When I first met Shayla– was it four years ago?– she had bright neon pink hair and was super quiet and shy. I pegged her as a Type 4 right off the bat. She moved into the White Gables townhouse complex we managed, and she was a really great neighbor. Quiet and considerate and easy to have a casual chat with, and I liked her quite a lot.
She was so shy, that at first I rarely heard from her. We had a couple of apartment-wide gatherings for dinners, cookouts, and bonfires, and she would join in and hardly say a word. Eventually, though, she warmed up and she and I started talking. She confirmed her Enneatype when she began telling her rather tragic life story…
Shayla was kidnapped at age 16 by a Mexican cartel for sex trafficking from her home in Mississippi. She was enslaved in prostitution for 4 years or so, then escaped with a friend who was also taken. The friend was 're-acquired' and murdered, Shayla said. Eventually, Shayla ended up in Kentucky with her parents and got a G.E.D. and then she went to Portland to go to college at Reed.
Here, you can see how sweet a face she has. And her voice is soft and high as well, she always came across as an extremely gentle spirit.
Her life was pretty crazy through her 20s, and then she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Type 1– with bad manias) and the medication she was put on made her gain a lot of weight, which she was embarrassed about. But it was handling the fear of being found by the cartel again, or an ex boyfriend, and dealing with PTSD from her earlier sex slavery that really was difficult, she said.
However, there were times when her stories just didn't quite jibe. For several months, she would claim she was going out to help other girls escape the cartel, and she kept getting caught and raped again by the gang members– but then released without any obvious marks or her money being taken or anything. I might believe that such a thing happened ONCE, but 3 or 4 times!?!? What person would keep putting themselves in jeopardy like that, let alone someone supposedly horrified they'd be caught again? Then to have no black eye or ANYthing!?!?!
Color me skeptical.
And her emotional tone was off a little as well when she told me of these things, as if she was fishing for sympathy. My instincts said she was setting up a con, because aspects of what she said reminded me of my father setting up a mark. But for what?! I didn't have any money to give her and all I did was listen when she softly wept about her trevails.
But I swallowed my skepticism. I didn't believe her, but I didn't actively DISbelieve her, either. She went through a period where she got extra quiet and depressed and I looked in on her a couple of times and she said she was VERY depressed. She was on some strong meds, and I asked her outright if she was feeling suicidal and she said yeah– so for 3 months or so until her new meds kicked in, I kept her stash of meds at my place and she only got enough for one day (and she took half of it in front of me.) Later, she said I saved her life by volunteering to intervene. I was just doing the decent thing, which I would hope anyone would do.
Things got better and she and I began going out to walk at a local walking trail 2 or 3 times a week. I found that I talked far more than she did– and it made me uncomfortable. But I shrugged– we were friendly neighbors helping one another out and that was just fine. Shayla was a super sweet person, timid almost to the point where I felt uncomfortable for her. Because of this, I was always very careful never to step on her toes or take advantage. She came across as someone who could be all too easily rolled over, and I wasn't about to let that happen!
Of course, later, after I moved and started going through the divorce, she began weaning herself off most of her medication– supposedly with medical supervision, but I really don't know. She had a few, odd, out of character bitchy moments, but I didn't concern myself too much. Then, last November, though I asked her repeatedly if it was okay that she drove me to therapy once a week, and she kept insisting it was “fine” because she “loved to drive”– she then abruptly sent me emails telling me I was taking advantage of her and subtly insinuated that I needed to pay her a LOT more money or else… I was all, “What? I don't have it right now.”
Then she dumped my ass!
I don't know to this day if Shayla is a good person off her medication, or a part-time con artist who was just always angling with me to get money (since I always overpay friends for rides and such and did so with her whenever she drove me anywhere) and then saw there was no more to be had, OR a combination who was basically decent but a little selfish and who at least exaggerated for sympathy. I just don't know, and I don't think I ever will. I was upset with her for a few days, but then all my friends stepped forward and helped me out and I was perfectly okay without Shayla's assistance. I'll probably always scratch my head over her, because WTF happened there!?
An interesting character, regardless, right?