Dear beautiful, broken girl-

I’ve seen you.  I see the way you stand just a little apart from those kids you’re with, the way you obsessively check your reflection for flaws in store windows, the way you slump your shoulders forward to hide the body you wish you didn’t have.  I see you in the center of the crowd, working your fans as the life of this party, slipping away with some no one to sacrifice yourself yet again in the name of “why the hell not?” or “I just want to feel wanted” or “it doesn’t matter anyway.”  I see you following him around while he makes fun of you to his friends because you think you can’t do better.  I’ve seen you curse your image in fitting room mirrors.  I’ve seen you cover your mouth with your hand to cover a laugh that, to the casual observer, is so perfectly beautiful.  I’ve seen you.

I’ve seen you, and I know.  I know the part of you that can’t stop comparing yourself to everyone and anything, the part that squirms and quits in the face of imperfection, the part that is bravely trying to quiet the little voice in your head that is constantly insisting that you don’t really deserve to be valued.  I know the part of you that feels like you’ve broken everything and nothing you can do will ever atone.  I know the part of you that envies her, that girl who everyone thinks is so pretty, or so smart, or so perfect.  I know there are parts of you you don’t let us see.

I know there is someone who will tell you a story about what you’re not, a tale about how you will never be a “smart girl,” or attractive, or successful.  I know something someone said once will stick with you, will resonate in all your weakest moments and affirm the part of you that doesn’t believe you are worthy.  I know someone will celebrate, exaggerate, and prey on your failures.  I know that part of you will believe them, and be ashamed.

I know you have a secret you haven’t told anyone.  I know you think if you tell it, you’ll be rejected.  I know you are afraid of being discovered.

I want to tell you another story.

You are a masterpiece.  Your fingers, your freckles, your sense of humor, your crooked teeth, your quirks, your best ideas, your biggest flaws, your darkest secrets – they’re artwork.  You were knit together by expert hands, painted into being by a love so big no insult or failure can possibly break it.  You are fearfully, wonderfully, intentionally you – what you can contribute cannot be measured, because you have never been before, and you will never be again.  No one can limit the necessity of your being – you are part of a symphony, of an epic, of a perfect pattern, a phenomenal plan.  You are small and insignificant, but you are so immeasurably valuable, and nothing and no one can diminish that value. You do not depreciate because of your choices.  You are loved, wildly loved, just as you are and in every minute.

I’ve seen you, broken, beautiful girl.  I’ve been you.  I often am you.

You were intended.  You are wanted.

You can’t be all things to all people, you can’t do it alone.  You’ll never have to.


  • Elizabeth June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I don’t know why you decided to write this today, I do, however, know that I was supposed to see it today. Tomorrow, I will finalize my divorce. He left me nearly 2 years ago. When it happened, I thought I’d lost everything. I thought that I was officially worthless and that if someone like him, couldn’t love me, I obviously wasn’t someone deserving of love. It took a year to make me see that that relationship was toxic from the very beginning. I looked back on diffierent moments and finally let myself think about the bad parts that I tried to forget. The things I lied about. I’d sugar coat everything I said to my friends and family. I didn’t want to believe it was as bad as it was and I didn’t want them to know that I was stupid enough to stay in that situation. (I’m typing this all with tears flowing, so I do apologize for clipped sentences and poor spelling) After he left me, I let it out. I’d always laughed it off when he’d say, in front of me, “Holy crap! Look at her babe! She’s hot…think she’d want me?” I’d laugh and shrug it off. That is, until an old friend of his told me that he said “Ask Liz, I’m sure she won’t mind if we have a little fun.” So she did and I freaked. Yet, I still stayed! I was always afraid to leave. I was paid very little, so I knew I couldn’t support myself. I hated the idea of burdening my mother, even though she swears it was never a burden. I just couldn’t make myself leave. Then, he left me one morning because I had asked him what he wanted for breakfast. He said I should have known the night before and been planning ahead. Yeah, he was a real Prince Charming.

    I moved home to Fort Worth with my job still in tact. I went from working in one of the delis to working for the owner at his house. I was a personal assistant to he and his wife, as well as an office assistant. I also was given the opportunity to tutor his kids. I was in heaven! Almost a year later, I told him I had to start working towards leaving my moms place but I wasn’t making enough with him. He called a few nights later asking if I’d move in 2 weeks to start my management training in Abilene. I jumped at it! He paid my moving expenses and put me in a hotel for 2 months. At the end of the 2 months, he moved me to Odessa (further west). This whole time, I’ve been on a dating site, finding nothing. Odessa was a rough time for me. The employees hated me because I was new and I just wasn’t feeling at home. 6 weeks passed by when I was asked to move(once again!) to Amarillo (further West and very North). I went home that night and changed my profile location to Amarillo. The next morning, I had the longest message from the site that I’d ever seen! After emailing, I called this guy. I our first 2 calls lasted over 6 hours, each! I went to Amarillo to check it out a week before I was to move, so we set up a date. He was such a charming man! He opened my car door for me, he gave me his arm to help me get out of my chair. I wasn’t sure he was real. I assure you, nearly 8 months later, he is very real! He is everything I thought I didn’t deserve. He’s kind. He’s thoughtful, generous, sweet, romantic, caring, helpful and he BAKES! (baking is my first love) I am apparently everything he thought he didn’t deserve as well. We fit. I knew I loved him. I knew he was who I’m supposed to be with months ago. However, my feelings of forever were solidified on May 18th. I was closing my window at 6am when I all of a sudden could feel only pain in my legs but couldn’t use them. I didn’t know what had happened to me! I called him and he came over. He unlocked the door but the deadbolt was locked. He did was any courageous man in the movies would do, he broke the door down!! He’s my hero. He has taken me into his home and cared for me. I’m allowed to be on my own again in about a week, but these 5 weeks have been amazing. I didn’t know I could be loved this much, by someone who isn’t my mother.

    As I said in the beginning, my divorce will be finalized tomorrow. The ex insisted on dragging his feet, making this more painful. Josh, my own *Favorite* has been amazing through it all. He has been through a divorce, having been the one who was mistreated and left behind, he gets it. He completely understands the trauma of it all.

    When you wrote this, I’m not sure if you were writing to yourself or just to the world. I know I was supposed to see it though. I have been broken. I’ve been 5’11 since I was 11, I have huge feet and have never, since the age of 12, been smaller than a 14, a size 18 since age 16. Until recently, I’ve hated my freckles, most especially the one just below my right pupil. I’ve always been lumpy and rather frumpy. I did everything I could to hide my body out of shame. Now, I’ve found myself standing tall, wearing bright colors and allowing my face to wear a goofy grin. I’m happy and I know that I’m important. Thank you for sharing this and thank you for reminding me to cry. I’ve held it in this whole time, I think my body was ready.

    • girlofcardigan June 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Lovely- I don’t have words for how much your sharing your story here means to me, but I’m incredibly grateful. To be honest, I’m not sure why I wanted to write this post today either, nor who I was writing it to.. me, you, some girl I saw somewhere? There is so much strength in your story, so much courage in the willingness to tell it, and so much beauty in the way you are allowing yourself to be loved by and love a man who sounds absolutely amazing. I wish I could hug you (I’m 5’11” too, we’d match! No awkward sideways avoid the boob/face smash hug! You know you know.), but I’ll settle for saying thank you. You’ve encouraged and inspired me so much today. I’ll be praying for you and your “Favorite,” and sending good wishes your way for continued healing and loads and loads of joy! love.

      And he bakes! 🙂 Men who know their way around a kitchen, right? Super hot. 😉

  • lieslpalmer June 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Thank you, ladies… you’ve blessed me today with your honesty and vulnerability!! Love.

  • Elizabeth June 24, 2011 at 12:07 am


    Sadly, there was an issue with the paperwork (he forgot to sign) so my divorce is put off for awhile. However, my eyes were opened to the kind of love I thought I was foolish to give. Apparently, my Favorite is just as foolish. 🙂 Even though he knows he’d be unhappy anywhere but Portland, he said he’d be worse off if I weren’t with him, so he’d move anywhere to be with me. My dream is to live in France. I was there for a month as part of Culinary school and I fell deeply in love with the country side. I’ve always said it was my dream to go back there and live the life I’ve imagined. Over the years, I’ve been told “More power to ya, too bad you’ll go alone” or “Well, that’s your dream, not mine, but feel free to leave.” After seeing Midnight in Paris today, we were talking about it and, oh, how I yearned to be there again. He looked me in the eye and said “If you go, I’ll go. I can’t be anywhere you’re not.” That made my heart grow to the point of near bursting! Later, we talked about it and he realized how miserable he’d be in a country he wasn’t in love with. In a place that wasn’t Portland.

    In my experience, the things we say in the heat of the moment are the truest statements we could make. Those are our true feelings escaping the neural pathways of our brains and sneaking past our filters. Because he said he’d go with me, while in the heat of the moment, I knew I’d be fine with never living in France again. I’ve never said that before without feeling sick, until today. I know that where he is, I’m home.

    I read your post *How’s Married Life?* (I think that was the title) and realized that this injury has been a blessing. It has allowed us both to see past our facades and get to the heart of who we each are. He’s seen me crack and crumble, just as I’ve seen him do the same. We’ve seen some ugly moments and yet we still said “I love you” afterwards.

    The reason I’m telling you this, and the reason I’m making it public, is so that any other broken girls reading this, can have hope.

    I’ve made so many mistakes and I’ve said so many terrible things. I’m not a good person when you lay it all out there, but I try. I strive to be the kindest and most loving person I can and I fail daily. I’ve at least tried.

    If we can all just remember that we were never meant to be perfect and that we were all meant to crack and crumble, we’ll understand that we really are everything we’re supposed to be. I never thought I was worth loving. Apparently, someone else thinks otherwise. I’m blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I have a lot of hardship in my life, but I really and truly am a blessed woman.

    Thank you for writing. Thank you for posting pictures of sunshine and silly faces. Posts about your beliefs, that may be different from my own, but are still so intricately unique and beautiful. Thank you for being you. You’re definitely the kind of person I’d want to be pen pals (hand written words are dying and must be brought back!! ) Also, I’ll totally take you up on that hug in 2 years 🙂

  • Mari June 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Just what I needed Karyn. Juuuuust what I needed to hear.

    • girlofcardigan June 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Mari, you are so lovely. 🙂