Broken Things


Perfectionism skews my perspective to the point that, sometimes, I can only see imperfection. I see the snag in the carpet, the scratch on the glass, the weeds in the yard, the scuff on the shoe, the crease in a page, and the chipped paint. At times, I can readjust my focus and pull back to see the beautiful whole of everything.

But not always.

In February, I got a new Macbook Air, which was a big deal because my old Macbook Pro still worked (though the spinning rainbow wheel was my near constant companion) and because it was something just for me. I'll admit that I felt guilty about buying it but the guilt quickly gave way to a swell of gratitude. It was shiny and beautiful and so light. I got a new case and it was so compact and easy to carry around that I easily imagined myself writing in coffee shops across the city, drinking coffee and finishing my novel. I was completely smitten in that way new things can make us feel.


About three weeks ago, I went to the Mom2.0 conference in Pasadena as part of the social media team and, on the way home, I removed it from it's sleek sleeve while going through airport security and in the rush to put myself and my things back in order after, I forgot to zip the case. I went to grab something to eat and when I shifted the case into my arms, my computer slipped out of the case and fell to the ground. I quickly picked it up and immediately felt sick when I saw the smashed corner. I opened it and the screen was intact and it still worked but, in my eyes, it was ruined. I texted Luisa to tell her and because she knows me so well, she immediately offered to give me hers and take mine. I'll admit I was tempted but I told her that I knew there was a lesson to be learned in this and I was just sad. Actually, I think the word I used was "devastated." 

For the first week after I got home, all I could see was the smashed corner and I hated it. But, as with most things, I got used to it. I still see it but I can look at it now without the sick feeling I had before and can feel grateful again that I have a nice computer on which I can work. And I've now realized that the real lesson isn't about the computer but about learning to accept and love all the flaws I find in life. Because it's not just the broken things but the imperfect in myself that I struggle to accept - the wrinkles around my eyes, the aging skin of my neck, the age spots on my hands and the shifting landscape of my body. I can't trade this body in for something new and shiny, so, I have to learn to look at my perceived flaws and still see the whole and the goodness with gratitude. I'm learning this again and again.