Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cracked plates

I finished Handle with Care the other day. I didn't expect the book to end quite the way it did but my assumptions were correct in how the book was written. Overall, it was a good read and raised interesting points in a variety of issues. It really gives me more respect with those with OI and what their families have to go through both emotionally and financially.

There were two quotes which stuck out for me the most in the book. I'm only going to discuss one here and post the other one at a later time.

At the end of the book, Charlotte says: "Things that break--be they bones, hearts, promises--can be put back together but will never really be whole."

This reminds me a lot about the cracked plate analogy someone once told me. Actually, I've been wanting to post this for awhile but I could not find a cracked plate image, and I wasn't about to break a plate to just photograph. However, ironically, a few weeks ago, my favorite bowl broke. So that image will have to suffice, and then you can be at your own devices to think about a cracked plate if you want. ;-)

At the time I heard the cracked plate analogy, it was in reference to a dog. She had had trauma in her life which was irreparable. Though the owner did her best to help the dog overcome her trauma, and had successful management, it became too much for the dog. The dog continually tried to hold it together, but in the end, the pressure of the crack was too much to bear.

I think about this with myself and so many others. We all have cracks no doubt which leave indelible scars. We all try hard to put on a facade that everything is okay, that our cracked plates are really together. When in fact, they could break at any moment. Then, we are left with the shattered pieces, repairing ourselves which will never truly be the same.

I think about this type of thing a lot, because I think about "wholeness"--how I want to desperately be whole. Maybe I'm just chasing an illusion that will never be there. Maybe I'm tired of just repairing my cracked plate, just lying to myself that it can be the same, different, be something other than what it is.

Related post: succession of a nut


Standing in the Rain said...

great post! i too finished the book yesterday and certainly didn't expect the ending.

anyhow, i see what you are saying with the cracked plate/bowl/heart/whatever theory. it makes me wonder if we are always chasing some sort of "wholeness" we will never find. maybe we'd be better off settling on life with a few cracks...not perfect, but it works?

Lisa said...

I know this isn't entirely the point, but I'm sorry your bowl broke, too. It's really beautiful. Is there a way you could fix it?

Anonymous said...

Your Cracked plate analogy reminds me of what A blogger (Vanessa) wrote a while ago about Event Horizons.
The event horizon is the outer border of a black hole. If you pass it, you can’t escape again. Passing over the boundary doesn't mean the end comes straight away it just means you'll never get out of the hole. She wondered if lives have event horizons, and you can pass over one without realising. It made me think too much.

Lola x

Kristina said...


I thought I replied, but maybe not?!
Like Lisa said, can you fix the plate?
And... I understand completely the broken plate metaphor, and I used to feel like that I was just patched up but the cracks were glaringly apparent to myself and to others.
However, now that I am at a different place and don't feel so broken, I think that people CAN be whole again. That we are more like trees and can suffer damage, but if the roots are strong and the soil is good, we can grow and live.
- Kristina

Gwen said...

When I was younger I was obsessed with wholeness. I felt like there were pieces of me that weren't there that should be. Since I've had my mastectomy, that is actually true now :) I guess in some ways we're all cracked, aren't we? Physically, psychologically. I think that's why people need each other so desperately.

Kara said...

I would like to challenge you and the rest of us (including me) that perhaps we can find a way to be whole - cracks and all...

Gaining Back My Life said...

What a beautiful post, Tiptoe. And that saying at the end of the book - wow.

And I'm with Lisa- what a pity that beautiful pot broke!

Tiptoe said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

STIR, I was hoping for something else in the end--like a happily ever after you know? But I should know by now that her books never end that way. They always leave you asking more questions.

Lola, I read the link of the blog post. I can understand it. I think there have been times when I've definitely thought there were event horizons in my life. Now, I'm not sure, I'm just sort of floating and figuring stuff out.

Kristina, thank you for your inspiration and telling us we can be WHOLE again. The tree is a good example.

Gwen, I agree we do need people to get through in life. Has the masectomy changed the way you feel about yourself?

Kara, yes, a good challenge indeed.

Lisa, Kristina, GBML,
As for the bowl, I think it is a goner unfortunately. It broke where a pre-existing crack was. I don't think it can sustain another crack. So, I'll have to search for another bowl at some point.

Anonymous said...

This is a really great post. I think I (and everyone, really!) can relate to the broken plate theory. But, you know what? Perfection isn't a reality. There can be beauty in being "broken", I think. Like, for me, surgical scars. They should mean that I'm broken, but I see them as beauty/life.
And really, that bowl was quite beautiful. You should've broken up the pieces and made mosaic!

Tiptoe said...

GIAT, Actually, I still have the bowl. I kind of have a hard time braking things on purpose, though I know this bowl doesn't have a life left. But if I get the courage, a mosaic is a great idea.

Gwen said...

tiptoe - the mastectomy has definitely damaged my self-esteem quite a bit. And that's a dangerous thing when you've had an eating disorder. It's been hard keeping the ED thoughts at bay, but I've toughed it out so far and haven't had a full on relapse. Thanks for asking the question!

weigel294 said...

I see it as time to let go, we walk through fire to burn out the we are broken down to be built back up. stop trying to hold on to the brokenness, let it go !!!