We’re All A Little Broken

We're All Broken

We're All Broken

For my very first blog post I wanted to introduce myself and tell you a few things about my life that you may not know. I have been posting a picture a day on social media for about two years now and I have remained pretty vague about who I am. Although people have seen my face, you have not seen my strength. That’s the beauty and the curse of social media. But if I’m going to be here, then I will be here, in all my broken glory. Because at the end of the day, we’re all broken.

What do you notice first when you look at the photos I’m sharing today? My bad ass leopard coat? My killer heels? The winning smile that I wear everywhere? Or did you notice my cane? Or as I call it, my pimp cane. I have been using it for a few years now. On April 10, 2007 I was hit head on by an 18 wheeler. I was pretty much broken from head to toe. My neck, my hip, both legs and feet. I also had a brain injury. I was in a wheelchair, progressed to crutches, and now I use a cane.

To begin with, the driver that was behind the truck that hit me was a youth pastor. He had a fire extinguisher in his truck and he put out the fire on my car. He later told me that when he looked at me he thought I was dead so he put his hand on me to pray. When he put his hand on me, I moved. He stayed with me until the rescue team arrived. They used the Jaws of Life to cut me out of my car, and then I was taken by life flight to a trauma unit. It’s a fascinating story that tested the strength that I was unaware I even possessed.

Over the next two years, I had four hip surgeries and one minor foot surgery. I almost lost everything I had worked my entire life for. I found out my husband, the love of my life, was smoking crack. My mother died. And at the time of the accident I was living in a hotel because my house had caught on fire. Not only was my body broken but my spirit was near it’s breaking point.  This was the beginning of a bad season in my life.

I looked for answers everywhere. Why was this happening? Was this karma? Was I such a terrible human that I had finally got what I deserved? I read the Bible from cover to cover, I searched the interwebs, I agonized over everything I had ever done.

After my last hip surgery in 2009, things started to look up. We moved to Tennessee, bought our dream house, and my husband was sober…or so I thought. But, no. Each time I would crawl forward, I would get broken down again. In Tennessee, I became very isolated. I gained over 70 pounds. My husband was smoking more crack than ever before. My son was a miserable pre-teen who was getting bullied at school. I became so depressed that some days I did not have the strength to move. I wouldn’t leave the house for up to ten days at a time.

We're All Broken

 

 

 

When the scale hit over 200 pounds I realized that I needed to make a change. I used every bit of strength and courage (which was very little at the time) I could to walk into a gym. I got a membership and a trainer. This was the beginning of a completely different life. I set a goal of leaving the house everyday and made a few friends at the gym. Over the next two years, I lost the weight and started to feel a little better about myself. I bought some new clothes and started to wear things that made me feel a little more confident.

Although I had made a lot of progress, I still felt ashamed. I still felt fat, ugly, and embarrassed that I was a cripple. After a lot of positive self talk and day drinking, I know I’m not fat. I believe I still suffer from phantom fat but I am slowly becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I have never felt pretty, so I always compensated with hard work and humor (I am definitely funny af).  I also realized that I am not the one who was embarrassed by my disabilities; my husband was embarrassed. Needless to say, I am no longer married. I will never let anyone else make me feel like I am not worthy. We are all human beings. We are all looking for love, kindness, friendship, laughter, respect, and good food.

We're All Broken

 

 

After a lot of therapy and some soul searching, I have some peace of mind. There are still some questions that don’t have clear answers. But now I tell myself that I went through this because I had the strength to handle it. I also learned to be careful about the things I say out loud and the energy I put into the Universe. I will never be completely put together. There will always be something that is a little broken. And I’m fine with that. Nobody’s perfect. I finally made the decision that my life and how how I respond to it is my responsibility. I started to live the life I had, and stopped trying to live the life I thought I should have. Everything has changed and it continues to change in a positive way.

What I have learned through this season of my life is that nothing is permanent. Everything is an ebb and a flow; it’s easier to take it one small step at a time. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it is what it is. When times are good, I have learned to enjoy every single minute because I know it’s not permanent. When times are tough, I have learned to stay strong because I know it’s not permanent. I always do the best I can to find the humor in every situation, good or bad. I can always find something to laugh at, no matter how dire the situation may seem. My strength is the greatest when I can find the ability to laugh at life’s tragedy’s. Most importantly, I discovered that we’re all broken people in very different ways.

We're All Broken

 

 

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  1. Amanda, I do remember when you moved to Chattanooga, I also remember the cane and how you could hardly stand for long periods of time. I remember your excitement about moving to Tennessee and trying to make a life for you and your beautiful family, I knew because I sold you your home! You are amazing, such a pillar of light. I always knew you would do great things in Chattanooga, but most of all I knew you would over come all the obstacles you had before you. You may have been broken, but today you stand tall, you’re amazing!!!!

    1. Thank you Sherry! You sold me my dream house! I am so thankful to be living here! It has been a long road but I get stronger everyday! It took a lot of positive thinking and hard work but I am literally the woman that will not quit! I may have learned a little something from you! 😉

  2. Love the Blog❤️ I think we can all relate to these feelings of doubt and unworthiness at times. I believe ,women are shown so many role models as girls like super models and Barbie dolls that we make us think “Why can’t I be a size 0 and gorgeous.? What’s wrong with me ? “ it’s messed up! Thanks for keeping it Real and your humor is on point 😂 I’m a Fan

    1. You are so on point with the effed up role models for girls! Thank you for reading my blog! I can check off 1 of the 3 people I was counting on to check it out! 😜🤗

  3. Amanda – thanks for sharing! You have overcome tremendously painful troubles in your young life and your words are an inspiration to us all. I look forward to your next post.
    Cheers,
    Dave J.

    1. Thank you! It will be up very soon! It will be a little lighter but I think everyone will be able to relate to it as well.

  4. Amanda I am so proud of you and all the obstacales you have overcome….you are a strong person and I am so pr;oud of you…I know you were married to my grandson and I am so sorry that things did not work our…I have always considered you as my granddaughter and always will and consider Seth as our grandson…hope you don’t mind…I love you and hope you will always remember that…take care of your self and please keep in touch…good luck to you and Seth and may God continue to bless you will good health.

    1. Thank you so much! You will always be family to us! We will continue to keep you all in our prayers and I promise to come and visit soon! Love you!

  5. You write so beautifully. I knew you were always wordy but you can definitely translate that to the screen or paper. You know I love ya and have known you most of my life. I don’t care if you are big, fat, skinny, tall, or as you say, even broken you will always be in my thoughts and prayers and hold a place in my heart. I am glad you have had the strength to make it through the adversities and see your value to the world. I also wish you the best in happiness and hope you stay you forever. Don’t let outside perception change your inner beauty.

    1. Awww! You are way too kind! It took me some time, most of my life, but I finally figured out that what the rest of the world thinks is really unimportant. I am on a very positive path now and it’s because I let go of what everyone else thinks and just started living life my own way. It is definitely a learning process but I’ll figure it out. That’s what Google is for, am I right?

  6. I love your story. When you get to see someone that is real, has struggles and still keeps fighting it gives everyone hope. The internet isnt always for showing everyone who you want them to see, for the real strong few they show you who they are in their soul. I am excited to see where your story goes, know that you have made an impact on at least one person today

    1. Thank you so much! I believe that if we continue to fight through our struggles we will eventually see the light on the other side. I know I certainly did.

    1. Thank you! We’re all broken, but that’s ok. It makes the world a much more interesting place.

  7. I’m trying so hard to remember if you’re the Amanda Vaughn that I went to Ringgold Middle School with? Either way your story is very touching, I’m currently recovering from hip surgery myself, my first being last July, and just recently March 12. I feel so helpless and useless. My surgeon told me that I’ve got the bones of a 70 year old, I’m only 37! I’m currently fighting my insurance to pay for an osteoporosis treatment, Forteo shots, one shot a day for two years, they say that’s the best treatment for me. Your story gives me hope and strength to keep fighting, I know I’m meant for something more than this, and I will recover, it’s just going to take time to build my muscles and bones back up. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I understand your struggle with the insurance company because I have been there. The most important thing is to keep working on your muscle strength. I know it can be physically and emotionally painful but if you stay consistent it will get easier. Listen to your body and stay positive throughout the process. I am sending you positive energy and I will keep you in my prayers. I went to LaFayette so you may know me from there. Good luck with everything.

  8. I am in awe! You are my hero! A real life Super Woman! I look forward to seeing you continue your wonderful journey through life! What an inspirational post! Congratulations on finding your voice!

    1. Thank you so much! You’re too kind! I am just a regular woman who refuses to give up on herself.

      1. Thank you so much Amanda for your truly amazing story. It is so encouraging and inspiring. I, like you, have been broken in many ways and had my dreams shattered. I am dealing with pulmanory fibrosis and heart failure, and am on oxygen continuously. Many days i feel like just giving up. But there is enough good in this world for me to keep struggling to carry on for as long as i can. I have absolute wonderful support from my family, and my wife particularly. She is such a darling caretaker and loves me the way i am. I wish you great success in your future and am really proud of how far you have come,

        1. Support from our loved ones makes all the difference. I never would have made it without my mother. I wish she could have completed the journey with me.

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