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Beautifully Broken

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 is that our scars make us beautiful and that the "damage" makes these pieces unique and special.

Many of us (myself included) don't talk about our broken parts or 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 often don't want to show our imperfections to the world for fear of judgment.

As I navigated through my divorce, I didn't discuss it with many people except those in my tight circle. For example, I didn't tell my mother I was getting divorced until six 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 we did all we could to keep our marriage alive, but it was just too broken for either of us to feel happy as a married couple.

Slowly I began to open up more and share my story with others. Then, finally, I could talk about the pain and fear 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 who were a part of my family? I learned important lessons as I began talking about my brokenness with the people around me.

My biggest lesson was that I was not alone in this journey. That I had fantastic support and love all around me and people to share my fear and anxiety, which helped lighten my load. I also learned that sharing my journey helped to heal me and inspire others. There had been so much I was hiding and so much that others hid that 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 could use all of those scars, all of the "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 my broken parts; 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 become something I was excited to speak about. Just like the Japanese artist who highlights the damage in broken pottery with beauty, I too could show the beauty in the healing. I was able to show others what makes me unique and beautiful; as we pick up the broken pieces of our lives and begin to put them back together, we can create something so beautiful that 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 we are more interesting and valuable because of how 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 beautiful unfiltered scars, so share them and step out of the darkness and into the light.

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