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Prides, Baggages, and Life

By: Julia Bracken

Description of my life and how, when you are young, you can become worthless.

2nd Place · Adult Writing (2022)

Worry – Mom to #$@% and Worthless
Worthless – A kid whose path in life is steered by the step-father, Tyranny Baggage
#$@%- Worthless’s brother
Prides- Hispanic family coming up after WWII in southern California
Baggages – Polish immigrants, 2nd generation growing up in Chicago
Narcissist Sociopath – Father to Worthless’ two kids
(I am the character Worthless. My mom was Worry. My brother, #$@% – Julia)



The Pride family had three daughters. Their names were Stoic Pride, Worry Pride, and Bitter Pride. The middle daughter, Worry, had to leave the family because she made two illegitimate babies and this was not okay with the Pride family. Their names were Handsome and Promise and Worry loved them very much. She needed to find them a family name to call their own. She married Tyranny Baggage, a decision she would live to regret for a very long time. Mrs. Worry Baggage was happy in the beginning with Tyranny. He drank spirits, but not too much. Sometimes he would bring home burgers in the wee hours of the morning to share with the kids and they liked that. But the happiness didn’t last long.


The two babies had very nice names. But Tyranny renamed Handsome and Promise: #$@% Pride and Worthless Pride. He did not give them his last name as he did not claim them as his own. He would never be “Father Baggage” to them, only Tyranny. Tyranny Baggage was not a nice person.


Worry Baggage had her hands full keeping Tyranny from being mean to #$@% and Worthless. When he would belittle them and make them do crazy things like clean out the refrigerator at 2:00am, #$@% would get angry and act out. Worthless was scared and cried a lot. Neither one could understand why their mom kept them there. They were too young to see that Worry did not have the support of the Pride family and did not have the skills to make it on her own.


As sad as she was at home, Worthless was a happy child. She did well in school making honor rolls and being class president. She was “Girl of the Year” two years in a row, nominated by the teachers and voted on by the students. If only she didn’t have to go home, her life would be good. She never knew what she’d come home to. Tyranny was unpredictable.


When Worthless turned 12, Tyranny made her get a job. She babysat 4 hours a day for the Traditionals down the street. She really liked that family. She wished she could live there. She liked how they would do things together, like eat dinner and watch television. One time they took Worthless on a camping trip with them. That was her very first vacation.


At home, Tyranny was taking to his spirits more and more. The more spirits he drank, the meaner he became. He would yell and hit on Worry. He’d go on and on about how terrible #$@% and Worthless were. He’d throw things and break things, and as the neighbors watched, the Police would come. It was always scary, but it became normal to be scared. Nothing new, nothing changed. This was how it was.


Worthless was very confused about life. She did not want life if this was how it was going to be. She thought a lot about sleeping forever. She just gave it thought, that’s all. She knew their home was not normal, not traditional, and that she wouldn’t live there forever. Someday she would have a nice husband and a nice home. Their children would come home from school to see “Father” sitting at the table she had just finished setting for dinner. Maybe they would say prayers before they ate. Worthless would ask, “How was school today?” and they would talk all through dinner. She could almost see it… A Christmas at home with family coming over… Slumber parties…. Vacations… Everyone giving hugs all the time….


In her last year at high school her report card had four A’s, two B’s, and an extra credit C. No one at the Baggage home seemed to care. She thought maybe they didn’t know what an A meant because none had graduated themselves or something silly like that. Her mom Worry probably cared, but she had her hands full . Tyranny was being meaner than ever! He wanted Worthless out of the house. He would call her bad names and make life as miserable as possible. At 17, the summer after graduation, Tyranny kicked Worthless out. She found herself without a place to live. All she knew to do was go to work. And so, she did.


Years went by that Worthless was lost. She had no direction and no ambition. She didn’t know she needed them. She rented rooms in other people’s homes, which seemed fine as she did not have many belongings. Working full-time and paying her bills, she didn’t see any reason to want more in life. She had boyfriends but for one reason or another, marriage never came up. She was 27 when everything changed. She became a single mom of twins, a boy and a girl. At that time she was living with the father in a studio apartment. She had known him just long enough that she knew she did not like him at all.


Worthless was afraid of him. His name was Narcissist Sociopath. By the time she found out she was pregnant, she knew she could not stay with him. He was just like Tyranny except he did not need spirits to make him meaner. It wasn’t until the twins were 1 year old that she felt brave enough to take the babies and run. She didn’t want her kids to ever have to see their mommy treated disrespectfully so she knew she had made the right decision. And so, she ran.


She didn’t have anywhere to go. She asked her brother #$@% for help, but he said no. Her mom, Worry, was having her own troubles so she didn’t even ask her. Her only option was to ask for help from people who barely knew her. There was no way she could do that. Little children are loud and messy. She felt it was too much to ask of anyone. She didn’t want to be a bother. The only choice left was going to a shelter for domestic violence. And so, to the shelter they went.


Worthless would eventually ask and be given the help she so desperately needed from the people she met at the church. She would be a good mom doing the very best that she could supporting her kids in anything they wanted to try. She would take them on vacations and buy a Christmas tree every year. Worthless had Pride in her as well as the effects of growing up a Baggage. Nothing would come easy, each year seeming a lifetime of unimaginable accomplishments. She would have to be strong, And so, she was.


Fast forward twenty-two years later, Worthless has learned some hard lessons in life, ones that were so hard she thought hair was growing on her chest. She thinks back on her fifty years on Earth and understands who she is, how Worthless Pride came to be the person she is today. She decides to go back to using her given name of Promise. She’s married now, just three years to a man named Safe Life. Promise Life is a good name, she thinks.


“I am not worthless. I have proven I can believe in myself. It’s time to give Promise a chance. Maybe some college classes are possible for me.” And so, she believed.

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