I Was Broken
English Comp 123


M/W @ 3


1/10/04

Rough Draft
I don’t remember the details of the night; couldn’t tell you what the weather was like, or even the season. I do know it was night, as my room was dark and I was lying in bed and probably trying to sleep. I can also pinpoint my age to 10 years old, only because I recall thinking about how my stepmother had just moved out of the house for the second time, and how hard it was going to be to live alone with my Dad.


I was just lying there, thinking too much to sleep, and I had an epiphany. It came, clear as day, out of the muddy thoughts that usually clouded my mind when I was concentrating on sleep. It came in the form of a simple, three-word sentence that I then spent the next 15 years of my life analyzing.


“I am broken.”


We had just discussed Darwin and his theories of evolution and survival of the fittest at school; a pretty heavy topic for most fifth graders. I was in the Talented and Gifted class, and we were often privileged with information that our peers did not yet have access to. I learned about how all living beings were constantly changing, and how only the ones that made the best changes would survive to make copies of themselves. This ensured that their descendants, for generations to come, would have the best chance of not dying out as a species.


I realized that I was a broken human being, not programmed to want to live like most other animals are. I often did not care if I ate, slept, or felt loved, the typical basic requirements for living. Forget school, bathing, and other secondary issues; who cares about these things when you are sure you will not survive to see the age of 18?


To me, this meant that I was not programmed like other people; I was, in a sense, defective. Though not diagnosed or even discussed at the time, I had serious emotional issues and was often overtaken by bouts of depression, starting as early as the age of seven. I had had thoughts of suicide everyday, and I would often hurt myself, in the form of scratching or cutting my arms and legs, or pulling my hair out, in fits of rage and “self-expression.”


I wanted to hurt; I liked to hurt. It was a private affair for me, something that I did while in the woods at the forts that I built, or in my bedroom. I hid my sores and scars with long sleeves and pants, never wanting to be found out. It didn’t occur to me that people would worry about me if they saw the marks, I just didn’t want to explain why I was doing something that I was sure would get me into trouble.


I was “in trouble” a good amount of the time. I was never abused in the physical sense, and, in lucid moments, I felt guilty in knowing that I had no reason to be sad or angry toward the people who were trying as hard as they could to love and take care of me. My parents’ typical issues with me had to do with normal childhood issues; getting poor grades in school, not cleaning my room, etc. I never understood why these issues were even important, when I could self-destruct at any given moment. When I’m dead, who cares if I had good grades or made my bed everyday?


As a child, it is naturally difficult to communicate your feelings and needs to adults. As a child who is obsessed with putting herself out this world, it is impossible. I spent years after that epiphany trying to hide my “true self” from everyone, fearing that if they found me out, and realized that I was defective, they would stop treating me like a human being. I never tried to follow through on what exactly would happen to me, but the unknown consequences were enough to turn me into a very young pathological liar.


Obviously, I survived myself. I was fortunate in that my few attempts at dying did not succeed, and when I