Piece by piece

I hate to admit that I am weaker than I seem. For years I have spent seasons of my life attempting to make myself stronger, hiding my fears and concealing my sadness under the veil of strength. I have vowed not to become my circumstances, nor the person who created them.

My father.

I truly believe that if life had taken a different course, I may have become a different person. I may not have struggled for a number of years to find myself worthy, nor self-deprecate. I would not have selected romantic partners that would leave me feeling empty, creating a void of disappointment for myself as I would select a boyfriend who would make me feel ignored or unappreciated.

And yet, I regret nothing. If my life circumstances would have been different than they ultimately were, I would never have realized my strength. I would not have found the will to face some of the most challenging trials in my life. I would have never known that at my core, I am a person driven by love for my family, and that in creating a family, I could learn to love myself.

This morning I sat at my desk, checking the same social networks I frequent, when I came upon a video of a recent performance Kelly Clarkson delivered to an audience on the final season of American Idol, the show which launched her signing career in to the national spotlight. In this particular performance, Kelly sang the song, “Piece by Piece,” a song about the father who abandoned her family at the age of 6, and the man who restored her faith in love and acceptance.

I felt the familiar weight of emotion balloon in my throat as her performance continued, relating to her on a level that only those who have experienced this type of loss can understand. The warmth of tears crowded the corners of my eyes, and I did not let them fall. Not because I did not want to express the emotion behind them, but because I came to a very important realization.

Even the strongest person can be a little broken.

Broken does not imply that we are defective, or that we do not deserve to be treated in the proper way. Broken merely means that we shattered, and in the aftermath, we put our pieces together, and continued living.

So in that moment, I did not cry for the loss of a father I never truly knew. I cried, for the gain of a woman stronger than she should have had to be.

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