For as long as I can remember, adults were trying to diagnose me with something.
Even when I was in elementary school, as low as 1st grade, teachers told my mother that I was likely suffering from ADHD or Autism or something of the like. In hindsight, I DO have autism (and very likely I also have adhd, but there’s neither here nor there), but that isn’t the point. The point is that people were always trying to explain me instead of accept me. I “wasn’t like the other children”, and so thus I warranted explanation. My behavior warranted explanation. Somehow being different, in any sort of way, was tantamount to being a traitor to my country. Exiled from my own peers, often by my own peers even, and with no fair trial whatsoever. I guess that’s America for you, though, especially the american school system.
Now, as an adult myself, I’m told daily to revel in my differences. Now my peers are a community of acceptance, and whenever I even remotely acknowledge problems with myself, someone will make me feel bad for that too. So, feel bad for being different as a kid, and now feel bad for feeling bad for feeling different as an adult. Alright then. But what nobody ever seems to think about is what if I literally cannot revel in my differences? What if someone has been broken down so much that they cannot rise above their negative experiences in life, the bad life lessons they took in about themselves via others? What about those people? I think all the time how I will finally get better, put my issues about me behind me, and learn to like the things that make me who I am, and who I’m NOT.
But I don’t know that I can, at least, not fully. And I think we should accept that about people too. We push so many stories out about people who’ve ‘recovered’ from their trauma or overcome their ‘disabilities’ as if they’re something to overcome in the first place, but perhaps we should also just accept that some people are just…indefinitely sort of broken? I feel like every goddamned week I see some new “woke” article praising someone overcoming the things that broke them as children or hurt them as adults, and we share these articles on social media without even thinking so much as, “Wait, why would someone break another person to begin with?” We never actually ask the question of how they got to that breaking point, or how they started recovering, we just are happy they’ve “recovered”, because I guess, now, they’re useful to society as an example to other broken people, a lot of whom can’t recover in the first place, so to see those articles while scrolling their news feed could be rather damaging to their already fragile psyche.
I’m not telling people to stop trying to recover. I’m not telling people who have recovered to not be proud that they have. But I AM saying that perhaps, for those people who are so damaged beyond repair and yet still manage to get through every single day with that mindset, we should acknowledge them too, simply for still being here. Simply for continuing on. God knows it is so hard to wake up every single day and find purpose, I grapple with my lack of reason for being every minute that I am awake, but I still do it, and isn’t that worth applauding? Do we have to reserve our praise for only those we deem have earned it, and not the people who’ve still, somehow, despite all the years of feeling bad and doing poorly, managed to survive? Sounds like bullshit to me. Start appreciating the people who are broken and yet keep living. Those are the strongest people.
A lot of people can recover.
Not everyone can live being broken, though.
I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I’ve done, like my 2015 novel “You Ruined Everything”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my feed over at Ello. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip , buy prints/stickers and more at my online store on Big Cartel, or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!