Girls Like Me

kb-icelandThe other day, my parents were talking in the kitchen. My dad said that maybe they were too critical of me when I was growing up. He said that maybe kids ought to be praised more. My mom said that they might have been critical but I turned out okay, that I’m a good person anyway. I just felt like crying. Because there were many times when things didn’t turn out okay.

Things didn’t turn out okay when I used to abuse alcohol in high school and college with guys who it turns out were not my friends, and to this day I still have self-destructive urges to get so fucking faded I start telling everyone my writing is meaningless crap. I guess it’s okay that I have good values. I believe that love should win. I believe in equal rights and social justice. And I believe all this because I don’t want any girl to grow up the way I did. Feeling like I didn’t matter. Because it wasn’t okay that I used to wish I hadn’t been born. And that I hadn’t been born a girl.

Because in my family, when I was growing up, girls needed to be controlled and protected so they wouldn’t be bad or make mistakes or have feelings. Because there would be consequences. Like mothers who blamed you for being such a bad girl you almost caused them a heart attack, or slapped you across the face for talking back with SARCASM, or called you a bitch in heat, or threw you out of the house because you wouldn’t break up with your fabulously eventual ex-boyfriend. When I was growing up, girls who wrote in their diaries that they dreamed about kissing a boy were told they were malicious and ought to be ashamed of themselves. Have you no shame? their mothers screamed.

Girls like me, do you remember those times? If you’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, and it’s not your fault. You deserve the best. You deserve to shine. And you will always deserve better.

Because, girl, you matter.