Sunday, September 18, 2011

Collecting People- Not a story about skin suits

In Mrs. Simdorn's 5th grade class we had to make a bug collection. Mine was a bit lacking if I'm being completely honest. I didn't give a damn about bugs. I had one cool butterfly and I pretty much hoped it would carry the project. Not only did it do pretty decent (B), but I'm pretty sure everyone else was super jealous of my Tiger Butterfly. No one ever said anything, but duh, right?!

When we received Scholastic book order forms there was always at least one book in the lineup that was about collecting something. It was usually stamps or coins. I ordered the stamp collecting one because I thought it would make me smarter if I collected something. It would also make me stand out. I would be that girl with the kick ass stamp collection with all sorts of rare stamps. It took me all of about 1 day to realize that the only stamp access I had was through the post office. So I could get the holiday stamps or whatever celebrity stamp had just been released, but so could every freaking other person who ever stood at the counter to buy a mother flippin' stamp!

The most success I've had as a collector is visible on the shelves lining one wall of my room. When there is a law passed against making high heeled black shoes (of any sort), I will stop buying them. Since that doesn't seem likely to happen, my collection will inevitably take me to some sort of hoarder level until someone steps in and makes things normal.

But tonight I'm here to dish with you. I've made friends with another collector. My friend refuses to accept the title, but it stands nonetheless. My friend is a collector of broken people. How do I know? Because I am a broken person. Because I am not the first person to identify the trait. Because it bothers my friend enough for me to know that thought has been put into it to create defensive responses over it.... like a hoarder who refuses to believe they are a hoarder.

The deal is... there is nothing wrong with being broken. As we discussed the issue tonight I did my best to explain my thought process on the topic. Broken is beautiful. Would you be offended if someone said you collected art? Is it wrong to appreciate the lines created by a slightly worn brush? There is beauty in imperfection.

Another friend of mine said once that they're broken and basically held together with a lot of superglue. I've adapted this theory over a few years. Have you ever broken a tea cup? You can put it back together with superglue and it will be back to whole. It might not be perfect, but it will be functional. Have you ever looked at a mosaic? Some of the most beautiful mosaic works are made of imperfect tiles, perhaps broken from tiles once perfectly squared and polished. The colors are varied, the edges are different, but once grouted together... they can be breath taking.

People are not that much different. We break, we fall apart, and we survive. We take our emotional superglue and piece by piece we put ourselves back together. We might not look exactly the same, but we're still functional. We might have a superglue seam... but it's almost certain that we won't break in that spot again. The process makes us whole. It makes us beautiful. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

To my friend out there.... keep on collecting your broken people. If you're lucky, you will have an entire gallery full of broken people one day and it will be the most beautiful collection in the world.

PS. Please do not hang them from walls or stuff them and put them on shelves. That might be taking it a little too far.


Bcca Bee said...

First of all, I'm really glad you're not collecting skin suits, because then I may have the call the Feds on you. Secondly, amen to broken people, I is one of them (ohhh ebonics! = love)
Thirdly, even if you turn into the worst kind of hoarder, I promise that with a total hazmat outfit, I will come by and dig you out of your "collection."

That's what friends are for, right?

wagthedad said...

First of all, Angie, you do not strike me as broken. If you are broken, then I am broken, too, and that means that I don't want to be unbroken, because WTF is that? Are the unbroken people all the boring people? That's what it seems like to me.

Nietzsche once used the word "the bungled and the botched." I don't read Nietsche; I stole that from Robin Williams in the Fisher King.

I kind of like the phrase because it makes me think of someone making people out of clay, and the one he or she screws up he just tosses aside.

Why do I like that? Because screw him (or her), that guy willing to toss his bungled and botched away. We are an army. We are strong. There's enough of us to drag the perfect down to our level.

Heh. Heh.

Anyway, I didn't want to spoil your brokenness. Just wanted to say that you seem to be doing quite fine with it.

wagthedad said...

And I guess "bungled and the botched" would be a phrase, not a word, but hey, I guess I'm just a piece of broken clay.

Angie said...

That makes me so happy! If you can wear an 8.5 then feel free to take some of the shoes I'm buried under before you save me. Don't tell me which ones you take because I'll weep no matter what.

I think most people have broken a time or two. It makes us unique, strong, beautiful. So :) I think I'll accept the description with honor. Plus it does sound a LITTLE better than bungled or botched. ;) You're more than a broken piece of clay. You might be a future um... backsplash? hehe

Paula said...

The most important part is being able to pick up all of your pieces and put yourself back together.

Angie said...

Every time I've told myself I couldn't put myself back together again, I've found that it's a little easier than the time before. :)

Left Coast Guy said...

There is beauty in truth just as there is magnificence in that which is no longer whole.


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