Recently, for some odd reason, I keep seeing the caption—”broken crayons still colour.” For a long time, I too subscribed to this notion that it’s okay to be broken and functional. I now see this phrase in a whole new light, as it suggests to me that in your broken state, you’re still effective. The lie detector determines THIS IS A LIE! Contrary to popular belief, while some broken things still work, don’t be fooled, they do not operate at full capacity. Obviously, since people have a tendency to replace broken things.
By virtue that the body has been created to heal itself, this tells me ‘wholeness’ was the original blueprint for our lives. Sadly, we have succumbed to this fake-it-til’-you-make-it culture-so much so, that it’s hard to detect an issue at first glance. Do me a favour, abandon team brokenness rocks, aye!
Do you remember “Hush ‘lil baby don’t say a word, mama’s gonna buy you a mocking bird and if that mocking bird doesn’t sing mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring?” Well, no wonder some of us are so ‘thingsy.’ We’re continually chasing ‘stuff’ like a trophy to prove our happiness. Based on this rhyme, is the idea really that if something doesn’t work, we just replace it? Or if I cry loud enough, then I deserve something to pacify me just because? Hmm, okay, so what if there’s an issue in my relationship? Say no more, new mate loading in……5, 4, 3, 2….! So what happens if mama or, in this case-dude, can’t buy you anything? Then what? If no one else has told you, let me be the first–this mindset is utter and complete garbage.
Oh shoot, I’m broken!
I’m not telling you something I haven’t lived through. In case you missed it, let me read you my issue resume. My biological mother died when I was a toddler, and years later, so did my biological father. Although I was adopted by wonderful parents, my adopted mother also died. And then, as an adult, I went years without talking to my father (another story for another day). I’ve had 4 disastrous relationships to date (same character, different actor). Caught fire, lost friends, alienated people, did some dumbness and then a little more dumbness, ya know-cause the first ten-times wasn’t enough. Lost jobs, been evicted, been penniless, and the list goes on. These are just the stuff I’m willing to tell you about. Then for the coup de grâce (known as the kudegra-meaning the death blow), I woke up one day and couldn’t move. BAM! Hit with an autoimmune disease-which affected every joint in my body, resulting in loss of motion, range, and function.
So how does that happen? Well, the Bible says a broken spirit dries up the bones (Prov 7:22). In layman’s terms, it’s the result of what happens when you take all the things that have hurt you, the people that rejected you, the stuff you don’t wish to deal with–pack them neatly in a time capsule and bury it. BAM! A storm comes, and everything that was buried floats to the surface. When this occurs, a broken crayon then becomes more literal than an analogy. For some, its daddy issues compounded with a broken heart, mixed with a stint of self-esteem issues, wrapped in a broken heart by another dude, sprinkled with more abuse. I mean, just snowballing into an avalanche waiting on the slightest movement.
In the spirit of transparency, after every issue, I honestly thought I was okay. I figured if I cried a little bit, vented to all my friends, then said a hail mary prayer, that was enough. Cause hey, after all, I’m a strong black woman, right? Wrong! No wonder author April Mason doesn’t consider this term a compliment. Sis, you were not built for all this load. Just cause you can carry it doesn’t mean you should have to. So there I was, a broken crayon. In all my vivid and intense colouring glory, ready to shade some dude’s world with my brilliance. BAM! Broken in yet another place and again not chosen to colour anything but my own tainted world. Flawed as I was, it took me a minute to realize I am the prize. Spoiler alert: No one wants a defective prize though! Not even the people who themselves are faulty. We all like shiny and new, otherwise run me back my coins.
I’ll tell you this much when those attributes of your brokenness rear their ugly head, people will be quick to remind you, you are not the brightest crayon in the box. Honestly, we do ourselves a disservice by thinking to be a ride or die chick means he’d be willing to do the same for you. Trust me, more people are dying of a broken heart than cancer. Believe that! We reckon sticking it out in impotent relationships, for the sparse moments of happiness, is some key to unlock the Matrix. Sorry to say, sometimes, you are not Neo and you are not the one.
Confidence is the right shade of blue
No one wants to love anyone who does not like themselves. Ergo, confidence is so attractive. No matter how beautiful your flyer is, if the colours ain’t poppin’, folk will scroll straight past you. Though there are all kinds of other things that can mute your shine, most of us are stuck at what was. We keep circling back, asking why? But how? What didn’t I do? Should I have done more? Almost as if we’re pleading, “Yassss, I beseech you, please mistreat me!” Stop that mess. Just close the door! We like to think that closure means getting the answers from a person when closure simply means letting go. We can skip ’round the mulberry bush, asking the same questions all we want, nothing will change. My dear, learn to be okay without the answer. I assure you, knowing will not ease the pain.
I’ll level with you, most of us don’t even know it’s our own tail we are chasing. We’re so busy getting ‘under’ the next trying to get over the ex. Why? Because once you stop moving (aka the adrenaline stops pumping) you’ll slow down and then the brunt of your injury will be felt. So, we take the hurt, sandwich it between disappointment and denial. Drizzle it with some resentment, and then try to stick a toothpick of happiness through it by faking. Plainly speaking, many people are walking around drowning their pain in distraction.
For healing to commence, I had to dig really deep and recall some painful moments just to see where I needed to make amends. First on the list was me. I’ll tell ya, I made some really dumb moves in life, like to the point of thinking, if dumbness was a person, it had to be me. Truthfully, a lot of it wasn’t always someone else’s fault. Forgiving yourself is the foundation of the process! In some instances, I was readily willing to make an apology. Then, some again, took me up to two years just to find the courage to say the words, “I’m sorry, I was wrong. Please forgive me!” Nonetheless, it was the most freeing thing I’ve ever done! Your sickness may not manifest as mine did, but trust me, it’s there, lurking beneath your Ruby Woo lipstick and contoured cheeks that pretend to smile.
Pick me, Pick me!
In the TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith Grey found herself in a love triangle with McDreamy. Still, against her better judgement, she made a bold profession of love to a man who’d been shady from the start. While many of us don’t say it as she did, our actions all but tell a person we’d be better off without her very sentiment. The whole speech wasn’t so bad, but it was that last part that screamed desperation, ” ……So pick me, choose me, love me.”
Disappointment and hurt only linger as long as you let it. Love is many things, what it is not, is a doormat. Stop letting people walk all over you in the name of love!! Rather than chasing people and things, the best love, next to God, that you’ll ever experience is when you love yourself. Even the Bible admonishes us to love our neighbour as ourselves. That already tells me, self-love is not a fad-it’s a necessity.
Look, when kids are colouring, they don’t tend to gravitate toward the broken crayon. No kid even wants the crayon whose tip is dull and worn down. They want the one that is sharp and can get closest to the line. Further, if while colouring the crayon breaks, they toss that aside and pick a ‘whole’ one. Trust me, I’ve tested the theory. To a kid, that broken, unsharpened crayon reads ‘useless.’ In a Crayola box of 64, there are at least 6 shades of green. While someone may want forest green to shade in the trees, they’d opt to use pea-green before they pick-up the ‘usable’ but broken one. Translation: don’t give folk the opportunity to call you a bitter-black-woman.
So, how do ‘YOU,’ Miss-Regular-Green’ stand out among the likes of sage, seafoam, shamrock, emerald, lime, olive, pickle, seaweed, mint, celadon, jade, citron, kelly green, and hunter green? Is that even possible? Of course, it is. Start by admitting you’re hurt and seek the qualified help you need. And for God’s sake, this does not mean posting your proclamation of moving in silence or taking a break. That’s nobody’s business. In the words of Christina Yang in her farewell to Meredith, “He may be dreamy, but he’s not the sun, you are!” Which is to say, be careful what you let rotate around you. Broken can work, but ‘whole’ was always the original plan. (see Gen 1).
While I can, I'm not going to use some 'clever' word-play to paint a picture-perfect version of myself to you. What I will say is I'm someone who has a great deal of practice in rebounding from the act and art of doing dumbness. Which probably makes us have more in common than you may have initially thought. My accolades and achievements are trivial in the grand scheme of things. Truth be told, degrees don't mend broken hearts, nor does experience erase bad decisions. Really, all I am is a girl, saved by God's amazing grace-in that He's the only reason I'm still relatively sane. I've finally grasped the infamous church mother's tagline. You know the one: 'You don't know like I know what the Lord has done for me!' What matters most about me can be aptly conveyed in the words of Apostle Paul: I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any situation: fed or hungry, with or without. My life is not short on exciting moments that make for amusing stories. Tune in, because I promise you, no one can just make this stuff up!