“Para de llorar, it’s just a plant.” My mom would say.
And she’s right, the pot fell and broke, and that’s that.
“We can glue it together,” I’d offer, refusing to throw the pieces away. “We can do something with this.” I wanted to save it, and I was sobbing because I knew this pot was older than I was. Just like how her sewing scissors were as old as her marriage, and how our vacuum could be my older brother.
It was worth something, broken or not, because she kept it for so long and it was her favorite.
She threw it away without a care and a normal kid would be glad they didn’t get in trouble for it. And I was– I never got in trouble for breaking things.
I punished myself enough with the guilt I felt, anyway. I’d be a wreck the whole day after.
“Why do you keep this?” An old friend asked, holding a ceramic cup with Mickey Mouse sketches all around it, with its handle broken off. I even kept the broken pieces of the handle, inside the cup itself.
“I like it,” was enough of an explanation for me.
“What do I do with these?” I asked my dad this morning, holding the charger to my phone. It wasn’t charging right, despite physically looking ok.
And I knew the answer, I knew it, but I asked anyway.
It feels like such a waste, but what else was I going to do with it?
Why do I keep all these broken pieces, or try to hold onto them until the owner convinces me it’s not worth fixing?
Was it guilt over breaking it by accident? Probably, yeah.
But also the knowledge that not all broken things are useless.
For instance, a bottle can hold a drink. But a broken bottle, can be a makeshift weapon in an emergency. Just smash it against the wall and jab the one attacking you.
It could very well save your life.
I have a broken brain.
So does a lot of people I know, actually.
Twisted out of shape by our depression, our anxiety, the PTSD, a whole slew of invisible shattered pieces we have cut ourselves on for years before realizing we were even bleeding in the first place.
Why don’t we just take a moment and appreciate… how the shattered glass on the floor glistens under the moonlight, a dangerous, delicate scattering of sharp, destructive stars.
If we are able to walk over those floors day in and day out, that does not make us broken.
Our feet may be broken. Our feelings, our heart, our body and mind. But something is still functioning in there, and while others walk seamlessly with thick shoes, we walk barefoot.
Something broken can be glued together. Or repurposed. Maybe it barely functions at all, but there’s a certain beauty in that last dying gasp of life the speakers make at the end of its lifespan.
Why else would mom take the old vacuum to someone very specific, the only person who knows how to fix that model left, instead of buying a new one?
The vacuum doesn’t do it better than other vacuums. But it has lived its life. And it’s had memories poured into it. And it has worked harder than most to accomplish the same thing.
It is a tired old thing, and many others would have thrown it away by now. But it still has purpose, and it still functions. Differently now, yes, but it still gets the job done.
To all my friends out there who are broken as I am, as others are. We are not shiny new people, but our forms are unique. The broken look can never be replicated like a factory made product. We are repurposed for art. We still function. We give our all in the crackly, popping voice of our speakers.
We think we are broken. But there’s always someone out there who keeps us going, because to them, we are in the perfect shape, and as long as we are loved enough to be sent in for repairs over and over long after it makes sense to just get a new one for God’s sake…
We still function.