MPW.71 / 2019 Home, Complicated by Gemina Garland-Lewis
Gemina Garland-Lewis Seattle, Wash.
Team Lee

Story Summary

Brayden Brown, 21, lives a complicated life. Raised in Boonville, she left Missouri for a few months after high school before returning to her hometown. To her, this is a place filled with painful yet powerful relationships. Though she talks about going to college and getting a job in California someday, for now she works overnights at the local Wal-Mart and cleans her grandmother’s house on her days off for extra income. She uses what she earns to support herself and her fiancé, Chase Jackson, 20, who has been unemployed in recent months but will begin work in the coming days.

Brayden lives with anxiety and depression following a traumatic car crash in high school. By staying in Boonville and close to family, she feels more secure in her struggles with mental health. In keeping with an artistic streak in her family, she paints with acrylics when she has the motivation, sharing with her family the artwork she’s made over the years.

The aftermath of her parent’s recent divorce has left her living in the tension of a fractured family confronting addiction, recovery, and forgiveness. Though she spends her time in a number of houses around town to see family throughout the week, she always returns to her apartment with Chase, who will be ready to leave Boonville when she is. “I honestly don’t know what keeps me going,” she says, “I think it’s the fear of disappointing people.”