Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kintsugi - Is This How You See Yourself?

I've noticed this thing going around recently- people blogging about it; posting on Facebook about it, etc.  It's a Japanese art form known as Kintsugi.  In actuality, it's not anything new at all; it's been around (they think) since the 15th century.

So, after my crazy-busy month (May) of conferences and training and traveling and catching up on things, I thought I'd jump back into my blogging by weighing in on this topic from my perspective.  It's a subject that is VERY near and dear to my heart.

Tattoo by Joseph Gilland
Damaged Goods.  

How many times have I thought of myself this way? How many times have I heard PSAs express this EXACT sentiment?!!  Yes, none of us are perfect.  We all carry different amounts and types of flaws in us.  That's part of being human.  

What I'm talking about is on another level...  

It's that feeling of being "damaged goods."

Biographia Domestica
Lakeside Pottery
It's like the difference between a bowl that was chipped and one that was broken into pieces.  

Somehow, there was this feeling (maybe belief?) that the "flaws" I knew I had were okay; like the chipped bowl, I still had a use and a purpose. I was still beautiful.  But the utter brokenness I went through, beginning with my "D-Day", seemed to incapacitate me. I knew I would never be the same.  I was damaged goods.

At least, that's one way to look at it.

Kintsugi, though, is another way to look at it.  It epitomizes what I've come to see has happened in my own life.  Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on Kintsugi, and the philosophy behind it: "it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."

Let me illustrate with pictures:
Broken Bowl - Lakeside Pottery
Same broken bowl,
restored with gold -
the art of Kintsugi - Lakeside Pottery
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. 

Yes, I've been pretty severely broken.  I will never be the same.  But that doesn't mean I'm damaged goods.  I'm slowly, but surely being restored, and I actually think I'm MORE beautiful now then I was BEFORE I was broken.  I will never be able to function EXACTLY like I did before - my trust is a more fragile and cynical thing.  But, I'm also more compassionate, more (though still not very) patient - I could name quite a few more ways that I see where I have become MORE BEAUTIFUL through my breaking and "restoration".

I think one of the keys here is hope.  I have hope that the broken pieces laying on the floor WERE NOT the end of the story. It's a part of my story; my history.  I will be restored.  I am being restored.  

In addition - It's not something I need to hide - it's led to beauty that wouldn't be there if I hadn't been broken.  And it's my belief that others see this beauty in me.

So, what about you?  How do you see yourself? Do you struggle to see past the damaged goods feeling?  Do you have hope that the broken pieces aren't the end of your story, either?  If you're not there yet, does this art of Kinsugi put a desire in you to find that hope?  Or maybe you're already well into the process of being restored - in what ways have you become MORE beautiful? Can you recognize them, give thanks for them, and cherish them?

As always, I'd love to hear the thoughts/feelings/observations and questions this post stirs in you.

Til next time, take care of yourselves ladies.