Webster’s defines “broken” as an adjective that means:
- separated into parts or pieces by being hit, damaged, etc.
- not working properly
- not kept or honored
It can refer to an idea just as easily as it can refer to any tangible object. Things get broken all the time. Sometimes they can be repaired and sometimes they have to be discarded. Sometimes they can be mended temporarily, and sometimes the break actually lends character or makes something stronger.
It’s okay when things get broken that should have been discarded years ago because it affords the opportunity to de-clutter, like that old coffee mug that either fell out of the cabinet accidently or jumped to its death on purpose. It’s not okay when the broken item was beloved and has to be replaced, especially when doing so will cost a fortune, like when my laptop finally quit.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you might remember the last one in which I bemoaned a broken tooth. For the record, this was not an okay thing to be broken. But it does mean that I’ll finally get my sorry great-big-chicken self to the dentist. So that’s good, right?
After a full week of near-liquid meals, I have noticed the disappearance of a few pounds. That streak will be broken just as soon as I can wrap my lips around a great big cheeseburger, and it’s a break I look forward to. But that still might be a while. My dentist appointment is today, and depending on what they do, it could be another week before I’m back on more solid foods.
So, like any self-respecting woman would do in my situation, I thought of stepping on the scales to get an idea of just how much weight I’d lost. It feels like maybe ten pounds, but since I’m huge, it’s unnoticeable to anyone except my pants. I’m the behemoth lady that has to lose at least twenty pounds before the loss becomes the slightest bit recognizable. But I noticed yesterday that my pants didn’t scream when I zipped them up, which prompted me to think of the scales. And, let’s face it – even if it’s only one pound lost, we ladies want to know about it so we can tell all our friends and receive congratulatory comments and have the opportunity to explain why our way of dieting is better than anybody else’s in the group, providing tips and advice on how they, too, can lose one pound.
Except that it’s not an intentional diet.
Aside from the dentist, that set of scales holds the number three spot on my top ten list of things I fear most in my life. The dentist is actually second. Spiders rank at number one, except that on the real written list the number one spot is blank. I can hardly stand to even write the word.
I tiptoe in to where the scales used to be, hidden behind the bathroom door so I don’t have to look at them every day, taunting me, yelling at me for being fat, and teasing me for being none-too-careful about my food intake and lack of self-control. The door squeaks when I peak to see if they’re still there. I look around to make sure I’m alone and listen to ensure that no one is coming up the stairs. I ease my big toe up on the scales and position my foot lightly. With caution, lest the thing suddenly grow eight legs and wield a scorpion’s tail at me, I slowly lift up the other foot to rest beside its mate.
The scales are reading out my ideal weight, which I know with certainty is fifty pounds from now. So I’ve either stepped into the future and am reading what the scales will report after a long and strenuous year of dieting, or they’re simply broken at the number that reflects what I should weigh if I were more diligent about what I eat.
But I think the break lends character. I’m not so afraid of it anymore. It actually looks kind of good sitting there. So good, in fact, that I’m thinking of moving it to the middle of the living room floor. I can stand on it while I’m watching television and slurping Jell-O.
I’m keeping it. Regardless of how long it takes to get my dental issues repaired, I’m keeping those scales. I may even paint them. When the family gets tired of seeing them on the living room floor, I’ll build a shrine with a little shelf just for the now-favored set of scales. I’ll update my top-ten list of things I fear most and I’ll bring the now-favored scales periodic offerings of fruits and nuts while I polish it daily.
And I’ll dare anyone to refer to them as broken.
They’re perfect just the way they are.