Chianna Mimieux (Pronounced: shee – AH – nuh mi – MYOO)
Blonde. Brunette. Strawberry. The color of her hair is as inconstant as her frame of mind. To describe her appearance is an attempt to describe her personality – and that changes from day to day. Her stature is overall unimpressive at 5’2” – small, thin, mousy – but only sometimes. When her mind reels, her stance changes, her face hardens, and she is anything but mousy-looking. Her irises are a cold mixture of green, grey, and blue and are more often than not outlined by shadows from insomnia-driven nights. Some days, her high sunken cheek bones only serve to exaggerate her mostly tired appearance. Other days, they aid in elegantly outlining her face when she smiles, which frequently comes and goes. Some would call her beautiful. Others would sooner dismiss her, if not for her appearance, then for her less than stable psyche…
How do you describe the personality of a psychosis patient? She is what her mind tells her to be – but not in the way you or I experience it. The average human acts based on his/her own personality. Chianna has hundreds to choose from – not that she has dissociative personality disorder – no, that’s not her malady. Rather, she has hundreds of voices
to choose from. On saner days, she will revert to her “normal” self, the self that society approves of. “Sane Chianna” is brave, but not reckless; amicable, but not outgoing; cooperative, but not a pushover. Unfortunately, however sane she may appear, she is rarely – if ever – level-headed. Logic is subjective. And so is reality.
Chianna’s first memories of life were of Paris. Whether or not she was actually born in Paris, she did not know. What happened to her parents and her alleged brothers is still unknown. However, it did not matter what had happened to them. To Chianna, she was simply something her parents had left behind. For a while, she did not care. She only knew of the existence within her aunt and uncles’ home. Her aunt and uncle, Emmanuelle and Marcel Mimieux, were respectable and generous people. They loved her like one of their own. Chianna appreciated this and got along well enough with her cousins: Max, Denis, and Daniel. She didn’t even know if they were her real cousins.
Time was nothing to Chianna. It passed without notice. She went to school, completed her housework, and her piano and voice lessons, she patiently sat with the family. Then she did it all over again. Her primary school days were dry and uneventful. It was difficult to care when reality felt the way it did to her – disconnected. There was no doubt in her puzzled mind that she sensed the world differently from her peers. However, she was not always friendless. It began with one friend: Adrienne. Chianna had been sitting by herself at the free period of her arts school when she was 14 years old. Most of the other classmates gave Chianna a wide birth. They were not directly hostile toward her. They simply left her alone. Adrienne, however, came up to her and began talking to her. At first, Chianna was confused at the unwarranted friendliness, but she came to embrace it. Not a day went by after that when Adrienne and Chianna did not hang out with each other.
Then came more. Adrienne soon brought her boyfriend along: Jean. He had many friends, something that had always puzzled Chianna. How could one person know so many people that liked him back? She gradually absorbed herself into this large group of people: Adrienne, Jean, Chris, Luc, Marion, Gerard, Shosanna… So many people. So many friends. At 16 years of age, Chianna was never happier.
But it was all a lie.
Her aunt and uncle had become worried about Chianna, but she had trouble understanding why. Her aunt would start trembling whenever she listened to Chianna’s accounts of her outings with friends. They had never met her friends nor would they ever have the chance to. They made an appointment with a doctor. To humor them, Chianna went. She sat in a small room in a soft chair and talked with the doctor.
The diagnosis was schizophrenia.
Two sessions a week for two years. Chianna met with this doctor and talked about her “friends.” In time, she too realized that they had never been real. There was only her. There had only ever been just her
. The sensations she had felt, the voices she had been conversing with, did not exist.
Nothing helped. Medication either made the delusions worse or made her physically ill. Therapy only irritated her and often ended in Chianna toppling furniture and ripping books from the shelves. One violent session resulted in a broken window and a bruise on the doctor’s shin.
At 18, when the rest of the Mimieux’s were out, Chianna packed her things and left without notice and only leaving a note expressing her appreciation of their hospitality, but she could no longer live in their house. She worked menial jobs ranging from waitress to cabaret singer. Her voice wasn’t especially strong, but she made a meager living off of it at times. Her personal life was frantic, going through boyfriend after boyfriend, rarely emotionally bound. When she grew tired, she moved on.
When times were hard – and when her mind encouraged her to – she found herself in La Zone Foncée, selling herself to otherwise undesirable characters in filthy alleyways. Her names varied: Coco, Mimi, Chia… Names her childhood “friends” had called her. She lived like this for a few years before miraculously landing a decent job at the Paris Opera House as a chorus singer.
Her life is without purpose, but she has managed to subdue the delusions, if only for minutes at a time. They are a part of her life. And at this point, she has learned that there is nothing she can do about it.
Chianna can speak basic English, something she learned as a waitress and to attract English-speaking tourists for a night of fun. Her vocabulary is rather limited, so she tends to stick to French whenever she can.