When I was a little girl I loved puzzles. It could be an actual puzzle from the dollar store, one on my brand new computer that my aunt and grandmother purchased for me, a word puzzle, connect-the-dots, even the one from Cracker Barrel that called me an ig-no-ra-mous if I left more than 3 pegs — anything that I had to figure out, I wanted to do it.
Part of me still loves a puzzle. I am quite guilty of stopping whatever I am doing to play a round or two (or three or…) of Candy Crush (go ahead and judge) or one of the other half-dozen games that ruin the storage on my phone. It’s just something about figuring things out, feeling like I fixed something, making something wrong right.
I can’t say that I had a difficult upbringing because I didn’t. My father was not involved, but my mother was, and still is, the absolute best there is, and I had my Unkie and several other men I could look up to as father figures. I got what I needed and wanted, and I was privileged to have an amazing education from Pre-K on up.
Everything was not perfect, but somehow, some way, the puzzle pieces we got as a family, and I got on my own, came together and made a whole.
Some type of way, even at my lowest moments, something allowed me to put those broken pieces together in a way that created a safe space and peace of mind.
Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult; life is a puzzle where the pieces never seem to fit just right or make sense all of the time. But the good thing about it all is that each day gives you another chance, another number to plug into that equation. Here’s what I try to remember, even when those pieces seem more broken than usual.
You are NOT alone. This one is always hard for me because I want to figure it out alone and not bother anyone else with my issues. That’s when you have to trust those in your inner circle to be the friends you say they are. If you have trouble reaching out like I do, try the app Not Ok.
You don’t have to be right all the time. I love being right; this is a part of the reason I became a teacher and continue to do it. But, my sanity does not allow me to argue every point, even when I know for a fact that my answer is the truth. Sometimes it’s best to just move on, and let your peace be your peace.
Leaps of faith take two feet. Faith is not just about believing — that’s only one part. Faith comes by hearing and doing, too. One of the hardest things for me is when I want something so badly that all I do is want it. I have learned that God takes the wheel, but I still have to be in the car.
You can make it, broken pieces and all. There are vases from way back when that tell the stories of nations, regardless of that chip missing from it. There are pictures that make us smile, even if the corner is bent. Your life is beautiful, even though your waistline isn’t what you want it to be, or your 5 year plan is taking more like 10.
No matter what the setback, struggle, or story, your pieces still come together and write one of the most beautiful narratives ever told. Trust yourself to tell it, whether you have the puzzle done or not.
When I was a little girl, I loved puzzles. I loved them because they had an end, and no matter how long it took me to get to it, eventually I did.
Dear Black Girl, your broken pieces still make a whole.