Everything I’ve ever known started off broken. Sometimes I could fix it, but most of the time it remained broken. I’m not the one who broke it so I wasn’t sure how to put it back together.
I was born into a broken family, but it broke way before my birth. I’ve heard different stories of how it broke and fell apart, but not being alive when it happened, I wasn’t sure what to believe. It didn’t matter. It was broken before me and it’d probably remain broken after me.
The first house we moved into was broken. Jagged, splintered fence posts that appeared older than time itself. The garage was an unfinished mess, exposed electric wires dangling disconnected. The yard had weeds I could get lost in and every appliance imaginable, abandoned. At some point someone had spent money and time on this, but now it laid out in the Texas sun abandoned and forgotten. Money and time wasted.
My step dad was broken, often going into conniptions that were triggered by seemingly nothing. I was usually in the way of his anger.
My mind was broken. As long as I could remember, things I remembered, I wasn’t sure if they actually happened or if it was a movie I saw or a dream I had. I had realistic dreams and lived a nightmare. Sometimes I intermingled the two worlds. My therapist said it didn’t matter if it was real or not, as long as I believed it was real, it affected me the same. That answer wasn’t sufficient. I wanted to know what was real or not. But I never knew. After awhile I stopped believing anything I remembered. It didn’t affect me.
The first time I felt something not Broken was euphoric but scary. It was my adult life. The life I had actively built. Not the broken life I was thrown into but what I did. It wasn’t broken. Somehow I had observed the broken things around me and had managed to put things back together with no model to follow.
Things hadn’t been broken in awhile by time I realized they weren’t broken anymore. That’s how life is. It’s changes so gradually every day that the only people who notice it are people you visit after years of not seeing them.
The worst part about not being broken anymore is realizing you’re not broken anymore and adhering to expectations that weren’t previously there.
Nobody expects a broken car to operate properly. Nobody expects a broken person to function without support and assistance. The first time I had a therapist say, “Well, things seem to be well and we find it difficult to find things to talk about that aren’t happy. Maybe we should cut back our visits?” was extremely overwhelming and cathartic. I felt like the pillars that held me up suddenly crashed beneath me, but I still had to maintain my posture without them.
I didn’t think I’d hold my posture for too long, but hours turned into weeks, turned into months, and suddenly a decade has passed since that day. No pillars and I was still standing as tall. No crutches, no pillars, not broken anymore. It’s crazy how gradually you can put the pieces back together and not even realize you’re doing it right until it’s finished.