“Broken glass. It’s just like glitter, isn’t it?”
― Pete Doherty
As I get older I realize that the world can be divided between two kinds of people, the ones that want to repair things and those who don’t. For some, the way to go on about life is to drive over speed-bumps as fast as possible without ever looking back. For the other kind of people however, much time is spent looking back, analyzing and fixing the cracks in the asphalt, and even wondering how accidents could have been avoided and how much responsibility belongs to whom.
“Who fixes broken people? Is it only other broken people, ones who’ve already been ruined? And do we need to be fixed? It was the messiness and hurt in our pasts that drove us, and that same hurt connected us at a subdermal level, the kind of scars written so deeply in your cells that you can’t even see them anymore, only recognize them in someone else.”
― Leah Raeder, Unteachable
I’ve had this conversation many times with a friend- the role of heartbreak in the development of empathy… Although it seems that experience has taught us both that heartbreak can have differing effects; some shut down and others learn to cultivate the vulnerability that had once seemed to break them. My friend and I, we’ve gone from heartbreak to heartbreak and it made us the way we are. It also made us too careful, too afraid to impose our needs. In the end, each path has its cons and benefits. The world is made of shades of grey.
For those who’ve learned compassion from pain, who’ve chosen to be kind at the risk of being duped, we got caught in trap of doctoring others, of thinking it’s our duty to bring the ones we love back to health. We became models of infinite patience, trading our wants and needs for the “better” of humankind. We forgot that acts of charity start at home, and we didn’t even win the battle we had set forth to win; to conquer through understanding, tolerance and love… It was naive and we exhausted ourselves. We were foolhardy and unintentionally condescending, thinking that our own heartbreaks provided us with knowledge for the heartbreaks of others. All a lie. Because after all, every heart breaks differently.
“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” –Kristin Armstrong
And yet, here we are, still idealists, still hopeful, still trying. Maybe not innocently so, but with a little luck perhaps, experience will guide our steps better in the future. I like to think that we’ll keep trying, that we’ll keep having faith in others and give them benefit of the doubt, except that maybe this time, we’ll safeguard ourselves better and refuse to excuse others when they don’t want to be excused.
I’m the kind of person that tried to repair everything… I know that breaking is part of life, but I hope to get to a point when I’ll be able to prevent even that.