Wednesday, 1 July 2015
The Cracks, The Light and The Gold
I just love this picture. I think it is so beautiful. Which in itself is a bit unusual for me. I like things clean and neat and preferably symmetrical. But I love this picture. And I love what it represents. Which means that I have come a long way.
It has always been very difficult for me to describe how I felt when I became very ill. The best way I could describe what was happening in my head was to use the analogy of a vase. A glass vase. All shiny, no scratches, no chips. Then this vase was dropped. And it shattered. Into a million pieces. And that's how I felt. That inside my head I had imploded and shattered into a million pieces.
And that ever since then myself and my army had been putting it back together again. We used glue. Lots and lots of glue. And, just like anything that is reinforced with glue, it becomes so much stronger. I am the strongest person I know. And I'm not the same anymore. There are cracks and chips where the broken pieces don't quite fit together. Cracks everywhere. But this vase now stands strong and true and proud.
So I love the sentiment in the above picture. That when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. And maybe that beauty is not always obvious on the outside.
But depression has taught me so much. I have a strength beyond measure, a resilience that has truly been tested and passed the test, and a level of empathy for others that I may never have known. My priorities have changed. I've stopped striving for perfection. I have learnt that I am good enough. And that it is not my job to fix everything for everyone. Nobody else expected this- this was just how I saw my purpose in life. A permanent state of happiness for everyone in my life. Not too much to ask!
And because as a child I had created a perfect life in my head in order to cope with the actual reality, I was setting myself up for a big fall. And this creation had become the essence of who I was, my purpose in life, my sense of self. And to suddenly lose your sense of self, to feel the essence of who you are shattering is not only a painful, but a very frightening thing. After all, who are you when your soul is gone? That is what I began the process of finding out. Of rebuilding. Of reconstructing. And I feel blessed to have been able to do this. Although at times it was a very painful process because the demolition had to be completed before the reconstruction could begin, it nevertheless meant that the real soul could shine through - the light could come in. And the soul became authentic. With it's good and bad. It's not so good and not so bad.
Why was it painful? Because I was really scared. I was really scared of what I might feel. I didn't want any of the feelings. The feelings that went with the events. I knew they existed because they were there whenever I heard about other children being hurt in the same way. But they were never there for me. They still aren't. But the fear of feeling these things for myself was terrifying. I was only just surviving as it was and I knew that should the Pandora's box be opened that contained these feelings then I would go to a place from which I feared there would be no return. My therapist taught me to trust my brain. To trust that it would never take me somewhere that I was not strong enough to cope with. And she has been right. So one of the things that I know for sure is that, should the time ever come when I can feel these things for myself, I will be okay. But if I never do, then that's okay too. It doesn't mean that I don't feel these things for others so that is what is important to me. I can feel the sadness, the anger, the outrage, the disgust for what happens to some children.
The other advantage of the cracks is that they allow you to see what is inside. The inside is no longer hidden. It's no longer a mystery. Or a secret. Sometimes you have to look very carefully to see through the cracks. Sometimes it is only a little peek.. But it means that someone sees. Someone knows what is happening inside. Even when the mask is on, someone can see. If they take the time and they look carefully enough. They can see.
So when I look at the picture above I think about all the cracks in me. And if all those cracks had been filled with gold then I think that I must qualify for (literally!) being "worth my weight in gold". So instead I am worth my weight in glue!
Whether we like it or not, we all have our cracks. But to think of them in the context of light and shining and gold makes them so valuable. And the cost we pay for the cracks is what gives them a value beyond price.