Dead Inside: They tried to break me. This is the true story of how I survived – By Cyndy Etler – I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the staff at Straight. I was thirteen when I ran away from my abusive home. After a month in a shelter for kids–the best month of my childhood–my mother heard about Princess Di and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s visit to this place that was working miracles with troubled teens. Straight Inc., it was called.