Broken Woman, Phenomenal Woman
I like to describe myself as a “broken cookie." One of my mentors/friends used that in a conversation that we had about relationships, and I immediately adopted the phrase. It felt like it fit me perfectly.
I don’t particularly like getting close to too many people, but I like getting to know people; understanding who they are, how they work, what makes them “tick." I believe that I have this strange gift to see a person’s “true self” instead of the facade that we all like to project to the world as a means of protecting ourselves. It’s my intuition kicking in, and I can’t shake the feeling. Anything can trigger my insight: a subtle glance, a small smile, a gesture, the words coming out of one’s mouth... But it’s actually an uncontrollable and terrifying gift to have-- to be able to figure out the person behind the mask, know a bit about their life story, their insecurities, their potential. I “read” people. I “read” people, and I adjust accordingly. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve been told that I tend to say the right thing at the right time, which warms my heart.
It aligns perfectly with my passion for psychology; I plan to become a psychologist, open a private practice, and help people with the problems that bring them to my office. But while part of that passion stems from my gift, it’s also fueled by my deep, dark belief that everyone is truly broken inside, like me. I want people to know that it’s ok to be broken, to know that they’re not alone. And it reminds me that I’m not actually alone, either.
I often forget.
It’s funny, actually, how much you don’t realize how exactly your upbringing influences who you become. Now that I look back, I understand perfectly how my insecurities came to be and how my family and childhood were facets of that psychological brokenness. Feeling like your best wasn’t good enough, feeling like you were ugly and unlikeable, feeling like no one truly understood you or cared to know who you were, feeling like your thoughts and feelings didn’t really matter (not even to the people closest to you). The worst part was realizing that people around you reaffirmed your insecurities, time and time again, to this day. Even people who you thought were genuine, close bonds. I tried to talk about these problems, tried to let people in on the way that my mind worked, but I quickly learned that people genuinely didn’t care. I felt like my mind was just in a completely different realm, unreachable by others. I felt alone and I felt lonely. So I learned from my mistakes-- I barely let people in. I internalized my problems and shoved them deep down. Instead, the problems would resurface in forms of anxiety and stress that I couldn’t manage, but even those complaints were surface-level depending on who I talked to. I perfected putting a smile on my face because “that’s what people wanted to see.”
So now, I try to be good at fixing people’s problems, at providing them with a solution. It’s kind of like a temporary fix to my own problems. At the same time, I trivialize my own personal problems and emotions. I beat myself up for getting upset at something, forcing myself to move on and to “keep moving forward” (my favorite motto). I don’t give myself time to really sit in my feelings and insecurities, because that’s unacceptable. I don’t like showing people just how much of a “broken cookie” I am, because they don’t need to know, nor do they care.
Recently, though, I’ve learned that it’s ok to be a “broken cookie." I realize that not letting myself be the person that I truly am is actually tearing me apart-- physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m not treating myself in the best way that I can. I’m becoming someone unrecognizable.
And that’s scary.
If I try to give this advice to others-- that it’s ok to be vulnerable, to be raw, to be themselves-- then I must take it myself. Granted, I still have to be selective about who I let in on my brokenness, but getting in touch with who I truly am, flaws and all, is the first step toward self-actualization and inner peace. I want that peace to reflect in how I carry myself, how I live my life. I want it to translate to others. I want to help continue this chain of vulnerability, of stories, of rawness, of love. But I have to start with my “broken cookie” self.
'Cause I am a broken woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.