as a kid you ask yourself “if my own family doesn’t want me, why would anyone else?” maybe not in those exact words or maybe it’s not a single clear-cut thought in your head. but you take on that belief. without realizing it or not. when you don’t have family, when your own parents don’t care for you, you feel like you’ve done something wrong. you grow up with that. you grow up feeling like you’re wrong and you’ve done something wrong
if the people that are supposed to love you don’t
the people that are supposed to care about you and for you don’t
what does that mean about you? what does that say? you can’t comprehend it all as a child, but you take on the belief that you’re a burden. you aren’t worth anyone’s time. because these people, these people that are bound to you, don’t see you as valuable. you have to work for their affection constantly, but even then, what’s the point? the approval isn’t constant. the love isn’t unconditional. you’ll get five seconds of head patting and a hug, but those don’t matter when your mother walks out the door and doesn’t come back until you’re talking full sentences. those don’t matter when you don’t know your own father and have to rely on pictures to see what he looked like. he looks nothing like you. that’s probably why he didn’t want you, you think, not as clearly and coherently, but you do. it seems silly now. but that’s what you believe, as a child. you try to rationalize, even at a young age. and it’s so much easier to take the blame. it makes sense to take the blame. why would it be anyone else’s fault? it’s yours. somehow, it is. little baby you, that couldn’t even speak, couldn’t even sit up, couldn’t feed yourself, did something wrong. you’re wrong. something about you is wrong, wrong, wrong.
other kids have parents that pick them up from school. other kids have parents that come to their assemblies for school. other kids have parents that throw them birthday parties, pick them up from sleepovers. other kids have parents. you don’t. you did something wrong. you weren’t worthy. you couldn’t even speak, couldn’t even form sentences, but you were unworthy.
and it was your fault, somehow, always. your fault. you felt guilt. you felt anger. you tried to shrink yourself, break yourself, snip away and stitch and piece together things that you felt were right, that would make you more appealing, that would make you into something that someone would see as worth more than a five second glance or a pat on the back. that would make you right. you didn’t want to be wrong. wrong wasn’t what anyone would want, you knew that from experience.
if your own parents didn’t want you, why would anyone else? it seems ridiculous to think that, now, part of you knows that. but you shouldered that on your own for years. everyone leaves. you aren’t worth them staying. better luck next time, kid. here’s a sticker for effort. use it as a bandaid to cover a scrape on your knee while watching someone’s mother rush to them to help while they fell several feet away. get up on your own. dust yourself off. wipe the blood with your own sleeve. don’t cry. you’re on your own. move on.
you’re older, now. years have gone by. you still feel that itch, you still hear that little voice in you saying that you’re wrong, no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re doing anything at all. you’re wrong for trying. wrong for not trying. you can’t win.
you challenge that, though. that voice, that mass of negativity looming over your shoulder, that thing that sunk its claws so deep into you for years and was the only constant you had through people turning their backs on you. it had been all you had. it was always right. why would anyone else want you? why would anyone care? why do you think you’re worthy of anything at all? time? space? happiness?
and one day, you just tell that voice to shut up. shut the fuck up, more accurately. and that part of you is stunned. because you never fight back, you always nod, tilt your head downwards, look ashamed as the guilt floods in. but this time, you don’t.
you fight back. you clench your fists. you turn and walk away, and that part of you doesn’t follow.
because you’re not wrong.
you, as a person, are not wrong.
you can make wrong choices, say the wrong things, do something wrong. that’s bound to happen. everyone does. mistakes are a given in life.
but your existence isn’t wrong.
you being alive isn’t wrong.
you as a person aren’t wrong.
you aren’t wrong.
and you’re tired of feeling like you are by breathing, by trying, by being you.
you aren’t wrong.
someone not wanting you doesn’t make you wrong, someone not being there to kiss you goodnight isn’t wrong. it’s nothing you could control. it’s not your fault. you were a child. you deserved better. it feels weird (wrong) to say that, but you can say it, admit it, recognize it, and that’s more than you could ever do before.
you’re not wrong.
you are who you are.
you have a whole life ahead of you. it’s yours. it belongs to no one else. this is for you. this is yours. take care of yourself. you deserve (another uncomfortable, strange, unfamiliar word, thought, feeling) it.
you do what’s right for you.
you’ve made mistakes.
you’ll make mistakes.
you won’t always feel confident, feel okay.
but you, a person, are not a mistake.
you being alive isn’t wrong.
you being alive was never wrong."