I’m Not Broken, I Just Take A Little More Work

I had an old car that was a deathtrap on wheels. The seat belt was broken, it rejected the universal replacement seat belt I ordered, which I didn’t even know it could do. The driver side door handle was broken, so you had to climb in from the passenger side. The check engine light was always on for so many different reasons. I was often amazed it started, and was sometimes amazed it didn’t outright catch fire. But I never thought of it as broken, it just took a little more work, which in some ways made it the perfect car for me because I am not broken, I just take a little more work.

I say this after having just finished Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by author and all around amazing human Jenny Lawson. Simply put, it was amazing. I am a huge fan of Jenny Lawson’s uncanny ability to take on the darkness of mental illness in a light and comedic way, while seamlessly weaving in the serious moments with beautiful wordsmithing. Seriously, she used words I didn’t even know existed. Mostly because they don’t, but still it was amazing.

Two of Jenny Lawson’s published works. Copyright MacMillan Publishing, used here under the Fair Use Doctrine.

It was such a beautiful way of looking at being broken. Because the shiny people we think have it all together are just hiding their cracks. Everyone has their cracks, their burdens. Some more than others, but being open about the brokenness allows you to be, in Jenny Lawson’s words, broken in the best possible way.

And so much of what she wrote were things I could relate to as I laughed out loud to myself and quoted her repeatedly to co-workers who are probably tired of hearing me talk about her book, but that is just too damn bad because we’ve already established that because of my anxiety and depression, I don’t always have control over what is going through my mind.

Yet instead of considering myself broken in the best possible way, mostly because Jenny already used it, I’d rather think of myself as just taking a little more work.

And I say this because Jenny frequently describes the ridiculous situations that arise because of her mental and physical illnesses, just as she does in her other books, and she talks about the amazing people that are in her life not despite her illnesses, but because of them.

In one of her other books she describes an incident where her husband is taking her to the hospital for one of her many health concerns and she said it probably would have been easier if he’d never met her. And he thought about it and replied, “it might be easier, but it wouldn’t be better.”

And I think of that line so many times as the darkness creeps up and I watch those I love having to pick up the slack, as I think that I am such a burden and they would be better off without me. I think about it as I watch as the darkness causes me to disappoint those I love and sometimes, many times, as I watch it disappoint myself.

One of the reasons I write so often on here is so that there is some type of record of the good times when I beat the darkness and of the not good times when the darkness beats me. Yet one of the things that first inspired me to be so open and to start this site was Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy. Because she allows herself to be her. A little different. A little dark. A little light. A little broken. A little right. And maybe people like us aren’t broken. Maybe we just take a little more work. And that is okay because that work makes our relationships so much more amazing. It makes us value the people in our lives in such unique ways. Because being broken in the best possible way is why so many millions of readers love Jenny Lawson’s work. And it is why being a little bit more work can be a reminder that we are worth that work.

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