June 18, 2014

Manifesto for the Broken. ~ Cora Ison

broken man sad

Warning: naughty language ahead!

Where’s a girl to turn when her insides are unreliable?

When the very gut instinct that is supposed to guide her is askew?

“Trust yourself,” the yogis say. I laugh at this notion because normally, on any given day I fluctuate between completely nuts and definitively sad. Spending a lifetime asking yourself “why am I like this?” breeds insecurity and mistrust with yourself.

Years spent contemplating why you are so different from everyone else, and why everyone else seems to have it all together and you don’t is disheartening, to say the least.

Lately I have been contemplating the notion that when people ask me to be something or someone other than who I am, they are doing so to serve their own purpose. It is not out of intentions for what is best for me, but what is best for them.

However, when I am the one asking myself to be someone other than I am, what purpose is that serving? More so, whose purpose is that serving; is there a division inside myself? Why do I have this notion that there is a part of me that is inherently wrong?

When I get into fits of reflection, and start to drown in my own humanness, I wonder: did people back in the early 1900’s plowing fields have these thoughts? Did they struggle with their humanity?

Did they contemplate themselves constantly and try to get in touch with their “feelings”? Or has this only become more common in the past few generations because our choices are much more vast and expansive than the folks who came before us?

I don’t ever remember hearing my Grandma sit around with her friends talking about where she was really headed in life. She took care of her family, cooked and seemed relatively happy.

She didn’t spend hours meditating, reading self help books or pondering the voice on the inside and who it was that was doing all the talking in there.

I have read books on meditation that tell you when you hear that voice inside, know that you are not that voice, but that you are the observer of that voice. This perspective is amusing, because the stuff that goes on in there is downright hilarious most of the time.

This begs the question, if I am the observer, then who is doing the talking?

I say, it’s me. There are several mes, and she is one of them.

She is broken. Most of the time she is needy and wants others to take responsibility for the mistakes that she makes. She is vulnerable and confused and full of self defeat. She is sure that she has screwed things up most of the time and feels that everyone is so much better at this than she is. She has a sphere of safety, of comfort, and it serves to seal off everything that is unsafe, or perceived as dangerous or different.

She uses that ring as self defense, but it comes across as judgment. She judges most things around her, to avoid being hurt, though by doing so, she ends up hurting others. She imagines that she is a great problem solver, however most of the time her solutions leave her lonely.

I wish she would just shut up.

She is loud and intrusive and not all that interesting to listen to. She says the same stuff day after day, no matter if things are good or bad. She is nosey. She acts innocent, but really she is relentless.

On the other side of this, there is the part of me that is observing this dialogue. There is the higher self that bears witness to this lunacy and laughs about it. “There she goes again” we say. We shake our head in pity…she will never change.

I have spent most of my life as the type of person who will avoid discomfort at all costs. I will do anything to avoid pain.

And I mean anything.

I will dodge people, situations and circumstances that I perceive as things that will not turn out well because I simply do not want to feel uncomfortable for even a moment. Why this hesitance to discomfort? It’s not as if time will freeze and I will remain in that moment for eternity. Time and time again it has been proven to me that “this too shall pass.” Feelings of pain, grief, sorrow, depression…all those creeps, the whole lot of them, they never stick around long.

So why on earth are they so terrifying?

I think they are scary because they are so dominant. When they come in the room, all of the joy, and love and happiness in my life cowers in their presence. I forget all reasons why I am amazing, I forget all of the ways I bless the people around me, I forget that I am a fucking human being who for the most part, really rocks at this thing called life.

Those big bad creeps come around, and they bully me into silence. They provoke fights with me, they remind me of all the times I’ve screwed up in my life and point out how, whatever situation I find myself in, is only the most recent example of why I suck.

sisters friends

If you have felt this before, you are my sister, or my brother. We are soldiers of the soul. We are people who are just a little more sensitive to this world than others around us.

We feel things a little too deeply and take life just a little too seriously.

We are seekers.

And though we be broken, though we be wounded, when we are on fire, when our passion ignites to do what it is that we were put here to do…look out.

We are movers and shakers. The impact we have carries enormous weight and depth. There is no surface stuff with us. Everything is done in the deep end of the pool when swimming in our league. We don’t dip a toe in, we dive. And though we plummet quickly, we were at great heights, so it matters not. We will not hit the earth, we will not crash, for our wingspan is wide enough to carry us through the valleys, wide enough to carry you as well, if we need to.

When you talk to us, you will know you have been heard, and when you share your sorrow with us, though you may feel as though you have sunk deeper into the mud, you will know that we will burrowed our feet in there with you, and you no longer stand alone.

We, the broken, are a tough crew.

Here’s how you can recognize us: you will know us by the look in our eyes. You will know that we are not people who count losses and gains through achievement and success, but wins of the heart.

We will appear weathered from having withstood the battering of life, of disappointment, of turbulent winds that have torn at our outers.

We stand with our muddied hands palm up, open to receiving what the world births in us, and around us. We are laborers of the field, tanned by the sun who we revere because it reminds us that the world does not revolve around us, but her.

We carry bags of life on our shoulders, full of the fruit of the earth, be it soured, be it plentiful, we do not discard what we have been given. We put it to use.

You will recognize us by the inherent frown in our brow, our seeming skepticism of those who approach. Though utter us a kind word, and we will relax into the palm of your hand. We are hoping to find more like us—won’t you join us? Won’t you share the stories of your life with us and in doing so, help us become more acutely alive to our own lives?

If you are broken, we will stop the cracks long enough for you to drink from your own vessel, but only long enough for you understand that the more you put in your cup, the less the losses that leak out will affect you.

Find us, won’t you?

You will know us, and we will know you. We are waiting.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Bhumika Bhatia/Flickr, Sara/Flickr

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