One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

September 26, 2008

So Stressed

Like many women, I have my history that left some scars. And like, I suspect, many women, I have my days when I worry that I will be dealing with those scars for the rest of my goddamn life. Waste time wishing for clean slates, etc.

On Tuesday, I met Firefly (I know I’ve dropped nicknames for family members, but it doesn’t seem fair to do so for innocent civilians), for coffee. And she was talking about the idea of trying to show women that even if you’ve been broken, you’re still beautiful. And, somehow, it resonated with me. I don’t know, that broken imagery. I guess I’ve worried far too often that I’m irreparable.

That night, I said to Ian that I had been spending some time that day considering myself as a chipped piece of china.

Why would you do that? He asked me. And I explained the metaphor, and the idea that even if you’ve been broken, you can still be useful and even beautiful.

No, he said. I see you more as a Denby. There are variations in your glaze, and you certainly don’t have to think of your time in the kiln as being pleasant, but it made you who you are. And that’s not broken, it’s strong and it’s a good person to be.

Of course, in addition to having a well formed metaphor, I’m sure he knew you can’t go wrong comparing a woman to a Denby.


I’ve killed my longest-lived polka-dot plant.

I’m so stressed. But it’s not because of the plant.

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  1. Judith

     /  2008-09-26

    We have a book at work called “Strong at the Broken Places” which is about healing from trauma, and how people often end up with greater strength because of it. I didn’t find the book itself that impressive (maybe because I’ve looked at so many now that nothing really stands out) but I love the title.

  2. Yeah, I totally have had the “makes you stronger” conversation. But I’ve never been entirely convinced. Sometimes you go through terrible things and it doesn’t leave you stronger, and thinking, “look what I can survive” it leaves you thinking, “look how nearly I didn’t survive.”

    I suppose the issue is that after something heals, it is stronger. But it’s too much to expect it to be stronger when it’s still healing. And sometimes the healing takes a very long time, during which time, listening to people tell you that being stronger is the natural outcome of traumas is really tiresome if they paint it like ‘all you have to do is feel it’.

  3. Alison

     /  2008-09-28

    Sometimes (perhaps often) the breaking is what allows you to be larger. You have to put yourself back together in a different way and grow new skin/layers/in-between bits, because the outside that was is no longer big enough to contain the inside that has been created.

    Sometimes we (unconsciously) seek out the breaking because we know at some soul-depth that that is what we need most. And sometimes we don’t (seek it out) and have to just deal with it anyway.

  4. Alison

     /  2008-09-28

    Oh, and this totally reminded me of this piece I included on diaryland long, long ago:

    Here’s an essay I read recently that I liked. It is by Sue Bender from a book called ‘Everyday Sacred’.

    October Tea

    One day, in search of something else, I found a book called Wabi Sabi. Wabi sabi are the Japanese words for a feeling, an aesthetic that is hard to describe. I read:

    “Wabi sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

    It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

    It is a beauty of things unconventional.”

    A friend, a student of the Japanese tea ceremony, mentioned “October Tea.” She said it’s one of the most important times of the year for tea, the most wabi. November celebrates the new tea, but October is the time to use up the last of the old. Instead of letting it dribble out, or be thought of as the dregs – “We cherish what remains of that which is in the process of passing.”

    This month only, mismatched dishes are used. The utensils are ones that have been broken and repaired. “Not just repaired, but carefully and beautifully mended,” she added.


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