“This is not night, but morning’s eve”
I recently wrote an article about hope and how that is reflected in my city, how I see myself in its scarred landscape. A good friend suggested that perhaps I wasn’t telling the full story, that there was more to my affinity for Christchurch than I spoke of; he was right.
Christchurch epitomises hope. Everywhere I look I see the ugly made beautiful; buildings scarred by the 2010/2011 earthquakes are covered in stunning artwork.
This is hope; the ability to make beauty from the rubble of our destruction.
Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”) is the Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery with gold and the repaired vessel is considered more valuable, more beautiful because of its damage. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise saying that the true life of the bowl begins the moment it is broken, not when it is crafted and so too, we are born within our moments of suffering and become beautiful in our repair; perfectly flawed and exquisitely scarred.
I have adopted this philosophy in my own personal journey of recovery and whilst it is excruciatingly difficult to embrace my own scars as a beautiful testament to my resilience I do so that I may offer hope to others who carry their history with them, whether it’s within or on their skin.
And I want to apologise if my vulnerability makes you uncomfortable. I’m not doing this to be gratuitous, not seeking to shock but I think it’s vitally important that our scars are not carried as shame but as a crown of glory, as evidence of our ability to not only survive, but to thrive through adversity.
My Kintsukuroi Journey
Looking in the mirror, I thumb the braille of my history, sliding fingers over the raised narrative I had no part in writing.
Every day I see her handiwork and every day I painstakingly cover it to camouflage, just so people will look me in the eye and not there or awkwardly away. I don’t want them staring at the cover of the trilogy she wrote on me just in case I see a hint of truth in what she told to me.
I have torn out the pages of her diatribe of lies, erased the filthy archives that spelled out broken lives and wrote myself a masterpiece of triumphant recreation complete with colourful characters, spills and thrills, and endless adventures.
My ability to do that, paint beauty to my pain, saves me from living in her library of narcissistic rage. I am neither her victim nor her survivor but rather a creation of my own making, crafted from the pieces of who I was before her hate broke me.
Yet, in spite of inner recreation, I cannot change the cover, can’t eliminate that wrap. I can only hope I’m brave enough to own it as my own, changing it from my hidden fear to wear it as my crown. I ache to feel the sunshine kiss the fullness of my face and whilst I cover that stain I’m also covering my magnificent truth and affording her a part of me to own in shame.
I’m prying it from her knuckled grasp, today I’m taking back what was never hers to hold, that thing she stole from me when I was just two years old.
This is my forehead. These are some of my scars. I am not ashamed.