I grew up believing I was worthless. Not because that’s what I’d always been told, but because that’s what I’d always witnessed.
My brother started cutting when he got to high school, so I always thought that was the thing to do. My mom was always pinching her stomach and skipping meals and my dad was always drinking so I figured that if I liked how I looked and how I felt, something was wrong with me.
When I was just a kid I decided that I was put on this earth for one reason: to help others get out alive. I never thought I’d make it too far and I never thought I should bother with myself.
I got A’s in school to make my parents smile, learned to play video games with the guys to keep my brother company, stayed up until 3 am to listen to a complete stranger rattle off the reasons they wanted to die.
I watched one friend die and another try before I discovered that happiness was essential to survival. I guess living wasn’t anything I was ever too concerned with until I was standing over a little girl, six feet under the earth with no future left over.
Now here I am, the day before I turn 18, and I’ve just noticed for the first time that I’m a compassionate, generous, and selfless little girl with wide eyes and an even wider heart. I know nothing of the real world yet because I’ve always just lived life how I was taught. I’ve always been told that I’m beautiful and intelligent and all sorts of good words I never believed because I never wanted to.
It’s okay to be happy. Maybe I’ve just started to understand that for the first time since I witnessed life any other way.