Broken is Beautiful
Photos by Preeti Pathak
The idea of the “broken home” has been in my mind of late. In a recent conversation with my friend, Michele, we discussed the fact that so many of us have faced trauma in our past. In the first conversations when we get to know someone we all ask the same general things. We find out where the person lives, where they grew up, what they do with their time, and how their family is. For some those questions are easy to answer, while for others it opens up some saddening truths. For a long time I would tell people what they wanted to hear, ashamed of my past and the fact that I came from a “broken home.” But once I learned to love myself, including my story, I no longer felt this shame. Once I understood that I could take ownership of my story, I didn’t care what others would think. Though my honesty at times makes others uncomfortable. Many people prefer the lie…that my life is perfect and my family is a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. But then you also meet those people, who appreciate your honesty, and in turn share their own truth. This is the exact type of conversation that I had with my friend Michele. We realized that we had much in common…that our lives were never perfect. But we also saw the amazing people we had become, despite our personal pain.
The conversation got me thinking of how we all may face similar realities, but what we do with it is quite different. Why is it that for some of us we learn to still practice empathy even when we weren’t raised with it…while others only learn animosity? Why does violence turn some of us to pacifists, but others to perpetrators of further violence? Psychologists, Sociologists, and other scientists have a million theories as to the why. But there will never be a definitive answer. All we know is that anger, whether turned inward or outward, causes more harm than gain. What would the world be like if we could release our anger in a healthy way, deal with our trauma, and try to practice empathy always? I do believe this dream could be a reality, but we have to first let go of our shame. We have to open up and talk to one another about our true stories. Only then can we mend the wounds and realize we are not alone. I leave you with a poem that was inspired by the thoughts of the past few days. Remember that you are never alone. We are all connected by the energy of the universe, so reach out to the souls around you.
Broken is Beautiful
Broken children, from broken homes…
left alone in their own world.
Imagination is unlimited,
when reality is so ill-fitted.
Drawing pictures of what’s not seen.
Learn to read the lines between…
anger, sadness, and happiness.
Predicting emotion equals protection.
Beaten down into a mold.
Robbed of the innocence of the soul.
Growing bigger everyday.
Until the trauma is just past pain.
Standing at the fork in the road.
Wondering which way the anger will go.
Some turn it in and hate themselves.
While others burn external flames.
Some hide inside their own dark cage.
While others spew out violent rage.
Destroying the self either way…
No difference in these two souls.
Both filled with charred and blackened holes.
If only they could see the light.
If only they give up the fight…
within the walls of themselves.
Release the stories they’d never tell.
Stop drawing lies to hide the pain.
Learn self-love is all it takes…
to stop letting one’s anger grow.
To stop life from meaning nothing more…
then broken homes, or hearts, or souls.
Must re-learn what broken means.
That perfection is not what it seems…
That no one is, no matter their past.
Trauma is temporary, despite memories that last.
Must let go of the way we see.
Look at the cracks as true beauty.
Pick up the pieces of broken past.
Glue them together; rebuild the mast.
Let all the anger wash away.
Let light enter your darkest days.
With each new thought your sails will fill,
with the energy of a thousand winds.
A new direction for the soul to go.
A chance to fix the many holes.
You’ll crash against the heavy waves.
But love will be your saving grace.
No waters too treacherous for you to cross.
For you have learned to love, though you have loss.
The cracks were beautiful all along,
Just needed to believe that they belong…
—–Preeti Pathak, 9/19/11