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. When my memoir was published,  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.”

No one has shied away from me when I tell them I’m struggling this Fall. They still want to do lunch, meet for coffee, go for walks, and keep engaging.  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



31 thoughts on “Beauty from Broken Pieces

  1. I just want you to know that I learn so much from you and that you encourage me with every post of yours that I read to come out of hiding. It is so hard. It is so scary. It feels so dangerous. Thank you for being an example. I know things are still difficult for you but you sharing your process is a treasure for my heart. You get it. You get me…without even knowing me…It’s so helpful to read others stories and to be able to connect to it and learn and grow, and to not feel so alone. You have provided that for me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful, and it’s also very interesting. I just read someone’s post (Spiritual Journey) where she talked about keeping a rock as a way to be in tune with the earth and to be grounded. I think you instinctively knew all along that this was naturally helpful 😉

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  3. What a beautiful inspiring post. Honesty is really all we have to give the world if we want to be authentic. That kind of approach flushes out tbe negative shaming people, since we are no longer shaming ourselves so much. Your story is inspirational and I love the concept of beauty through reassembling and owning our broken pieces, what a powerful metaphor. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Im so sorry to hear about your husband. That must be very scary! And for you, my friend I send soothing peace to ease your anxiety. I have loved seeing the puppy pics on FB. She is a lovely girl.
    Lots of love to you. ❤️❤️❤️


  5. Lovely post my dear friend! Sorry I have disappeared recently. My puppy has been keeping me very busy and hubby has also been struggling with hallucinations for the last month, which is something completely new to him! He has been very poorly recently and I have been rather anxious myself! I know this time of year is extremely difficult for you but know that you are loved and thought of often, even if I am not in touch. I love Beauty from Broken pieces…You are definetely beautiful despite the broken pieces of your past. hugs xxx ❤

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  6. I’m also experience an awakening, or as you call it a journey of openness, right now, and I’ve also noticed that the narcissists in my life are becoming less pivotal. I’m an empath, so I have (or had) a lot of those in my life. I think it’s because when we begin to face ourselves, we reach out to other people for emotional support, or I have, and narcissists just aren’t equipped for that. Two of the most important people in my life are narcissists… it’s going to be a bumpy ride. [I just realized I had I lot of inner thoughts on this, so I think you’ve inspired me to go write.]

    Thank you so much for sharing! My partner has PTSD, so it’s really helpful to see things from your perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

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