Growing up in the 80s and 90s, watching technology explode around us, led me to feel very disposable. There is always a newer, faster, better, shinier thing out there. A newer, faster, better, shinier girl who could take my place. Live Barbie’s Dream Life. A girl who isn’t broken like me. Who doesn’t need to be managed so carefully. Who doesn’t fall apart so easily. Who can stand firmly on her own two, permanently flexed for hot pink pumps, feet. A decidedly better version of me surely exists. Why would you keep blowing the dust out of that Nintendo cartridge when you could just get a Play Station? No one plays fucking Duck Hunt anymore anyway. I don’t know where she is, this well-adjusted, fully functional Kelly. Probably on Pinterest.
That’s the thing though, no one fixes anything anymore. You just buy new shit to replace the broken, worn out, old shit. You fuck it up, you throw it out and start over. We do it with people. My mom does it with husbands and boyfriends. My dad did it with his kids. That’s how asylums were invented. Fucked up people are more than we want to deal with. So, we warehouse them and ignore them, rather than attempt to help them. I’ve always been acutely aware of how my own inability to cope has affected those around me. Much of my so-called therapy as a child was centered on teaching me how to behave appropriately so others would feel comfortable in my presence. No one cared what made me that way, they just wanted to make me presentable. But like my father so eloquently puts it, you can’t shine shit.
I’ve known since I was six years old that no one is coming to save me. I have to save myself or die trying. There are days when I am smack in the middle of the tunnel. I can’t see either end, it’s pitch black and dead silent. But I know that it’s a tunnel. There is an end, even if I can’t see it.
I’ve spent 30 years believing I was too broken to be fixed. And then one day, a therapist said something to me. Something I could not ignore or rationalize. Something I had perhaps wanted to believe but had never had the courage to consider. You were a brilliant child, she said. And no one took care of you. Not one single person who should have loved you and protected you did. And yet, here you sit, still alive. Because you are brilliant, and you kept yourself alive.
I want you to consider that. Here you sit. Still alive. Because you kept yourself alive. Because you, yes, you, are brilliant.