In an excerpt posted exclusively on ABCNEWS.com, Anne Heche chronicles stories of pain and redemption, hurt and healing. The memoir — Call Me Crazy — comes from an actress whose private life and personal choices have made her a household name. Read the excerpt below.
EXCERPT — Prologue
I stood at the top of the staircase. It was old, more than a hundred years, I was told when we moved there. It was white as I remember and the railing unsturdy even for a child of six to hold on to. But I didn't hold. I stood, always in a white summery nightgown that had been passed down by my sister or cousin and was probably hand-sewn with a ruffle around the bottom. My breath was silent as I inhaled, closed my eyes, held out my arms, and leapt. I landed on the stair beneath the top, but I landed on my toes. I had floated, from one step to another. But I wasn't satisfied. I marched up that one step to the top and began again. A breath, eyes closed, arms out and…go. Three steps down this time. No trouble, no pain. Sweet. Bliss. A loss of my tiny body held by the air as I floated. I asked myself if it could be real, if it were true. Was this really happening to me? I climbed three steps back to the top and decided to dive in. My breath was stronger on the inhale, my eyes closed tighter with the agony of this needing to be true, my arms powerful in their angelic pose, up and out to the sides. And then I leapt. With all my might. Up, up, and away. Weightless. Free abandon. It wasn't that long of a ride, but long enough. As I felt the landing at the bottom coming toward me, I easily touched down. Toe by toe until I was on solid ground again. Would anyone ever believe that I could actually fly?
Chapter One: The Great Escape
I ran away at two and a half. I only found out — or I should say remembered — this fact of my life after many years of therapy and rebirths and any other measure I could take to get myself up and out of the insanity I was living in until … well, until not so long ago. I'm now thirty-one, turning thirty-two on May 25. I'm a Gemini, but it was not my birth sign that made me the way I was. I wasn't born with it either. I had to learn to be crazy.
"Mom?" I said into the phone while sitting at my kitchen table years after I ran. I was in my midtwenties and feeling heartsick over having to forgive her again. I had already done it so many times. "Mom?"
She spoke in an octave that made me cringe. The tone of her voice had raised over the years with guilt, I imagine. The closer I got to the truth, the higher the octave got in her voice.
"Just so you know, before I tell you what I'm about to tell you, I don't blame you for any of it."
I thought I heard a high-octave squeak on the other end of the line, but that may have been a projection or a mouse in the wall. I didn't have mice.
I had chewed off the already-chewed nails on my fingers and they were most likely starting to bleed. I had a "problem," which she used to scold me for.
"Nail biting is not a very ladylike thing to do, Anne. It's unattractive."
I always wondered why people didn't look beyond the spotted bloody clumps to think that there was something hidden there, perhaps family secrets, perhaps pain.
"Are you biting your nails, young lady?"
"Of course not, Mom. You heard me, right? I don't blame you for any of this?"
"Any of what, honey?"