I was told one time that girls don’t play sports.
So I stood outside of grocery stores at 14 and sold pizza cards until I had the 3,000 dollars to play volleyball.
I was scoffed at one time when I said I wanted to study abroad.
“Good luck with that,” someone said.
So I stood outside of grocery stores again and sold banana bread until I had the 10,000 dollars to go.
I was told one time that I’m worthless.
So I kept running through life trying to find my worth.
I was told one time to grow up.
So I did just that at 16.
I was told one time that I’m a brainwashed punk.
So I kept reading.
I was told one time that I’m not worth investing in.
So the day I turned 24, I took out my own student loan.
I was told one time that I’m a disgrace.
So I wore it like a badge of honor.
I was told one time that I’m selfish.
So I read, The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my kids at the clinic, and learned how to play.
I was told one time that none of what I was once told was true.
I was told today, “I love you, Ms. Rebecca,” and I told the little girl that I loved her too.
I was told tonight that I’m worth it, and I smiled back at the mirror and said, “You’re right. I am.”
And so are you.
*Originally published on Elephant Journal.
Rebecca Donaldson is a confessional poet, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a PhD student in Positive Developmental Psychology. Her research interests include adverse childhood experiences, resiliency, narrative identity, and personality development across the lifespan. She writes on topics pertaining to psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, inequity, and the shamed soul with Borderline Personality Disorder. She believes therapy should be collaborative between client and therapist and writes to advocate for improved treatment for clients with BPD, complex PTSD, and DID. For her, writing is a medium of self-expression in which she can be open, honest, and reflective about the mud in her life and the flowers which grow from it. She attempts to be raw with the world as she is with her friends and disowns all labels of mental illness. She is a human being, a researcher, and a dancer of Brazilian Forrô.