CHAPTER FIFTEEN: DAMAGED GOODS

Word: “Damaged Goods” 

Adj: He felt like he was damaged goods, like he wasn't good enough.

Definition: That dark emotion that overrides the calming and positive thoughts of your inner self conscience. The overwhelming idea that the hurt and pain you’ve been through outweighs the positives and the strengths in your life.

As I sat there and reflected on everything from my past I was conflicted. I had always been afraid that people would think of me as damaged goods. The fear of being judged for your past, your present, and your future is a daunting thing and I’ve always had issues fully accepting that. Would someone not want to get to know me if they knew what I’d gone through? Would they just pity me? So I would hide behind this hard front and act like I was fine and it worked for a little while. But then it started eating me alive as my truth consumed me.

I’d constantly question why I hadn’t been good enough for particular people. Why bad things kept happening to me, but all that manifested were more bad things as all my energy was negative. I kept focusing on what was happening to me but stopped remembering that we are all human and that I’m not alone in the way I feel.

One night I woke up in a panicked sweat after a strange dream, and I started to put all the pieces together. With little flashbacks from my life to form one giant supercut, I started to see the bigger picture coming together. I began to embrace the idea that I was damaged goods because it romanticised the hardships and helped me find meaning in the bigger picture. “I am damaged goods, and that’s okay because I’m human and I feel” I told myself. But I also realised that we are all damaged goods and that’s okay too. We all go through ups and downs in life and experience trauma, heartbreak, and overcome challenges that make us question our own integrity. But it’s about learning, growing, and evolving from these trials to become the best version of ourselves. Sometimes it’s easier to give up and admit defeat instead of fighting for change. And we can become complacent at the best of times, but it’s important to get yourself out of that headspace.

I’ve learnt that while none of our stories may be exactly the same that we are all human and we all feel. We all thrive from human connection for validation and for growth. And we all experience trauma in some form. It’s when you learn to grow and adapt from this trauma that you give yourself the chance to be the best version of yourself. And by accepting that you may be damaged goods you’re learning to love yourself because you’re aware of your emotions. Deep down you know that you deserve better and you want to make that a reality.

Some people may look at reflecting on yourself as “damaged goods” as a negative thing and a step backwards, but maybe they are just worried about being vulnerable themselves. It takes a lot of strength to be that open, honest, and real. And to reflect on some of the memories you may unintentionally suppress. As humans we feel every emotion. Some feel more than others. Some feel less than others. And some just don't know what their feeling half the time. But one thing we all have in common is that to some degree we are all scared of what these feelings mean. My biggest fear is that people would look at me differently if they knew the details of my past and my mental health. I’m scared that people will judge me if they know the truth and it will stop them from wanting to have a relationship or friendship with me. It’s a legitimate fear that has been magnified from the microscope we have over our public lives because of social media. I’m constantly aware of the content I’m putting up and how it looks from a professional aspect. I’m very aware of the personal details I’m putting out there and what that may mean later down the track. I try to keep an upbeat and happy online presence by making it look like every day is amazing, but the truth is it’s not. Living with anxiety means that some days I wake up and don’t want to leave my bed. Some days I will be crying because I’m exhausted and don’t want to go to an event, but I know I have to go and so I put on a smile. I can’t go on a rant on social media because people will think I’m ungrateful or people will look down on me for making it public so I bottle it up and get frustrated. I feel like I’m constantly being fake with the world whilst pretending I’m always honest and truthful. It’s messed up. I get even more afraid that if I’m honest with people they will get scared or run away because how I really feel is sometimes so different to how I present myself. And that really stemmed from the break up with Nathan and transferred to my relationship with Liam, because I was so nervous to open up to them and when I did they walked away from me. It was my biggest fear coming true. So it made me deflect my thoughts and feelings and continue living this way. Through the break up with Liam I realised that I was a lot more than damaged goods and that I deserved more. At the same time I also realised it was okay to be damaged goods because it’s a part of the story. Heartbreak and trauma make up the discourse of who we are.

So we should embrace that we’re damaged goods and celebrate our pain. It’s a beautiful thing once you allow yourself to be that vulnerable. It’s a powerful thing to be that in charge and aware of your feelings. Through everything, I’ve been able to reflect on the negative situations that have happened in my life and turn them into positives. I learnt to ask myself “how can I grow from this?” instead of asking “why is this happening to me?”, and finding that inner strength. It’s not always easy, nor is it always comfortable to feel like that, but from those massive steps you’re altering your future. You’re allowing yourself to always be in control and to realise that it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to hurt. And as you look around at everyone else, know that they are all going through their own unique hurt. We are all damaged goods and that’s okay. We are human. 

Embrace your story. Tell your story. And feel free from your inner demons.