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I have found a new hero.

Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to be someone that other people with a severe mental illness could look at and say, “If she can do it, I can do it.”

I read, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, when I was in my twenties, but I can tell you right now, that book didn’t sink in. Currently, my husband is reading me a chapter a night, and it is as if I have never heard the story before.

After reading our nightly chapter last night my husband asked, “How old is the boy in the book?”

“I think he is eight.” I said.

My husband grabbed his phone and I grabbed my tablet and we both started to flip through websites to find out the age of Chris, the narrator of the book’s, son.

“He’s nine.” My husband said.

While searching for Chris’ age, I came upon a piece of information that upset me.

“Oh my God, Chris was murdered.”

“What?” My husband asked.

“Chris was stabbed outside of a bar in San Francisco when he was in his early twenties.”

Normally, reading something like that will make it impossible for me to finish a movie, or book, or television series. For a while I was watching the series, Sons of Anarchy, and I accidentally found a spoiler on the Internet that the main character’s (Jax) wife, Tara, gets killed. Before finding that out, I had loved the series, I would spend my days in my room watching episode after episode. I stopped watching it, because I was so upset that the writers killed off one of my favorite characters. Tara was the most innocent character on the show, and she and Jax had fallen in love as teenagers, but she had broken his heart by moving away from their home town so she could go to school to become a doctor. I loved those two. Anyway, I haven’t watched it since I found out that in a future episode Tara would be killed.

So, last night when I read that Chris, the real life son of the author of the book, Robert Pirsig, was killed in a mugging when he was a young man, I almost said, “I can’t finish the book knowing his fate. I just can’t.”

But then I read something astonishing. It was there on a website along with the information about Chris…Robert Pirsig was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I will listen to the book as my husband reads it to me. I will read Pirsig’s other book, Lila, and I may read them both again another time.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has sold over five million copies since it first came out in the 70’s. It is the most widely read philosophical book of our time. The author has an IQ of 170 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I have a new hero to look up to, and I am filled with hope. Schizophrenia, be damned, there are people who have bashed your stigma to dust, and that can be easily wiped from my shoe.