Kintsugi is the centuries old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. It’s based, in part, on the Japanese philosophy, wabi-sabi, which calls for seeing beauty in the flawed or imperfect. The repair method was also born from the Japanese feeling of mottainai, which expresses regret when something is wasted, as well as mushin, the acceptance of change.
In the past few years, I’ve seen this method used, in meme form, quite often on Facebook, as a call-to-action of sorts. Encouraging the reader to look at themselves, presumably broken, like a piece of pottery that needs to be repaired.
You may be broken, but in the places where you must be repaired, or already are, you can be beautiful and stronger than you were before.
I’ll admit, my jaded self scoffed at first. Not at the obvious work of art you see above. It’s gorgeous. But at the sentiment expressed. My scars and flaws I carry, physically and mentally are not beautiful, to me. They are ugly, puckered, and not something I wanted to world at large to see. They were to be hidden in closets and shadows, not flaunted.
But as I’ve gotten older, and possibly wiser (that’s still debatable), I’ve realized a few things. My scars are a map, they chronicle my journey, they tell stories. And some of those stories need to be told to others. Others, who, like me, survived. Others, who are still struggling to survive. Others, who don’t think they will survive.
And it’s my job, as someone who made it through, who is still standing, to tell my story. So that even one person can read it, hear it, and know, they aren’t alone.
If my broken pieces, melded together with a little bit of therapy, Valium, anti-depressants, and years of self-loathing to get where I am today, help even one person; then it was all worth the pain. It was all worth the journey I am still on, to this day.
Inspired in part by this lovely piece by Sherry Kappel: