The Beauty of Broken Women

By: Susan Sohn

Are broken women the new black? Have the tables finally turned on the demands of perfectionism for women? After all, isn’t perfectionism the thin veil we hide behind that keeps us safe from people seeing the real us? Is perfectionism actually the wet blanket that keeps us safe because we fear that the world or people won’t really like us or like what they see….. because, in all honesty, the perfectionist doesn’t like herself?

If that’s the case then why has the myth of superwoman and the craziness of perfect overridden who we really are? Have we allowed this? Did we get sucked into a narrative that caused us to deny the truth of who we are or where we are in life? Have we denied the fragmentation of our lives so much that we’ve limped through in an effort to be who others needed us to be? Have we, in fact, denied ourselves?  Aren’t we all broken in some way, shape or form? I know I’ve lived through brokenness. Through broken dreams, broken heart, and pain that has run deep at times.

I love the words so eloquently crafted in Brene Brown’s Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted, it resonates with me. In my book that came out in December (published by Broadstreet Publishing) I share stories of women who have been broken and have found that resilience is their strength to carry on.

I’m posing this question (to whoever reads this) for a number of reasons.

1.  because I believe wholeheartedly that we need to live free of shame and guilt and out of the shadows of our pain that have kept us hidden.

2. I’m seeing brokenness everywhere and it’s like there is this gravitational pull towards it. People are finding their voice in and through others who are choosing to be real.

3. We are all tired of fake. It’s old. It’s a killer and it’s exhausting.

4. If we are always focusing on the future or what’s next, we are being robbed of the truth of today. That message is telling us to ignore what’s real today and just look to the future for healing and goodness. All the good stuff seems to be somewhere else and the awkward, uncomfortable and painful are dismissed.

5. Pain and brokenness isn’t a bad thing that needs to be ignored or swept under the carpet.

If we look at some of the strong influential voices right now they have all stood up and bravely spoken out about their truth, their pain and their brokenness; Brene Brown, Glennon Melton Doyle, Jen Hatmaker, Diana Butler Bass, Anne Lamont, Lisa Gungor, Jaime Wright (just to name a few). This is something I’ve done in my book, I did my best to weave my own story throughout the stories of countless women that I interviewed across the globe. It’s a work that I’m super excited to share although fully anticipating a vulnerability hangover….. but guess what? That’s okay and I won’t be alone.

I was talking to someone the other day about the book, which by the way is called, True You: Finding Beauty in Authenticity and I said that I feel like it’s going to be another opportunity for people to EXHALE. I, on the other hand, will be holding my breath until I hear from some of you who read it :).

Consider some of the recent popular shows on TV: The Handmaid’s Tale. We are fascinated by the insanity of the show. Gilead is a totalitarian society ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property. Apparently, this was written based on aspects taken from certain countries which is the craziness of it all. Viewers are equally captivated and absolutely freaked out about the fact that ‘it could be’ and rather than ‘praise be’ they are saying, ‘what the actual’? Through this show, we watch Offred played by Elizabeth Moss become more and more broken and it’s her that we relate to. Her pain is real. Her lived experience painfully close to home for many whether it be through rape, control or loss of identity. Her facial expressions alone allow us to process our own pain as her character lives through hers.

What about Big Little Lies? A cast of A-list actresses (Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz) play incredible characters. Immaculately dressed suburban mothers, successful husbands, stunning children and incredible homes. They are seemingly living lives of envy yet beneath the sheen and gloss there are rumours, fractured relationships between couples, parents and children and friendships. Characters endure domestic violence, there is the addiction to drugs, alcohol and careers. Pain is riddled through the storyline and again, viewers are captivated because finally, we are getting a glimpse into reality.

Life isn’t perfect, we don’t live in a world void of pain, sadness, rejection. Yes, tomorrow is another day and maybe the best is yet to come but for most, today is all that can be dealt with and thankfully we are finally in a place where we are saying enough is enough. Let me process, let me feel this and let me walk through it at my own speed because (as you’ll hear me say in my book) when the truth is out, we can walk through anything. Let’s stop with the shame and blame game and let’s give ourselves and everyone else permission to be whether that be broken, fractured or put back together and putting one foot in front of the other.

Let’s put on our pom poms and cheer each other on one step at a time and accept that it’s okay not to be okay.

Article supplied with thanks to Susan Sohn.

About the Author: Susan is a self confessed social media ‘maverick’ whose focus on others leads her to connect people to stories and one another.

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