I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve uttered the words ‘I feel broken’. Sometimes it was even worse than that; there were moments when I actually believed that I was broken. I had this image of a fragile, glass figurine that was my being, moulded into the perfect form that society expected of me. And then I saw it shattered into a thousand pieces, and my days were spent trying to glue together the shards of my faults, cautious of how easily the razor-edged fragments could scar me.
For two long years I’ve been piecing myself together, and I’m under no delusion that I’m done. But I’m almost OK with that now, because I no longer see my life as a floor carpeted in hazardous particles.
See deep down, we’re all fragmented. Not broken, per se, but in pieces. And choosing to acknowledge that doesn’t make us weak.
Imagine a puzzle. In fact, start by imagining the puzzle aisle of a toy store, with tall shelves stacked five deep with sealed boxes. On every box, a perfect image of how the puzzle is meant to look, and each one just like the one behind it. Consistent, complete, protected.
This is how we’re born. To the outside world, we present this image of unwavering togetherness. The reality, however, is that we can never truly be complete until we’ve accepted that this image is a facade. Our real selves are inside the boxes, and they’ve always been in pieces.
So this act of putting ourselves together is not a solution we turn to because we’re broken, it’s an opportunity born of choosing to open up and face the beautiful mess of uncertainty that lies within.
Most go their entire lives without removing the protection of that perfect image portrayed on the box. It’s easier that way; less vulnerable, less scattered, less taxing. It’s also a hell of a lot less fulfilling but hey, maybe they’re not into that kind of thing.
For many, opening up isn’t exactly a conscious choice but a response to external influences. Perhaps a careless third party came along and knocked the poor puzzle from its perch, prying open a corner. Or tragedy struck, and the toy store flooded, damaging all the boxes.
And then, for an incredible few, it’s the pieces themselves that choose to break free of the box, because the thought of living as a facade for a lifetime is too unbearable.
However you got here, know this. Life is not a sea of shattered glass. You are not broken, you’re brave. You’re one of the few who’s opened up to uncertainty. You’re choosing to face that blank canvas.
You’re choosing to make yourself you.