As a child, I believed everyone was born clean, pure, and perfect. I liked it when things were pristine and symmetrical. I did not like anything to be unclean or out of place. So when I broke my leg, I considered myself ruined. When the cast came off, I had a big scar- and I couldn’t see my body as clean and good anymore.
The word ‘broken’ is viewed negatively. Even as a 5-year-old, I thought poorly of myself because I had a big scar on my leg. ‘Broken’ isn’t a good feeling. When we encounter something that is broken, we may try to fix it or dispose of it. Since I couldn’t fix the way my leg looked and I couldn’t get rid of it, I spent my childhood hiding it.
It took me years to learn that people are not meant to be fixed.
Consider that a human being’s idea of repair is completely biased and based on their specific reality. Whether it’s intentional or not, we usually base ‘helping others’ on what works for us personally. We may be looking out for (what we think is) the best interest of someone, when in reality, it is just our version of what is good based on our own experiences.
Yes, we’re called to comfort and support one another. We’re here to listen and empathize and motivate other people. But we cannot change them. We cannot put them back together and make them who they were before they ‘broke.’ And you know what? We’re not supposed to. People change for reasons you may never understand. And there’s no healthy and natural way of backing up progress. But why would you want to?
Do you go around gluing rocks together once they crack from impact? Do you force fallen twigs back onto branches? Do you sew petals back on flowers or push birds back into shattered eggshells?
Does ‘broken’ mean it’s human nature to be imperfect and scarred? Does it mean we’re born all messed up- or do we get that way because of life’s trials? I think it could by synonymous with human existence. In order to be alive, you must be broken. Human beings do not parallel perfection. No opinion (a.k.a. society) gets to decide what is ‘perfect.’
Adults are especially broken. We build up ‘feelings’ walls. The construction for these begins the first time we are judged, called a name, stared at, discriminated against, etc. That very first time our pure view of the world is tainted, the slab goes down. And with each negative endeavor, our hardhats are fastened and the concrete is poured. Brick by brick, each condescending thing we learn stacks another. With these walls, we block out compassion and understanding. We guard ourselves with shields of fear. We call this strength. We call this independence.
As adults, we pride ourselves on being independent. Our society teaches us to learn to fend for ourselves and to figure out life on our own. When we strive for this independence, we neglect some of the most important things we could have. By building these walls, we deny ourselves support and aid of other people. We stop asking for help.
Everyone is broken. But there is healing in whatever cracks. Some people need structure and order to function. Some people cannot breathe with the constriction. Does that make one better than the other? Nope.
So why does pain push everyone away? Why does an imperfection, a step out of line, a change in the ‘normal’ scare us so much? Somewhere down the line, this myth of human perfection caught on. And I guess it never went out of style. Maybe we could work on making our scars something fabulous. And more importantly, focus on all the good that grows from the breaking.
I’m in love with this song. | Hold Me Up | Conrad Sewell