I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along.
Only I honestly didn’t know how to represent myself with a lump of grey clay. After all, I am more than one thing. I am a daughter, a sister, a widow, and a friend. I am an American, a woman, a redneck, and an expat. I am a researcher, a runner, a writer, and a swirller. I am happy, sad, lonely, and joyful. I am more than one connection; I am more than one identity; I have more than one hobby; I feel more than one emotion.
I am me. I am just Frances. But of course, there are a lot of things that combine together to create the simple yet complicated descriptor of “just” Frances.
But how do I represent that with a lump of grey clay?
Simples: I made me. Me with all of the scars that I’ve collected over these 42 years. I made me. Broken, battered, and scarred.
Because that’s what my life has done to me. It’s broken my heart, battered my spirit, and scarred my body.
But I made me standing; I made me with a smile; I made me with a beating, visible heart.
Because that’s what my life has taught me. No matter how broken, battered, and scarred life leaves you… it is still life. And life is good. Life is beautiful… despite the dreariness that it sometimes hides behind.
Yes, I made the best representation of me I could think of: Broken, battered, and scarred. But still standing. But still smiling. But still holding love in my heart.
And when I got back to my office, my head fell off and my hair fell out. So yeah, that’s pretty much me.
On another note, life has been busy lately. But it’s been a mostly good busy. And I am still catching up after being sick for a while. But I am nearly caught up and that means I (hope to) have more time to share my life here on Just Frances. So stay tuned for some more awesomeness over the coming weeks…