A Rant from the Easily Discarded
There was a time when people invested more into relationships with others, whether it was family, friends or romantic partners. People took the time to get to know one another and have actual real conversations. People valued bonds with others and would put effort into building and maintaining relationships. These days, however, we live in a generation of instant gratification, where everyone is so quick to discard everything and anyone for the next thing that they’re sure is right around the corner.
In my family, it was always clear that I never mattered. I was told from an early age that I was never good enough, never smart enough, never pretty enough, never well-behaved enough – just simply not enough. My worthlessness was further validated by years of abuse. I was only sixteen, still a kid, when my mother decided to shoot my father and implode my existence. No thought was ever given about what would happen to me or where I might end up because of her actions. It didn’t matter that I would be bounced around for a year then end up on the street at seventeen. I was easily disposable.
In romantic relationships, I have always been easily discarded and replaced. It didn’t matter if I had given them children or years of my life, I was only temporary until someone better came along. Even when it came to dating, everyone seemed to be looking for the instant gratification of sex but nobody wanted to put in the effort to build a relationship. I was forever the low man on the totem pole, the most easily discarded. It never mattered how long I had been with someone or how much I had put into the relationship, the end result was always the same. Again and again, I was left crying and asking what was wrong with me? Why was I never enough? My cries fell on deaf ears because I was disposable.
Even many of my friendships seem to follow this pattern. I try to reach out and be there for friends whenever I see they’re struggling through life and am always assured that if I need anything at all, they’ll always be there. Yet, when times are their roughest, despite my pleas to many of them that I truly need someone there right now, I find myself crying and alone. I don’t know if they avoid me because they don’t have the words to comfort me or because my anguish is overwhelming and uncomfortable. I just know friends offer to be there to talk and then there’s radio silence; Friends offer to come by and visit or take me out to distract me from all I’m going through, then cancel last minute, sometimes just not showing at all without a word. I’d like to believe that those I consider to be friends are just caught up in their own lives and do not realize the impact of their actions but the more often it occurs, the harder it is to make excuses to myself and rationalize their actions. Regardless of their intentions, it leaves me feeling like I’m inconsequential and disposable.
Things weren’t always this way. I am not sure when exactly the world changed so drastically and we became such a throw away society. People used to save milk bottles to be refilled and save containers to store leftovers for other days. There used to be an inherent value in everything and everyone. These days, everything is mass-produced. You don’t have to go out and make an effort to make friends or find loved ones. Log onto your computer or phone and there is a world of people to scroll through; A new friend or relationship is only one click or swipe away. With so many options so easily accessible, why bother putting in any effort or building any attachment to anyone else when you can just as easily replace them with a newer model next week, next month, next year?
Not having emotional attachments makes it easier for people to excuse their actions. It doesn’t matter if you mistreat someone if you are not emotionally invested in their well-being. People attack, abuse and belittle others every single day online with words they once would never say to another person’s face. People have gotten so caught up in their own lives and their quest to find their next moment of happiness that they no longer consider those they step on or hurt along the way. This behavior has slowly leaked into the way people live their everyday lives and interact with others. We’ve become a society of strangers who only think about themselves. There was a time that this behavior was abhorrent; Today it is the norm. Those who reach out to others with compassion are looked upon with skepticism. Those who are looking for relationships and commitment beyond the instant gratification of sex are looked upon as clingy and needy. Those who expect friendship to be lasting through good times and bad are seen as unrealistic.
Perhaps I’m too old fashioned and nostalgic for the way things used to be. Perhaps I’m too idealistic, expecting people to still appreciate and value one another. Perhaps I’m too sentimental, assuming that because I have let someone into my heart, I should matter to them, as well. I honestly do not know. One thing I do know, though, is that I am tired of feeling like I am never good enough. Discard your leftovers, your old clothes or electronics that you feel are no longer desirable or useful if you must. But please remember that I am not some useless inanimate object. I am a person with feelings that can be hurt and a heart that can be broken. I deserve to matter and to feel like I have a place in this world. I am not something trivial that can be used up and discarded, or only given acknowledgement or attention during the good times. I am not disposable.