Broken glass: What a mess it is. When we were little, our mothers warned us of the dangers of broken glass. They told us to carefully exit the affected area and to toss them a broom and shoes.
Once broken, glass shatters into countless little pieces, and it can scatter far and wide beyond the initial breaking point. Glass can never be repaired to its original state. The only option is to replace it.
When you break glass, you need to pick up all of the broken pieces before you can go out and buy a replacement.
When our hearts get broken, they, too, break into countless little pieces that scatter far beyond the original area of destruction.
As much as we may wish it were the case, we can no longer depend on our mothers to clean up the scattered shards, and we aren't excused from the wrecking zone. We are the initial breaking point, and we have to clean up the mess on our own, piece by piece.
Similar to broken glass, the first step to cleaning up a broken heart is to gather the pieces. The largest and most unfortunate difference between broken glass and a broken heart is that you cannot simply go out and get a replacement.
You are stuck with the same broken, imperfect heart for the rest of your days.
A broken heart feels exactly like glass inside of you breaking. It cuts you deeper than you ever imagined you could be cut.
You have no idea how far all the pieces have scattered or how long it will take you to pick them up. How do you even begin to clean up such a mess?
As our mothers would do, we have to start with the biggest pieces first. In the case of a broken heart, this means the biggest hurts.
These are easily identifiable, and they are often the least dangerous because they can be gripped without necessarily getting cut or digging deeper.
You aren't afraid to pick these pieces up and face the problems they resemble. These are the things in a relationship you knew were problems all along.
They are the surface issues, and they have always been visible cracks in your glass.
The medium-sized pieces always land close to the initial breaking point. These pieces are deceiving. They look safe to gather, but they have hidden sharp edges and can cut you without warning.
These pieces are fears and doubts you held all along in a deep, subconscious level, wishing and hoping they were not reality.
The medium-sized pieces are the hard truths you never wanted to face. Upon shattering, you have to face these hairline scratches on your glass you once optimistically thought were nothing.
The small pieces are the hardest to find. They end up in places within yourself you never knew existed. They are always sharp from all angles.
You will spend most of your time cleaning up these sharp pieces. It can take days, months, maybe even years after your heart is broken.
The small pieces hurt the most because they are feelings and emotions you will never be able to figure out where they originally “fit” in your glass. You find them during the times you feel you are the strongest, and out of nowhere, they slit you.
They make you realize your heart is still not whole. You find these pieces in the moments you smell someone with the same cologne, when you stumble across a lost birthday card or when someone quotes that one movie line.
These small pieces bring you back to the best times you decided to forget ever existed.
Broken hearts are sharp. Broken hearts are dangerous. Broken hearts take time to imperfectly piece back together.
In a dream world, our mothers could take over this role for us and pick up the sharp pieces while we waited in the safety zone.
But as adults who choose to love, breaking our most precious glass is something only we can clean up, piece by piece.
We can easily put back together some pieces of our shattered hearts, but others remain forever unfound within us. Our hearts will never be shiny and new after a break, but one thing's for certain: They will be stronger, and they will know what it means to love.