Hug that Little Girl

Lindsey Kukunda July 23, 2021

"I felt the way I did the day I donned my first pair of glasses." First chapter of a blogpost series by Lindsey Kukunda on her way to mental health.


I like to think of life as a series of chapters. This chapter is funny and this chapter is sad and this other chapter is criminal and then, there’s that chapter that decided it just wanted the hell out of Earth and relocated to a planet not of this galaxy.

I’m that chapter.

In the spirit of raising mental health awareness, I am contractually obligated, but also pleased, to share three of my chapters with you.

And so I shall commence with the first chapter.

“I want to go back and hug that little girl and tell her she was enough.”

Lindsey Kukunda

I did not know what happiness was for the first 26 years of my life. No, that does not mean I did not know how to smile (a note on that later, by and by). I could feel pleased but not happy.

I was a very depressed child. Looking back, I cannot believe how sad my soul was. I told myself I was shy which is why I didn’t interact much, kept my head stuck in books and practically lived in the library. I was not shy obviously because today I give speeches with ease and dance like nobody’s watching.

No, I was not shy. I just didn’t want to be around people because I felt unworthy. That’s the best way for me to put it. I felt very, very unworthy. If someone complimented me, I thought they were being sarcastic. If I had a friend, I stuck by them with a cringing fervor because I was so grateful they wanted to be friends with the worthless failure that was me. Eventually, they would get tired of my clinging neediness and drop me, and I felt I deserved it.

Because I was not worthy.

Growing up, I also believed I was a stupid child because I was better at the Arts than the Sciences and because the sciences were so damn many, I failed a lot. Today, I know it was the teachers who were teaching us wrong. Today, I am a digital security trainer and my favorite series is The Cosmos so no, I now know that I love sciences and I am not stupid.

But there I was, hating myself. I hated my skinniness, and I didn’t smile in photographs because I thought my teeth would accentuate my ugliness. I hated everything about me and thoughts of suicide began visiting me when I turned 10 years old.

I do not know why I had so much anger and such a terrible sadness inside me. It was just the way I was made. Nothing annoys me more than people showing horror when somebody commits suicide. They dissect their life and throw opinions around like they’re auditioning for The Avengers.

There are some of us whose brains are wired so that we don’t fit in the mainstream of society and I hope that by sharing my story, ‘my people’ can know that they are not alone, and the ignorant can know that they haven’t the slightest clue and should keep quiet when someone commits suicide.

I discovered a coping mechanism to be appear ‘normal’. I knew how to make people laugh. I told witty stories and made everyone around me smile. I made them feel better. But nobody would guess that I had a deep insecurity. I was terrified of people not liking me and sought validation so pathetically that today, I want to go back and hug that little girl and tell her she was enough.

I want to go back and hug that little girl and tell her she was enough.

I must take you through a short detour now, reader, before I get back on track. So, I was basically blind for the first 15 years of my life. I always sat in the front in class and squint. When my mother took me to see an ophthalmologist and the glasses were placed over my nose, well, hot damn! I could not believe all that I had not been seeing for more than 10 years.

I was to have that same feeling again in my late twenties. After a series of unfortunate events, a male relative opened his car and asked me straight up, “Do you want to go to Butakbika?”

I hear that most people resist going to asylums. I wasn’t one of those people. Reader, I was tired. Tired of hating myself, tired of debasing myself and tired of playing the entertaining monkey so that I could have friends. I practically jumped into the car. I needed to know if there was another way to live.

Alone with the psychiatrist, I begun to feel, for the first time in my life, a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I collapsed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I’d been pretending my whole life but here, with this man, all the pain, the loneliness, the anger spilled from my lips.

I felt the way I did the day I donned my first pair of glasses.

I was put on an anti-depressant and after a week or so, a new feeling begun to surge through me. I did not recognize it, I swear I didn’t. Then I realized that I was feeling good. I was laughing genuinely and I was in love with the whole world and myself. A yellow flower had me sitting down and just staring at it with wonder. I was happy.

“So this is what it feels like to be normal!” I thought. I believe in the stereotype that creative people are quite often, start raving mad. But making them ‘normal’ deprives them of certain gifts the Universe gave them and it’s a bit like being stuck in quicksand. Do we submit and sink in the quicksand with our talents or do we get out and be ‘normal’?

Thank you for gracing me with your presence for this chapter. I hope to see you in second chapter.