“Broke.”

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Today I discovered I was more broken than I’d thought. That was interesting.

Self-esteem issues are boring, and I feel that talking about mine would be unnecessarily indulgent. Besides, I could just be PMS-ing. But to be serious, tonight I caught myself in a spiral of self-destructive behaviour – the same kind that I’d been in previously, more than twice – and I realised that some spring-cleaning was necessary. Some things had been taking up too much space in my closet, and they would have to go. I’d been keeping them, those broken, fiddly bits, because I did not have the stomach to throw them away, because I had been living with them for far too long.

This would have to change. It might get dusty, might make my eyes water for more than one reason, but the spring-cleaning was necessary.

Identifying the broken bits wasn’t easy. Sometimes I like the hurt and I like picking at scabs. Pain can be energising. Self-martyrdom can be gratifying. Sometimes, on long commutes I pull out tales of woe and relive them with revised outcomes, and that makes me feel a bit better. I was bullied and mocked when I was young, and for years I wrapped my outrage and aggression around my shoulders like a protective shawl. I practised stuffing my vulnerability, regret and fear under my shirt. These grew to be comfortable, and a part of my identity. I’m the one who some people owe something to. Injustice has been done to me!

But these weren’t going to fly anymore. Broken and hobbled wasn’t who I wanted to be, so the painful fixing would have to be done. What was that they say about the journey of a thousand steps? Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is already a hopeful start.

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