I broke. But I’m not broken.

I broke.

There’s a difference between breaking and being broken. To break is to fall apart. To shatter. To BE broken is to linger in that state: pieces on the floor, jagged edges sharp and untouchable.

Picture… a teapot. Sure, why not. This teapot seemed perfectly fine when it left the factory. In fact, it was very valuable; when it was brought home the whole family came to admire it.

But maybe the teapot came with an issue no one could see. Maybe its walls were a little thinner, less resilient than the others in its lot. Maybe it was unevenly manufactured. Imbalanced.

Over time, the porcelain began to discolour. It retained the memories of all the tea it has made. You can’t see this darkness unless you look inside. But it’s there.

The teapot isn’t flawless any more.

At first the problems are small; tiny spider web cracks lengthening and connecting, forming spots that can’t be trusted to be strong. You can see them if you know what to look for: hair-fine fault lines marring the rest. You might make a note to yourself to be gentler, not to put too much pressure on something that is already falling apart.

The word for cracking porcelain is crazing.

Then one day you pick up this teapot, just like you have every day of your life, and it shatters in your hand. Everything it held inside bursts out, making a mess so big it seems it will never be cleaned up. Some pieces will cut you when you try to retrieve them. Others don’t seem to fit anywhere. It’s overwhelming. You gather the pieces up as best you can and dump them in a box to deal with later.

Months pass. You take up cross-stitch, you knit, you watch terrible reality TV just to keep yourself distracted. You stay up all night because every time you close your eyes you see those broken pieces and you can’t imagine how you’ll begin to put them back together. And unless you’re willing to throw it all away you’ve got to fix this at some point.

You learn to ask for help. Someone to help hold the pieces together while the glue dries. You learn to accept the pot’s new limitations. You handle it more carefully. You let yourself appreciate its imperfections, its tiny missing chips. And while you worry every day that it may shatter again, you wake in the morning and use it anyway. After all, it’s the only teapot you have.

I broke. But I’m not broken.

If you are struggling with mental illness, you are not alone. Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day to raise awareness of mental illness and to support those affected. For every post today on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, Bell Canada will donate 5 ¢ to Canadian mental health initiatives that support people like me.

A Love Letter, From Me to You

1000w

Thank you.

If you’ve ever read a single one of my stories, if you’ve come to be a friend online, if you found me two seconds ago and you’re wondering who the hell this chick is (hang around, I’m fun, I promise): thank you for being here.

I’ve been through some pretty dark days this past year. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that for a while there I fell out of the loop. Stopped blogging. Stopped doing a whole lot of things. I’ve had a novel sitting here in maddening disarray for months because I just couldn’t get my shit together long enough to finish it.

Then you came along.

Those of you relentlessly hounding me for the next novel (and I say that with love).

Those of you who took a chance on some crazy author chick and let me be a part of your day, on FB or IG or wherever.

Those of you who are watching and waiting for me to fail (hi!).

Because of all of you, I’m not giving up on this writing thing. Because of you I’ve dusted off that tatty old manuscript and I’m ready to rock it. I’m going to jump back in with both feet and a head full of dreams.

So thank you. For everything. Let’s have some fun together, shall we?

-Stef

*image from uppercase mag

Day-Timer Blog

shortcuts reach goals

It’s almost February… do you know where your goals are?

Look, your month is almost up and a lot of 2013 goals haven’t even gotten started. But the good news is you still have 11 months to start making progress.

Truthfully, just getting started is often the hardest task. Here are some simple shortcuts and techniques to light some fire under your goals and get you moving:

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Shitty First Drafts

Ok, so sometimes I’m late to the party.  I just came across this two month old post at Hyperbole and a Half, which hilariously depicts what happens when we try to get our lives together and act like “real adults” (cleaning the house, buying real groceries, going to the bank, etc.), take on way too many responsibilities, start to slip a bit, plummet into a guilt spiral, and wind up indulging in shameful, non-adult habits like surfing the internet at all hours of the night (ahem).

This is a cycle I also tend to go through with my writing.  I’ll have a backlog of projects (blog posts, prospective articles, dissertation chapters, etc.) that I haven’t been able to finish, so I start setting schedules.  Actually, what usually happens first is that I read something like this and feel terrible that I’m not churning out a certain number of pages…

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