Katie's Story "Always Kept My Chin Up"

I won't lie, it feels strange to share my story with you guys about my life. I've been wanting to for months, but then I felt like it wasn't right, that my story wouldn't be worth your time. And then I got to thinking, 7 Billion Ones gives so many people hope (including myself) and I would like to help do that, too. So here goes my story.

randy bacon, 7 billion ones, katie altic

On January 25, 1996, I was born in Halfway, Missouri  to two wonderfully excited parents named Jim Altic and Mary Geary. Mom was too independent to take his last name. He was the volunteer fire chief and she helped when she could, both working at the convenience store they had built for the town.

Then on January 17, 2000 dad flipped his water tanker on the way to a mission, killing him instantly. A fellow firefighter brought us the bad news. Fast forward a year. The bank has taken our house due to the amount of debt my father left us in. We moved here to Springfield to escape the pain, because everyone most definitely knew everything in that small town. Mom had given into her demons and started drinking again. She started drinking a lot. As in two fifths of vodka each and every day, type of drinking. She didn't get out much, to say the least.

7 billion ones, randy bacon, katie altic

In the next few years I learned how to do the laundry, basic cooking, to set an alarm for myself and wake my mother up to take me to school. Between kindergarten and the third grade I was doing these things. For a year break I stayed with my half brother and his wife during the first grade while she tried to clean up, but that didn't last long.

January 21, 2005 our house caught fire due to a freak accident of a candle getting knocked onto our very dry Christmas tree. The Red Cross put us in the Lamplighter Inn for the night and gave me a teddy bear I still have to this day. The next day we returned to the scene to find everything ruined. Mom lost her mind and drove us to the hospital, where she checked herself in for a nervous breakdown. She promptly began having with only myself to help her. I screamed and doctors rushed in, shoving me out and trying to sedate her as she came to because she became very resistant to their help. I can still see the blood splatters across the room and on me after she ripped her IV out of her arm when they took me back to see her. My brother, Jimmie, and his wife, Angela, picked me up a few hours later after the staff had managed to calm mom down enough to watch a movie with me. I kissed my mother on the cheek and told her I'd be back first thing in the morning, then went home with Jimmie and Ang. She died in her sleep that night, her body being too pickled from the alcoholism and stressed to keep going. That was January 23, 2005.

7 billion ones, randy bacon, katie altic

Since then I lived with my brother and his wife, until they divorced when I was age 11. Their daughter and I went between their houses every week, her not knowing I was her aunt until I was in highschool. Since then I've been raped, assaulted and have had several health scares, including finding tumors in my chest. I've been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and am on the fast track to bipolar disorder due to my father carrying that gene.

But the whole point of me explaining all of this to you isn't so I could talk about the, for lack of a better word, shitty circumstances I've endured. It's so I could say that I wouldn't change a thing. That might sound crazy, and I probably am, but I've always kept my chin up. Always seen the silver lining. I've always been HAPPY, and I think that's an accomplishment in itself. I love the person I am because I'm strong. I'm peppy and cheerful and try not to let anything keep me down. Because of those experiences I've learned so much about the world. I want people to see that when bad things happen, that you can always learn from the situation and move forward.

7 billion ones, randy bacon, katie altic