Judy first came to me with an agenda: She appeared steely eyed, cigarette in one hand, and she looks me in the eye and says to me:

The machine will spit you out. It doesn't care. Doesn't give a damn about you, or your dreams or your starry-eyed hopes. Doesn't give a damn. It'll eat you alive. That's what it was designed to do. Chew you up and spit you out.

It feeds off you. Off your beauty and innocence. Off your plucky gumption to jump in and do the work and get it done right. 

It feeds off that, your pluck. Because the machine's a brilliant master, you see. It grooms you to believe that if you just work hard enough, then a little harder, a little harder, a little harder, then maybe, just maybe, you'll be good enough. And if you're good enough, then you'll deserve the praise. Deserve a little love. A little affection. A little appreciation and gratitude for all you've given to the machine.

But you don't know this, you see. You don't know that this is the plan. This is by grand design. This is how they spit you out.

The machine doesn't just take from you; it convinces you so sneakily to keep on giving, keep on pushing, giving more and more and more. Makes you believe that it's your duty, that you have to pull your weight, that you don't deserve all this glamour and praise and you never will.

Because they dangle it in front of your face, you see. Tempt you with it. Make glittering promises that if you work real hard and be a good girl, then maybe one day you just might make it, kiddo. Might be worth a damn.

Image by Jr Korpa