January 28, 2013

Most of us don’t want to be viewed as fragile, but here we are.

Show me the human spirit that hasn’t been broken in some way. How do parts of us break if not fragile?

Be fragile. It’s fine. We were all born fragile. You know, that floppy head attached to a weak little neck, a wide open space in our skulls, vulnerable to poking toddler sibling fingers.

There are people who don’t break down easily. The ones we commend for appearing to be made of steel; so strong, so positive, just carrying on. Part of me used to strive for that because I guess it seemed like it went along with wisdom and strength, valor and heroism or something.

No more. I’m fragile and I know it. Without this fragility, I’m not as empathetic as I’d like to be and no matter how much it hurts to hurt so often, I’d rather hurt than not. The Lumineers are right, the opposite of love is apathy. And maybe those people who seem so strong aren’t as unaffected as I assume anyway. We’re all walking around with layers of memories and emotions like an onion and sometimes people have just learned to be more quiet about a layer being pulled off. I’m loud about my layers. It just is what it is.

Let’s be extra fragile. Let’s cry and need more rest. Let’s need help and ask for it. Let’s not be embarrassed for wanting that help. Let’s not be ashamed for not having enough of ourselves to go around. Let’s not live in guilt while we compare ourselves to that other woman, the one who appears to have it all together.


She doesn’t.

I’m fragile. I’m tired. I go and go and I run from here to there and back again.  I work hard and I love my family like they’re my breath and water in the desert and the best book I’ve ever read all at once.  I go and I go and I get hurt and sad and so do you, even if you’ve gone numb.
I used to think my fragility was a bad thing because what I heard people saying when they said I was sensitive is that it’s bad. That’s what I heard them saying anyway, despite what may have been their meaning, because I’m sensitive. But the whole time, I was just fragile and that’s because I’m not here to learn how to not feel.
I’m not talking about fragility like how you might think of a soft pretty pink flower petal or a sparkling china tea cup. This kind of fragile is a woman in skin and bone, tired eyes and tight shoulders, still going and going, bad things happening all around while good things happen too. This woman is attempting to meet the needs and deadlines, tie the shoes, answer the email, tuck the covers, commute, remember the things, feel the things, go and do and be…lather, rinse and repeat. She is fragile because even though our necks grow stronger and our soft spots are replaced with bone, our hearts come one way and they try really hard to stay the same.
We hold the hand that grasps ours to cross the street and we are still in as much danger as that fragile child we’re guiding. We are vulnerable to buses and heartache, chains and remorse and fear. Predators and car crashes, break-ups and lost jewelry or friends or jobs. These and more, are all the things that make up our armor if we decide to keep them in, alone.
Take it off. Give it away. That’s how it goes–feel it and grow and change and ask for help and then feel for them and grow and change and give them help.
Let’s be extra fragile. Let’s cry and need more rest. Let’s need help and ask for it. Let’s not be embarrassed for wanting that help and that rest. Let’s not be ashamed for not having enough of ourselves to go around. Let’s not live in guilt while we compare ourselves to that other woman, the one who appears to have it all together.
We don’t.



Amanda Hill January 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

So true, girlfriend. We are all so fragile and broken and wearing masks of beauty to cover up the hurt. Great article that mirrors my own thoughts.

Amanda over at hillpen

Nita January 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm


tracy@sellabitmum January 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm

So true. So raw. Love you.
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kelli January 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Only hearts of flesh bleed.
So sweet to read these words, someone unafraid of their humanity.
This is very share-able. Thank you, Heather.
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Roshni January 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

The ones who appear strong were the ones who got hurt the most, so they want to put a shield between themselves and the pain. But, it ultimately doesn’t help.
Thanks for another wonderful post!
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Amber January 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Oh friend. You nailed it. This is me, too – totally aware of my fragility these past few years, no longer striving to be that person that holds it all together. I appreciate this post so much. Fragility does hold such great potential for spreading us wide open to empathy – and that is a gift.
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tara/pohlkottepress January 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm

lovely, lovely, lovely. i’m learning to lean into this fragility. you speak to it so wonderfully.
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Katie January 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I really connected with you on this one. I reread it 3 times and was in awe. It’s so true. We try to protect ourselves and put on our smile and and our armour ready to fight through all our challenges.

Tara Owens January 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm



I love the line from the song “Turning Page”, which says: “Nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart.”

Thank you.

Jennifer Peterson January 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Beautiful!! I am taking it off and giving it away… find myself reaching for it at times to out it back on or at least cover my heart, but each day I try!! Thank you Heather!!
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Angie January 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm

You are so amazing! From someone who has been accused of being stoic on far too many occasions -truth is I just bottle it up & the stoic-ness is all a front. I’m mush on the inside and wish I could show everyone the mushiness sometimes. But everyone expects this strength from me and I don’t know how to change that. I always appreciate your honesty. Love you!

Baroness Black January 29, 2013 at 4:56 am

Strangely, this reminded me of army training (well, the British army – I don’t know what goes on in other countries’ forces, but I expect it’s pretty similar). How they build you up until you really feel you’re invincible so you know what that feels like, but then they break you right down until you’re at rock bottom so you know what that feels like; then they try to bring you back to whatever is a good normal functioning state for you. But at the end, you have a better idea of what your extremes are, and what you’re capable of (the good and the bad); but more importantly you also know that everyone around you has gone through the same experience. You’ve seen them flying high and ready to take on the world, but you’ve also seen them curled up in a ball sobbing and shaking. But then, they’ve seen you like that, too…..
Mothers in arms! :-)
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