Trigger Warning: self harm and other similar themes
We're all fucked up. I forget that sometimes. We're all broken in some little way that becomes like a hole in a pair of tights. There's no fixing it; it can only get worse. I find myself judging people sometimes because of how they deal with their broken bits.
Some people wear them like a new outfit to show off.
Others wear them like a suit of armour, warding people off.
After all, who could love a broken person.
Most people try to hide their broken. Bury it down so deep you can almost forget it's there sometimes.
You're okay. Honest.
Sometimes the broken is too big to hide. It leaks out little by little like an old hose. If you try to plug the leaks, it explodes.
At the drop of a pin.
Does that make sense? You can't just hide it. It's a living thing that grows and feeds on you, possesses you, always there. Was there a point to this? You could say that.
It was a long and arduous Friday. My broken had gotten to me that day. You could see it in my eyes and behind my smile. It now lay contentedly in my pocket, tucked away but easy to reach if necessary. I told it I would let it out when we got home; I just had one more thing to do. I promised a friend I would help them teach their safety class. As the assistant, I had to stand around and look pretty, waving vaguely, and adding commentary when I thought necessary. First order of business: roll call. Ah, unpronounceable names coupled with my terrible spelling. We counted who was there by who had turned in their papers.
"Alright, who's name didn't I call?"
A small peppering of kids raised their hands and went out to the hall to look for their papers in their bags. All but one returned with papers proudly clutched in hand or with downcast eyes and a promise to bring their stuff next week. I scanned the list to see who still needed to turn them in. After grazing it, I realized my name wasn't on there. I excused myself and rushed out before I could get chewed out. I felt a stirring in my pocket.
No, no no not right now.
That was when I noticed the girl still in the hall. She was curled up defensively, shaking. I could see her broken spilling out around her with every tremor that wracked her body. My broken shivered with her, urging me over to her. I kneeled down next to her, her broken staining my knees.
"Are you okay?" Stupid question, I know.
She slowly sat up to look at me. Her broken had cracked her face and oozed from her eyes. I knew this girl though. Every boy and most girls wanted to get with her because of her reputation. I've heard so many descriptions of what people would do with her, and she soaked in all the attention. I've never seen her with anything less than a smirk on her face and a flirt on her lips. She's broken the hearts of many people I've had to stitch back together. I didn't like her much, but everyone else did, so I kept quiet. I had never before thought about why she had this reputation. It followed her from middle school. My mind ran the statistics. Pretty, young girl with no way to defend herself. It was just one of many possibilities. I realized that while I knew her, I knew nothing about her. Who was I to judge how she dealt with her broken? Mine nagged me at night, urged me to pick up the scissors. It drew me away from large groups. It chipped away at my skin when I knew I was worthless. I gave in to mine. How can I judge for giving in to hers?
I sat and listened as she talked, gathering up fragments as they fell from her lips. I held them as they soaked into my skin, weighing less to me than they did to her. She talked mainly of school and the pressures, failing math, assignments, history (I can attest that class is hell led by a cheerful, old demon). Everything had been piling up and losing her papers was the final stone that shattered her. People came out looking for us as she was finishing up. She repeated parts of her story for them, wiping the broken from her face. They gave the usual If you ever need help talk to me. My year was tough too. We gotta stick together through this. Chin up.
I didn't say anything. When people talked, I listened. That's the way it always is. Most people just want someone to talk to anyway. The gathered group of people didn't see the broken they were stepping in. It soaked into the soles of their shoes, tainting them. Fragments pierced the bottom of their trainers. I wanted to cry out, tell them, but before I could, their broken welcomed the foreign substance into themselves. The remaining bits she gathered up and stuffed back within herself.
The rest of the class went by smoothly. I pointed in all the right spots, emphasizing important parts, and assisted with elegance. I did all this with a distracted mind. Everyone else seemed to brush off the experience. They had seen this sort of thing before. They weren't there when it mattered though. I saw a girl I thought didn't care about anything, didn't let anything get to her, sobbing uncontrollably on the tile. I could see her falling apart. A girl who, ten minutes ago, was flirting with the teacher. Stepping back into class, her entire demeanor changed. Unless you saw her crying, you could hardly tell she had been upset. She was back to her perky old self, except for her eyes. Her broken shifted through them and clung to you when she looked your way.
That moment is forever ingrained in my mind. I watch people sometimes and wonder what their broken is and where they keep it. I watch them and want to help them. Take all their broken from them and make it mine. They deserve to live better. When I see these people, I feel my broken wrap it's fingers around my neck, pulling me back. Our broken controls us, or it kills us. It taunts us like puppets on a string, knowing either way we go, it wins. It always wins, and we're powerless to stop it ourselves.
That doesn't stop me, though. I listen and collect small pieces of others. I cherish each of their stories more than my life.
We're all fucked up, and I don't think I can forget that anytime soon.