Month: September 2011

Broken is Beautiful



Photos by Preeti Pathak


The idea of the “broken home” has been in my mind of late.  In a recent conversation with my friend, Michele, we discussed the fact that so many of us have faced trauma in our past.  In the first conversations when we get to know someone we all ask the same general things.  We find out where the person lives, where they grew up, what they do with their time, and how their family is.  For some those questions are easy to answer, while for others it opens up some saddening truths.  For a long time I would tell people what they wanted to hear, ashamed of my past and the fact that I came from a “broken home.”  But once I learned to love myself, including my story, I no longer felt this shame.  Once I understood that I could take ownership of my story, I didn’t care what others would think.  Though my honesty at times makes others uncomfortable.  Many people prefer the lie…that my life is perfect and my family is a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.  But then you also meet those people, who appreciate your honesty, and in turn share their own truth.  This is the exact type of conversation that I had with my friend Michele.  We realized that we had much in common…that our lives were never perfect.  But we also saw the amazing people we had become, despite our personal pain.




The conversation got me thinking of how we all may face similar realities, but what we do with it is quite different.  Why is it that for some of us we learn to still practice empathy even when we weren’t raised with it…while others only learn animosity?  Why does violence turn some of us to pacifists, but others to perpetrators of further violence?  Psychologists, Sociologists, and other scientists have a million theories as to the why.  But there will never be a definitive answer.  All we know is that anger, whether turned inward or outward, causes more harm than gain.  What would the world be like if we could release our anger in a healthy way, deal with our trauma, and try to practice empathy always?  I do believe this dream could be a reality, but we have to first let go of our shame.  We have to open up and talk to one another about our true stories.  Only then can we mend the wounds and realize we are not alone.  I leave you with a poem that was inspired by the thoughts of the past few days.  Remember that you are never alone.  We are all connected by the energy of the universe, so reach out to the souls around you.




Broken is Beautiful


Broken children, from broken homes…

left alone in their own world.

Imagination is unlimited,

when reality is so ill-fitted.

Drawing pictures of what’s not seen.

Learn to read the lines between…

anger, sadness, and happiness.

Predicting emotion equals protection.


Beaten down into a mold.

Robbed of the innocence of the soul.

Growing bigger everyday.

Until the trauma is just past pain.


Standing at the fork in the road.

Wondering which way the anger will go.


Some turn it in and hate themselves.

While others burn external flames.

Some hide inside their own dark cage.

While others spew out violent rage.

Destroying the self either way…


No difference in these two souls.

Both filled with charred and blackened holes.


If only they could see the light.

If only they give up the fight…

within the walls of themselves.

Release the stories they’d never tell.


Stop drawing lies to hide the pain.

Learn self-love is all it takes…

to stop letting one’s anger grow.

To stop life from meaning nothing more…

then broken homes, or hearts, or souls.


Must re-learn what broken means.

That perfection is not what it seems…

That no one is, no matter their past.

Trauma is temporary, despite memories that last.


Must let go of the way we see.

Look at the cracks as true beauty.


Pick up the pieces of broken past.

Glue them together; rebuild the mast.


Let all the anger wash away.

Let light enter your darkest days.


With each new thought your sails will fill,

with the energy of a thousand winds.

A new direction for the soul to go.

A chance to fix the many holes.


You’ll crash against the heavy waves.

But love will be your saving grace.


No waters too treacherous for you to cross.

For you have learned to love, though you have loss.


The cracks were beautiful all along,

Just needed to believe that they belong…


—–Preeti Pathak, 9/19/11

Walk With “Phellow” Philadelphians to Stop Child Trafficking 9.18.11



Ok I know that title was corny but yes, like the Philly Phlash, I had to go there.  Now that we’ve had a laugh, let’s get on to more serious matters.  There is a hidden epidemic taking over our society.  It is the commodification of human life.  In a word: SLAVERY.



When I was a child, I remember hearing a quick run through about slavery around the world.  As an American, the focus of my education was on the slavery that took place in the U.S.  I remember the words in my Social Studies books.  They made slavery seem like a distant and archaic concept that no longer plagued our more civilized minds.  But as I grew older I realized slavery was alive and well; in fact that it had only gotten worse.  I learned that those who were enslaved in the past never received the resources they were robbed of.  I saw that slavery from the past destroyed the souls of many…pain that would be passed on to the next generation in the form of countless manipulations and wrongdoings.  I saw that slavery was occurring around the world in this present moment.  It was happening in my own city.  And I discovered that if this cycle did not end, slavery would continue on throughout the future.  Slavery is the product of many social problems.  There is no simple solution, and many steps and years will pass before we eradicate the epidemic altogether.  But the key to any of this happening is starting now.  Citizens must get educated on the realities of enslavement.  With the advancements of the 21st century, slavery has become an insidious reality in all locations around the world: human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry, right after arms dealing.  With the invention of the internet, slavery has potentially entered everyone’s home.  If you or anyone you have lived with has watched a porn online, surfed Craigslist, or such, you may have seen or read about a person who is currently enslaved.  When we start looking closer, we see how widespread this problem is.  But as all industries, someone is thriving off of it and working very hard to keep you from interfering with their greed.



That’s why citizens of Philadelphia are hitting the streets on Sunday, September 18th at 9:30 am for the “Stop Child Trafficking Now(SCTNow) Walk” 2011.  The walk will start and end at the Piazza at Schmidt’s, 1050 North Hancock Street.  We want to see the end of slavery and bring our energy together to do so.

This walk will be an opportunity to join like minds, make some new friends, and start a serious conversation about the next steps we must take as a community to end slavery/ trafficking.  I’m gonna get myself up early…well early for me that is…and hit the streets with my friend and phellow Philly blogger, Dianne Furphy of  We hope to see you there!  Please spread the word to your friends and get the conversation going even if you can’t make it to the walk.  You can also show your support by donating to the cause.


I’ll leave you with this quote from one of the strongest womyn around, and one of my role models:


“Human trafficking flourishes in the shadows and demands attention, commitment and passion from all of us. We are determined to build on our past success and advance progress in the weeks, months and years ahead. Together, we must hold a light to every corner of the globe and help build a world in which no one is enslaved.”

—–Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State