shattered teacups & high hedges

A remaining tea cup.

My mom had an amazing collection of antique tea cups that belonged to my great grand-mother.

They were beautiful, porcelain and delicate. Various shapes, sizes and colors; the kind of cups that Princesses drank tea out of. The handles were intricate, and each tea cup shone with rainbows and sunshine in my child’s mind and my heart would beat in a quickened rhythm when my mother would let me hold them.

My sister and I constantly bickered over who-was-what-My-Little-Pony or Rainbow Brite character or Care Bear. We would battle it out for the best barbie dolls and whatever toy was around.

My and my little sister.

We didn’t fight about tea cups that I ever remember. They were revered, whispered about and admired up high out of reach on a display shelf.  There was such a diverse collection that it was impossible to determine which one was the best so our rare tea parties were had with the utmost in maturity, pinkies out and prim mouths. We felt like ladies and mimicked behaviors from moves we saw from the “olden days”.

Then, one day, a door slammed too hard, or a shelf was improperly hung, but whatever the case the shelf so high up on the wall came crashing down in a million of pieces of broken porcelain.

My mother was devastated.

I watched. Unable to do anything.


About this same time, my Grandparents house was burnt down by arsonists. Their house was gorgeous. A sprawling south Texas ranch house, filled with treasures including an 18-ft stuffed grizzly bear with his deadly paws and open jaws ready to kill me. … or I thought so as I lay wide awake on the couch starting into its surprisingly life-like eyes.

I stop allowing myself to care. To treasure things. I didn’t realize until the other week when I had this epiphany that my restraint from treasuring things that loving things hurt the people I loved.

and this isn’t some anti-materialism post at all, I like nice things. Clothing, purses, furniture… I love quality things. I love items from my Great-Grandmother and other relatives but…

I just don’t treasure them. I started to protect myself from the pain I saw happen to ones I loved.

I didn’t know I felt this until about two weeks ago and it was like a bomb was dropped. It’s not necessarily like this information is life changing, it’s just another surprising aspect of who I am that seemingly is insignificant, yet telling, because it’s a defining theme of my life.

I want to protect myself from pain.

I don’t want to feel sad.

So, I protect myself. In too many ways to share, or even to want to be transparent here about.


What things are you protecting yourself from? What is the difference from boundaries, good ones that protect and others that are more of a hedge, protecting us from FEELING?  I’m so black and white that the gray areas in life confuse me.

I think this year is about growing up in a lot of ways. But even more than that it’s about opening back up to life, embracing it more as an adult. I don’t want to hide behind a hedge of safety and numbness, but lean in to it all.  It’s about boundaries and, in a healthy way, not caring what others think.

I’m not there yet, but somehow defining some of this confusion helps me have direction right now, to keep going forward and know that pain, as much as I want to protect myself and hide, is a large part of my life and managing that in a healthy way is really what matters.


  • Jasmine

    I think you are brave and strong.

  • Heidi

    thanks Jasmine!

  • Hannah Bailey

    Heidi, my mom had a beautiful old hand mirror with scalloped edges and a pretty blue fabric backing that she had kept from her grandma- I remember feeling the way you felt about the tea cups with that mirror. I dropped it one day and the glass shattered. Felt absolutely terrible and so guilty even though my mom was very graceful about it. It makes me think about how I’m still learning to have grace with myself. One thing I do love about “things” is that they can be touchstones to memories or lessons learned. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories!