I was seventeen before I knew what it felt like to be thought of as wasted space. My childhood was void of violence or abuse. My early teenage years were no doubt rough, but manageable. It wasn’t until adulthood was within my sights that I first truly felt like a burden to everyone. And by everyone, I do mean everyone: the world and its people. For a while, I was convinced that I had absolutely nothing to offer.
I wasn’t suicidal. I know it may read that way, but ending my own life never crossed my mind. True, I had no fear of dying, but it was never going to be by my own hand. I was and still am far too much of a coward to do such a thing. I’ve never thought of the suicidal as weak or cowardly; I see them as tired.
With no purpose and no consideration of finding a way out, I more or less sat around in anguish, upset at my soul and confused by my own existence. There was no way I mattered. I was one of seven billion humans. I would never truly know even the smallest fraction of those people, and most of them would never know of my life or my death. But that wasn’t what triggered my first darkness. It didn’t matter to me what I mattered to the masses; I only needed to matter to one person.
I was extremely careful in choosing this person. I was and still am guarded, now even more so than before. Few people stuck around long enough to stand a chance to be my person. Even fewer people would step up and take that chance. Only one would finally dig deep enough to find the power to ruin me.
He wore shoes like mine and walked with a cute, clumsy gait. His chocolate eyes glowed warm and the skin around them crinkled softly when he smiled at me. His arms were long and often warm, and his square chin fit perfectly over the top of my head when we hugged. But it wasn’t just those things. He wasn’t afraid to push. He didn’t hesitate to ask. He never shied away from my anger. He wasn’t scared or nervous to stand in my shoes in the most sincere attempts to understand me. That’s why he was the one. Whether he ever understood or not, he genuinely tried to, and that was all the proof I needed to know that I mattered to at least one other person.
Why then, is this a sad story? Because my person turned around to catch his breath and admire the world, and in the process, found another someone needing to be saved. It flipped a switch somewhere because nothing was ever the same after that. Suddenly, he wasn’t mine or hers or the next girl’s; he was a savior. He wanted to be everyone’s hero. And I was just evidence that had to be swept away. I was proof of strayed faith and of feeling lost.
I began to understand that he saw me as a first draft. I was simply an idea to model a masterpiece after. And although I was a crucial step in his craft, I was more mistakes than anything else. Once this was realized, I couldn’t convince myself of my worth. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting someone else’s smudges and eraser shavings when there was finished art out there and up for grabs as well. Wasted space. I was a messy discarded piece taking up room where something lovely should have been instead. I was seventeen years old thinking I had nothing to offer and that no one else would ever understand the chicken scratch scars that once lived on my heart as blueprints for a masterpiece.