Not Broken, Just Prepared

Sometimes it’s hard to keep trudging through life when so many things have gone wrong. A lot of people don’t have this kind of life experience, but a lot of us do. Things happen and while there are so many who will look down on anyone for feeling ‘victimised,’ I think it’s important to call a spade a spade and say yes, I was victimised by this person or that event. It was not my fault. That way we don’t internalise it and feel like we’re bad people for ‘letting’ something happen (and if anyone tells you that unjustifiably, that’s insanity), or that we’re whiners for saying it was wrong.

Another difficulty is that the lasting effects of whatever trauma we’ve experienced can be so challenging we often feel ‘broken.’ We wonder why we can’t just enjoy things anymore, why we cry at television adverts, why we’re scared of things that other people find trivial, or why our load feels so much heavier than the next person’s.

My mom was struggling with some of these feelings after I became pregnant with my firstborn. (For those of you who haven’t read it, the back story is here.)

She and I were at a camp in Hungry Horse, Montana, for our traditional weekend away. We used to go every year if we could help it, it was the only thing you could call a “vacation” or “holiday” that we ever really took. It was a church-based retreat, and to this day, that campground remains my favourite place on Earth.

This particular summer, I had just turned fifteen, and, being pregnant with my firstborn, my mom and I both had a lot to process. The incident and the uncertainty of the future were weighing heavily on our minds. We were not wealthy by any means, and never owned new vehicles or anything like that. Choosing to keep my son was my immediate choice and I stuck by my guns, but it was not going to be easy. My mom was supportive of my choice, and was willing to help, but was no doubt under pressure about the situation.

One night at the camp, I was already deeply asleep in the cabin. Mom was in Teakettle lodge, the mess hall, playing board games with others until probably midnight when it was time to lock up. Most other campers were also asleep. There are no lights on the campground after a certain time, so with her flashlight lighting her path she made her way back to the cabin.

When she got to our door, she realised she had forgotten to bring a key. Up in the mountains, in the dark, no shelter, no blanket, and everyone fast asleep. She tried waking me up, but I sleep like a rock and I’m not sure an earthquake could wake me. Bears have been known to come wandering through the camp, the end of May is not summery enough to keep the ground from freezing overnight, and it rains there a lot. I’m pretty sure sleeping on the ground was not going to work out very well.

She didn’t know what to do.

We may not have had much but we did have an old Ford Explorer. Being old and second-hand, the door was broken and wouldn’t lock. Thankfully it was so beaten down no one would steal it, and on this night my mom was able to get into it and out of the cold, much to her relief.

As she reclined her seat to get comfortable, she was thinking about my situation and how sorry she felt for me and what I was going through. She had been praying about it, asking what to do about it all. It was, after all, a retreat where prayer was one of the main focuses. It was then she heard a voice from the back seat say, “It isn’t broken, it was prepared.” She turned to see where the voice came from, but there was no one there.

I realise that this will sound bonkers to many and immediately at the mention of “prayer” about half of you or more will roll your eyes. And that’s fine. I’m not pressing any beliefs onto anyone or indeed, reflecting any of my own. But I know my mom was really shaken by this experience in a good way, and it has had its impact on my life as well.

Sometimes when things really get on top of me, I think of this. Yes, I have been victimised in the past by many things. No, I will not be ashamed of that. I do feel like I was given an extraordinary load to carry, and I also feel it’s important to tell people about it, no matter how personal. I am a survivor, and a fighter. Yes, I have felt ‘broken’ so, so many times. But I choose to believe that for whatever reason I was not ‘broken,’ I was prepared.

I especially believe this because my son, despite the circumstances of his conception, is an awesome little (big) boy. He’s going to be twelve soon, which is really strange to think about. Throughout the years he has been an excellent motivation to keep being a better, stronger, more resilient person despite the many times it has been so incredibly difficult I have seriously wanted to quit.

In no way do I view his entering into my life a ‘breakage’ of anything. His existence has opened my eyes to many things and given me a perspective of the world that I would never shun. I don’t yet know what my purpose truly is, but I know it isn’t to sit still feeling broken and helpless.

Since the day my mom first told me this story, I’ve never looked at anything the same.


If you have a story of something being ‘broken’ but turning out to be ‘prepared,’ I’d love to hear it.

Feel free to comment below or blog it and link to this post to get my attention.

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16 thoughts on “Not Broken, Just Prepared

  1. Thank you for sharing. I hope during your time off now (I am assuming you are off work – apologies if I am wrong) you get all the counseling and help you need, whatever it may be, combination of therapies and medication or alternative kinds of therapies (besides sitting in front of a therapist and pouring our heart out). You are an intelligent woman and I think you know that you cannot go on as you are now forever, it’s too much of a burden for you to carry. You have to ‘enjoy’ life and the world in its fullest again, you can’t be always fearful when someone pulls up to your driveway etc. Cheers x. And about Montana, one of our closest friends is from Montana and he said it’s a beautiful place so when I read that you were from Montana I felt a little kinship with you.

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    • Thank you, I’m reeling from some events last year that were the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Yes I’m trying to get to the point of ‘thriving’ and not just ‘surviving.’
      I miss Montana dearly. I’d love to make it back someday. That’s my home. 🙂

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      • Perhaps one day you’d like to write about how you went from Montana to the UK (if it’s not precipitated by a traumatic event of course) 🙂 ? I am sure it’s a fascinating read. And my friend did tell me how lovely Montana is, he grew up in cabins in the woods, he doesn’t live there now, but he says there’s nothing like it.

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      • So far most of my stories are about traumatic events because I’m telling my story the way I feel I need to. It’s all part of the bigger picture of who I am, where I come from, and how I think about things. And it’s helping me put my recurring thoughts into readable words which helps me process them and heal. I have had a pretty hard life, I’m not sure the story of coming over here is much more rosy. That was a dark time.

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  2. This story touched me so deep. Thank you so much for sharing – both this story and also your backstory.
    I know you already know this but you did say no. He did not have your consent. And for anyone else reading this, in the eyes of the law you don’t have to say no, he has to prove you said yes. I know the stats on getting convictions is so so so low but it’s a little start and I am so happy to see consent workshops and consent education is being introduced in some colleges and universities.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I too am a survivor and yes – I was not broken, I was prepared. I am now a strong, independent women & maybe I would have been anyway but I am regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After reading through the comments I can totally relate. Getting the recurring thoughts out is very helpful. Also being an inspiration to others through sharing trauma stories is very empowering. It is important to give and feel affirmation. My blog has the same type of theme where I’m sharing my trauma. It does not mean that I don’t have special, happy memories in life though.

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  4. There are many broken people in this world. You have to take it day by day and keep yourself busy with uplifting things. I am doing arts & crafts with my children. My girl loves it. Her happiness make me feel on top of the world.

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