she also knew what that one phone call could mean for me.
I whirled around and answered the call with my usual flare. From the other end, I heard a decidedly un-Southern voice.
“Patty Sicular for Randy Mottsinger,” it said.
Patty Sicular! Patty-This-Is-It-I’m-Gonna-Work- For-Ford-Sicular! And Lawd-a Mercy! She was fabulous even on the phone!
I put the call on hold before I realized I’d left out the “hold please while I transfer you to that extension” part of my shtick.
I jumped back on the call. “Hold please while I transfer you,” I said, trying to hold it all together. Trying to sound professional.
Oh, sweet Jesus. Jesus, my sweet Jesus. Please. Please, please … pretty please!
I pressed the red hold button with enough force to send the phone through the faux wood of my desk. I could see Randy through the glass walls of his office, not thirty feet from where I jumped up and down. “Ford on four! Ford on four!” I called out, as was our custom on the floor. I noticed a few people staring at me. I frowned at them; if they didn’t like it, they knew where they could go. Okay, Jesus. I don’t mean that. You know my heart. Yes, you do. Don’t hold that against me, now.
I waited for Randy to pick up and the red light on the phone’s display to stop its incessant blinking. I think I stopped breathing, but now I’m not sure.
Come on, Randy, don’t keep her waiting. It’s Patty from Ford, for pity’s sake!
Finally, the light went solid.
This is it. This. Is. It. I’m going to be a Ford Classic Model. I am, I am, I really am. First thing I’m gonna do is call Dr. Herlihy. He’s going to be so proud. He’s going to say, “I knew you could do it, Sister Jefferies. I always knew …”
I knew it, too. Pack your bags, LeeAnn, you’re a rising star!
And that weekend, I decided, wasn’t going to be filled with angst. No siree-bob! That weekend—no, the rest of my bittersweet life—was going to be fabulous!
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What opportunity have you dreamed about?
By LeeAnn Jefferies with Eva Marie Everson
In her decades-long modeling career, LeeAnn Jefferies represented such companies as Bobbi Brown, Avon, Princess Cruise Lines, Marks and Spenser, Modern Bride, and the Home Shopping Network. As an in-demand model for Ford Modeling Agency, she traveled the world and “rubbed elbows” with celebrities. But her greatest career accomplishment has been opening dialogue about Bipolar Disorder and its accompanying diagnoses, providing hope for millions. LeeAnn and her husband Kenneth make their home in North Carolina. They are the parents of two grown children and have been blessed with two grandchildren.
Eva Marie Everson was born and reared just outside of Savannah, Georgia, in the charming small town of Sylvania. She has a southern accent which gets a little more southern every time she crosses the Florida/Georgia state line. She loves hiking in the great outdoors and enjoys pushing herself to new heights, both physically and spiritually. Eva is an ex-nurse and a seminary graduate. She and her husband have been married since 1979 and have three of the greatest kids ever and the most amazing grandkids. When she’s not writing, she’s editing. When she’s not editing, she’s running Word Weavers International, an international membership group of writers who, using the art of critique, become iron sharpening iron. Eva is also one of the two directors of Florida Christian Writers Conference. She speaks at writers conferences across America and to women’s groups as well as to congregations.