Broken vs Broken Open

I am not who I want to be.

And some days, that’s okay. My faults can be amusing. Also I like a project, and my flawed nature gives me lots of those.

And some days, that sucks. Because my time here is finite, and there is so much to be done. Because how do I know that I am where I should be, or could be? How do I measure how much risk is too much, how much too little?

I want answers to every question I could ever ask, NOW. Mostly I consult Google. It’s harder to go within.

I wake up and feel small and I ask myself what I’m doing wrong. My Self usually offers little scraps of wisdom (by which I mean my Self implores me to open up books to random pages or listen to random songs and glean meaning from their pages or lyrics), and so far that has been enough to get me through. But the last few weeks I have encountered this damp, grey space that feels murkier than all the others. This space is not as dark or desperate as when I was stalked, or when I was in Bad Relationships, or when I lived with postpartum depression without naming it. But it’s definitely grayer.

Ben and I drove home from dinner last week (no kids, what!) and I took in all the fireflies lighting up the fields and cried about all that I want to do and how little I know HOW to do it. For whatever reason, the beauty of the late-June night felt unbearably heavy, and all my shortcomings came into sharp focus against the haze of its neon-spackled background. The HOW of things always trips me up, and I want to believe in what’s bigger than my own understanding, but no matter how many times I surrender all the shit, more shit seems to creep in to be surrendered.

I do yoga. I make healthy meals. I write poems. I avoid. I avoid the fact that I am not who I want to be and I don’t have a clue how to become her. I avoid that my children and my husband deserve a more full, wholehearted, happy mother and wife. I avoid that to so many people this life is ENOUGH, and to me, something intangible but necessary feels just out of my reach. Often I think I must be an actual alien, attempting to fit into a world not native to me. Looking for cues from others just makes it worse, because I cannot emulate anyone else and still feel authentic myself, and authenticity is my ride or die standard.

In grey times like this, I scribble things in my journal:

Doing nothing is enough.
Take care of yourself.
Bigger things are coming.

and I have a standoff with the ego who yells, Are you fucking kidding? Who do you think you are to rest? How will you ever get anywhere if you rest? How will you get ahead? How will you accomplish all the things? HOW? HOW WILL BIGGER THINGS COME IF YOU DON’T MAKE THEM?

I am not who I want to be, and some days are grey days, and I don’t have any answers. But I can still be moved by a song and get lost in a book; I can still take the kids to the botanical garden and marvel at the flowers; I can watch fireworks and play with stray kittens; I can cheer because my team won; I can take care of my broken-open heart.

And maybe that’s all we need to do. Maybe we can recognize the subtle difference between broken and broken open. One brings to mind a pile of glass splinters, or a burned-out building, that can never be reassembled; the other is a fruit unhinged: still glorious, still sweet, vulnerable, an offering, seasonal but all the more luscious because it can’t last.


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