Monday, February 20, 2012


A few weeks ago, a minor spat with John spiraled into a total emotional breakdown on my part, including an hour of sobbing incoherently and talking about my parents. (To be clear, this was not at all John's fault. The minor spat was a conversation we'd been needing to have, and one off-handed remark of his opened my eyes to something in my life that i hadn't seen before and desperately needed to deal with.)

I knew that i had the power to hurt other people if i wished. I came to terms with that power a long time ago, and i try to use it responsibly. I am fully aware that i can intentionally hurt others with my words and actions.

What never struck me was how easily i could hurt someone unintentionally just because of who i am.

I am broken. 

It's hard for me to be loved. Some of that comes from my stubborn streak, some of it from my natural independence, and some from bad experiences with my mom and Casey. Both of them hurt me a lot because of who they are, because of their brokenness, and some of my own brokenness comes from them. But somehow it never occurred to me that i could turn around and do the same thing. It never occurred to me that pulling away and putting up walls and drawing deeply into myself -- simply because that is who i am and i don't know another way to be -- hurts other people. Even when people would tell me this, in an attempt to help me open up to others and improve both my life and theirs, it never really clicked.

I am broken, and the shards can cut those who want to hold me close.

I had an epiphany a while back about letting people help me. I realized that turning down help is denying another person a chance to be blessed. I resolved to get better about accepting help from others, realizing that my pride was not worth more than another person's happiness.

And while i did get a little bit better, i was still placing myself at the center of the issue. I was blessing other people by allowing them to do things for me. Therefore, when i allowed someone to help me, i was really doing something for them.

Sometimes, i need to put my pride entirely away and allow myself to be opened and broken and emptied, so that i can be filled anew. Sometimes, i need to care more about another person's joy than my own. Sometimes, i need to allow myself to be uncomfortable for the sake of making someone else's day better.

I am broken, and cannot mend myself.

While there are some things that i simply need to process all on my own, there are many more times when i need to turn to someone else. Whether this is God, a counselor, a teacher, or a friend, there are times when someone else has to help me smooth out the rough parts, match up the pieces, and glue it all back together.

I need to be more honest with myself and with others about my brokenness, and warn them about the edges. I need to know that they understand that i am broken, and that getting too close means that they will inevitably be cut from time to time. It is not my job to protect everyone in the world from everything that could ever hurt them, even when that includes me.

I need to know that being mended leaves scars. Some of them will be stronger than before. Some will be weaker. Some will ache. None will ever be entirely forgotten. I will live with my broken places every day, and so will the people who love me. Because they love me, and that's what you do.

I am broken.


  1. Wow, this is incredible in depth and self-understanding. I can't believe there aren't more comments. I feel a little this way sometimes. I don't think a little broken is terrible. A lot broken is an awful feeling that I have known a time or two, but for those who believe, completely broken is when God does his best work.

    I hope that writing this has placed you on the road to mending the wounds.


  2. Well, i think i only have five readers, so the fact that you commented and someone else emailed me means that 40% of my readers responded, and that's not nothin'.

    Seriously, it means a lot to me when someone tells me that something i said means a lot to them. So yes, writing helps. Partly because it is cathartic (or, to keep with the broken metaphor, it sandblasts away the rough edges), and partly because it helps us all connect and feel less damaged. Because in my book, "broken" and "damaged" are not necessarily synonyms.