It’s called Five Minute Friday. Each week, we write for five minutes, freely, on a one-word prompt. We write quickly, then post, a flash-mob linking together
at Kate Motaung’s siteIt’s fun!
This week’s prompt: BREAK


When I was little, I wished I would break a bone. For real. I wished I had a fantastic story to tell about how I was rushed to the emergency room, about how the doctors weren’t sure they could fix me, and about how I was brave through it all. I actually prayed for it for a while, then I took matters into my own hands.

I snatched dishtowels from the laundry room, wrapped them around my arm with masking tape, and brainstormed my story. Then, I nonchalantly walked around the neighborhood until the kids circled around me and the dramatization began. I ATE IT UP.

I told them that they couldn’t sign it because my mom wanted it to stay clean. I told them that it looked different from other casts because it was a “new” kind.

I definitely broke my arm. I was serious. I swear. No, I’m not lying. Yes, you can ask my mom. No, she’s busy right now…

I actually did this more than once. Either the neighborhood kids were slow, or I was just that good. Keep a close eye on what you’re good at, kids…

From an early age, I wanted the spotlight. I craved the center of the action. I needed to be the story.

It’s cute when you are are in second grade and you’re teeth are missing and your mom just pulled sponge-rollers out of your hair.

It’s not so cute when you’re 46.

I still catch myself scrounging in the laundry pile of life for things that will make me stand out. I wrap myself in talents and humor and posts and tweets and stories… just so I can break out of the pack and stand out. Just so the boring doesn’t eat me alive. Just so I can get a quick fix of … of… me, I guess.

I suppose the good news is at least now I know what I’m doing. At least now I catch myself often and state the obvious: You, friend, are an attention-aholic.

It’s the first step to recovery.

Admitting it helps. Looking back on my early stories helps. Knowing that I don’t have to heal myself helps, too. Knowing the One who can break me of my pride helps the most. 

I’m sure people need a break from me. I need a break from myself, often. I’m trying to figure out how to be me without wrapping myself up in a hard, selfish, fake cast.

So, I’m practicing being happy for the “lucky” girl who actually has a story. I’m forcing myself to count my blessings – and my whole, boring bones – even when I’m not in the center.  I’m standing in the carport, peeling away the tape, and trying to understand what’s under the layers – struggling to find out …before I get found out.

I’m standing here with bare skin and raggedy dishcloths …and praying that I stop taking matters into my own hands.

Hi, I’m Karen. And I never broke my arm. 

11 thoughts on “Break

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 26, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    Don’t feel too bad about not having broken your arm. I’ve broken most of the bones in my body (and been shot, stabbed, blown up, set on fire, and bitten by a horse…yes, a horse). It’s overrated.

    Wanting attention is not necessarily a bad thing, and from the way you write, I suspect it’s more the good instinct not to hide your light under a basket. Wearing things to stand out is part of the ‘plumage’; we are multisensory beings, and if you are more comfortable with that special look…nothing wrong with that, at all.

    I’m the opposite, through training. I’m very good at being the gray man, and can be pretty inconspicuous even when I’m the only one in the room. It’s a survival skill in certain places (like, say, Beirut). But it can drive people crazy…one minute I’m there, the next…”Hey, where’s that darn Chinaman go?”

    Therein enters pride. That kind of thing, the ability to vanish…kind of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown March 26, 2015 / 11:00 pm

      Thanks for your encouraging and entertaining words. I especially appreciate the insight that pride comes in a variety of forms- so true! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I’m grateful.


  2. Tara March 27, 2015 / 9:09 am

    I’ve never broken anything either. I agree with Andrew, pride comes in all different forms. Stopping by from the link-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. betsydecruz March 27, 2015 / 10:06 am

    Hi there, Karen. Thanks for sharing your story so honestly here. I’ve missed seeing you on-line, so was glad for the chance to connect by coming over here. Oh, we can all relate to you, believe me. Only the Lord can break this off of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anita Ojeda March 27, 2015 / 10:21 am

    Your story made me laugh and think, my friend. I did break my arm in college, after wanting to break something and be rescued so badly during my younger years. It’s overrated. But I know what you mean about journey jealousy and wanting the limelight and all of those me-ish things. Hi, Karen, I’m Anita and I’m addicted to me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer M. Frisbie March 27, 2015 / 10:30 am

    Oh. My. Word. – Karen, I could’ve written this! I, too, wanted to be found interesting through something as selfish as wanting a broken arm. I must’ve been mad because I’ve broken my toes numerous times since high school and my first thought was seriously “Jennifer? And you wanted something worse than this as a kid just so you’d be…interesting?”

    “Knowing the One who can break me of my pride helps the most.” – He’s done a number on me this past year. It’s all definitely coming full circle. Thank you for the reminder that I truly am on the right track by giving it all to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Katha March 27, 2015 / 10:48 am

    Hahahaha, what a great story! I can totally relate, I’ve had these feelings, too when I was younger, but I never went as far as you…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeanne Takenaka March 27, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Karen, I’ve missed you! I loved your post. And I laughed when I read your story, because I really did break my arm, at five…trying to fly. Um, that’s a different story for another day. I’ve struggled (sometimes I still do) with the desire to be noticed. Thank goodness even when people don’t see us, God always does. Loved your post my friend!


  8. amypboyd March 27, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I laughed reading your post. I too had always wanted the drama of a broken arm but never had one either. However, my daughter more than made up for it. She broke both arms, one so bad she had to have plates and screws put in it.


  9. Kate Motaung March 28, 2015 / 9:31 am

    Oh Karen, I love you. Your words are always so well written, honest and thought-provoking! So glad I stopped by!

    Liked by 1 person

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