Kintsugi (金継ぎ, "golden joinery") is the Japanese art of repairing pottery using precious metal as part of the repair. This process shows the beauty in the broken, it celebrates the damage instead of hiding it and pretending the damage never happened. This is such a beautiful idea to me. The idea that our scars are what makes us beautiful; that the “damage” is what makes these pieces unique and special.
Many of us (myself included) don’t talk about our broken parts, the things we struggle with and instead put on a happy face pretending that we have never struggled or haven’t been through difficult times. We post moments on social media that look perfect and happy in the picture but we rarely show what’s happening behind the scenes. We don’t want to show off our imperfections to the world often for fear of judgement.
As I navigated through my divorce, I found that I didn’t talk about it with many people except those in my tight circle. In fact, I didn’t tell my mother that I was getting divorced until 6 months after we separated. I felt so much guilt and shame that I failed at my marriage. I worried that people would judge me for not “making it work.” I believe now that we did all we could to keep our marriage alive but it was just too broken for either of us to feel happiness as a married couple.
Slowly I began to open up more and share my story with others. I was able to talk about the pain and fear that I felt in my new reality. The pain of losing a 20-year relationship. The fear of doing life “on my own.” How was I going to pay my bills? How was I going to parent alone? Would I ever fall in love again or was I destined to spend the rest of my life alone? Did I even want to fall in love again? Would I lose friends? Would I lose my in-laws who I loved dearly and were a part of my family? As I began to talk about all of my brokenness with people around me, I learned important lessons.
The biggest lesson I learned was that I was not alone in this journey. That I had amazing support and love all around me and people to share my fear and anxiety who helped lighten my load. I also learned that sharing my journey helped to heal me and inspired others. There had been so much I was hiding and so much that others hide we were all feeling alone in our struggles. Bringing light to those broken parts of me, the parts I was apprehensive of sharing because I might be judged, didn’t alienate me from the world but drew the world into me. I was able to use all of those scars, all of “bad” things to show how much I had grown and how strong I am. I was able to bring beauty and light into that dark place simply by sharing my story. I began to see the beauty in the broken parts of me; that showcasing them revealed these scars are beautiful and made me unique and special.
As I was unveiling these “broken” parts through sharing my story those scars began to turn into something I was excited to speak out about. Just like the Japanese artist who highlight the damage in broken pottery with beauty I too could show beauty in the healing. I was able to show others what makes me special and beautiful; that as we pick up the broken pieces of our lives and begin to put them back together, we can create something so beautiful it inspires those around us. We can present our growth to others to give hope, comfort, and proof we are not alone in our struggles. We can learn together that healing is beautiful and worth showing off, not something to hide. We are not bad because we have been broken or are struggling but are more interesting and valuable because of the way we have grown. Covering up the parts of our soul that we have restored fails to highlight our beautifully healed scars. The world deserves to see your unfiltered beautiful scars so share them and step out of the darkness and into the light.