Beauty from Broken Pieces

I don’t hide in the shadows any longer. It was a conscious decision, although at the time I didn’t really know what that meant. My memoir was published a year ago. I went from no one knowing my story to letting the whole world know my story. It’s more than a story, it’s my life, my truth. It’s true that I don’t lay out all the sordid details of my past in my book, and very few people in my life have earned the right to hear all the details, but, I share enough of myself and the resulting struggles I have with PTSD that I’m comfortable with the volume of my voice and that I’m being heard and making some wonderful connections.

I still struggle every day. It’s the way it is for me. Fall is a particularly hard time of year. Now, instead of pretending all is well while feeling like my soul is being crushed into jagged shards, I’m honest with people. I have learned self-compassion. Instead of saying, “I’m fine” coupled with a thinly veiled smile, I say, “I’m triggered, I feel shitty, and I’m trying really hard to stay present.”

To my surprise, no one has turned their back on me this fall and shied away. They still want to do lunch, meet for coffee, go for walks, and keep engaging. This is new for me. While hiding in the shadows and always trying to be okay, I was unreachable. I was still social but it was different. I had a thick wall up, and my social circle was different. Aside from a core group of very good friends, I was surrounding myself with people who sometimes bordered on narcissistic. I was attracting those kinds of people because it was comfortable for me. I could navigate that personality. If fed my desire to hide. A funny thing happened when I emerged from the shadows after Untangled was released. The narcissists dropped me like a hot potato. I’m not sure why? But when that happened; it opened the door for some wonderful people who are also starting to emerge or have come from their own shadows to enter my life.

I was having coffee the other day with a friend who is just beginning her journey of openness. It’s tough, especially for someone like her, who is a bubbly, open-hearted, extrovert. She has had an extraordinary struggle in her life. Her truth is real, and it’s shocking, and it’s gut-retching, and it’s her past. My friend, like me, had to repress her past in order to have a life.  Until that sneaky past caught up to her and she knew that if she wanted a fulfilling present and a hopeful future she had to look at these things square in the face and deal with them. I don’t know if she has PTSD, I don’t ask. But I relate to and greatly admire the courage she displays in the face of such turmoil and growth right now.

As we were having coffee, she brought out a package wrapped in netting and a ribbon. It was the beautiful rock that is pictured in this post. Rocks are extremely important to me. I started connecting with them when I was alone and being tortured in a country far from home. I picked up a white rock, put it in my pocket and knew that if I died and no one found me, I at least had a solid connection to something; a rock, the earth. I still have that rock in my jewelry box. Since then, I pick up rocks from everyday random and also wonderous places. I give rocks as gifts and use rocks as an activity when I do creativity workshops.

Coming out of the shadows is still a new way of life, and sometimes it still feels like an enormous risk. I feel broken, mostly from having to live with the symptoms of PTSD, but when I put that beautiful rock, with the pieces of glass, the double spiral beads and felt the solid heft weighing in my palm, I felt overcome with tears of gratitude and connection. Connections are what ground me. I found it was a constant struggle to let people connect to me when I lived in the shadow of fear.

My friend, who had no idea what rocks meant to me, said that she loves to create things from broken glass. She calls it Beauty from Broken Pieces. To me, that is a beautiful mantra for all us. You can’t get through adulthood without having some broken pieces, but we can find some beauty in our shards.



Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

59 thoughts on “Beauty from Broken Pieces

  1. Lori, thank you so much for sharing this with me. Not putting pressure on yourself to get your story written, and knowing that you are doing it for yourself such good self-care. I would love to know what you think if you decide to read Untangled or If I Could Tell You How It Feels.
    Writing had been my most powerful healing tools. I understand the fear, and Im glad your parts have kept your site active. Your truth is important and you all get to tell it the way it feels the safest. It took me a long time to be able to say, I know this is just programming and Im not going to listen to it.
    You are brave and Im glad we’ve connected. 😊


  2. Alexis, thank you for your bravery in sharing your truth. I have DID and have recently decided to share my story too. Some of my parts have expressed fear and I’ve almost shut down my site several times but haven’t.
    Our stories are real, and telling them allows other people living in fear or shame due to past trauma to feel more at ease and know they’re not alone.
    I’d love to read your book! I’m in the process of writing a memoir about Dissociative Identity Disorder, it’s a difficult task because of my history of Programming and extreme torture. But even if it takes me years to complete, I’m doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank You! I appreciate your feedback so much. Sometimes its hard to share the truth, that vulnerable feeling is excruciating sometimes, but I keep practicing. Your feedback helps…plus we get to pull for each other. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Esther

    Hi Alexis. I know opening up about all, even though not all, would be a difficulty. I still struggle with myself on that issue, but I believe that act alone is a very brave one.
    It is an inspiring one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is truely amazing at how someone but basically the other side of the world could have been so honest. ..being honest could sometimes mean opening up our hearts and soul which in a way could be taken against us…but this one is bravely written.

    I truely wish you the best of peoplea around

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on A Call to Witness and commented:
    Isaiah 61:3

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
    To give them beauty for ashes,
    The oil of joy for mourning,
    The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
    That they may be called trees of righteousness,
    The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you so much! When I can move such a talented writer as yourself, wow, that makes me feel good. You have such a beautiful spirit, your truth comes out in your short stories, when there is pain in the story or with one of the characters you can feel it. Have a wonderful weekend Gina. 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a beautiful share Alexis, and it comes straight from your heart that continues to look for love among brokenness, love for humanity and all the good things taken away from a time long ago but somehow still comes back to haunt you, I know those feelings so well and I have hid and am still in hiding for I am afraid i will crumble if I open up, so i am really proud to read that you are brave and live life with hope and keep moving forward, it’s a huge inspiration and motivation for people like me, still stuck in the hurt. I loved the creating something pretty out of broken things, too often we throw things away and never see the beauty they could be, a little battered but still worthy, that’s how i feel after reading your post. thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi alexis, I have found by honouring my true feelings and not hiding my narrative. My truth that people start to open up about themselves. They are able to become more vulnerable. This is a strength in my opinion. I’m glad you are having positive experiences from sharing your story and looking after yourself x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Iyanla Vanzant has a book called Peace from Broken Pieces about her own journey, so I think this post is fitting and relevant for many. Thanks again for sharing your story. I’m sure you’ve made it “okay” for others to open up and be authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tamara, thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate knowing that Im successful with writing in a relateable and not overwhelming style. That really does mean a lot to me. I love your insight into the narcissist behavior, just so spot on. The fan-club statement is completely accurate. Im glad you are out of that marriage, and hoping that your grand-baby has is healthy and she is cancer free. Rest well my friend! Alexis


  12. Tamara Kulish

    Wonderful and honest! You have a way of imparting just enough so we understand your struggles and yet not too much that it would be overwhelming!

    Why did the narcissists drop you? Well, by revealing who you are, you stopped being just an audience to them! They intrinsically knew that more would be required of them! They’d need to put in at least half the effort you put into them, and that’s already too much for them to do! Don’t get me wrong, they’re not lazy, they just want all their energy and all of your’s to revolve around them, not even be 50-50!

    Those aren’t true relationships… They’re more like fan clubs, if you will!

    My second husband was a staunch narcissist! The stronger I became, the more he tried to pull me backwards and the rockier the marriage got! When my baby granddaughter got rediagnosed with cancer four years ago and I came out to help my daughter with the kids, he was having meltdowns on the phone with me because he was no longer the focus of my time and attention! He was resentful of a sick baby! Oh, he didn’t say so, but his acting out told a different story! Yup, I divorced him! Should have done it sooner, but a narcissist is an expert at the con, and drawing us back in!

    I think you’re better off now! Much better off!

    Peace, Tamara

    Liked by 3 people

  13. That is interesting. My annuversary is coming up next week. So you must be one of my first blogs. With all due respect, I think you are a sweetheart. I know in these politically correct times we aren’t supposed to say that. But I think you are sweet. Pleasyre to follow your blog. And I was touched by this post.

    Be happy. Be well. Remember you have a friend here.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ruth-Anne thank you so much for your comment. Im glad to hear you resisted and didnt delete your blog. We can support each other through our healing journeys. I love your comment about the good magic. It made me smile and brought some much needed peace at the moment. Have a wonderful weekend. 💕 Alexis

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Reading you today was comforting. Connections are indeed grounding and as I’m in my moment of baby steps into public sharing I appreciate your transparency regarding the process. This morning I wanted to delete my blog, again. My devotion stopped me. My baby sister collected rocks all through our childhood; big, fist sized boulders which she kept in a painted jewelry box. Nature has always been a good, nonjudgmental friend.
    I also love that the power of your truthful sharing scared all the narcs away. What good magic.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thanks, I needed to hear this today! I myself am made entirely of broken pieces and I simply try to keep them in place. It’s the opening up that was hard for me. Telling people I’m feeling not comfortable here instead of just sneaking out and leaving them wondering. Have a good day!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Thank You! Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I think the blessings come into my life more and more, certainly through this lovely blogging community too, which you are solidly a part of, in fact I think you were one of the first followers I had when I started blogging last October. So thank you for all your support the past 11 months. 😃 Alexis

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thank you for this honest post. It must have been difficult for you to write this. I hope each new day brings you a dozen blessings. I hope you have learned enough about yourself and your true worth, so you do not have to surround yourself with the wrong people.

    You deserve so much more. Be happy. Be well.

    Liked by 7 people

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