I met an incredible female entrepreneur and artisan at a pop-up shop yesterday who explained to me Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repaired pottery.
I would like to pose the notion of Human Kintsukuroi, the ability for someone who may seem broken or cracked to build completely new foundations and craft an even more beautiful life. Moreover, the cracks and chips in our life are what make us beautiful, unique and valuable. It is the fact that we are different, rather than a generic Pottery Barn replica, that enhances our value and gives us our character. This belief of Human Kintsukuroi reminded me of my own experience recovering from a traumatic experience.
When I was 20, a burglar broke into my home while I was there alone, house-sitting for my parents.
I woke up to a burglar rifling through my parents’ possessions. At first, I was half-asleep, thinking it was my brother accidentally scaring me, but then I saw the man in a ski mask hiding behind my bedroom door. He was tall, at least 6 feet, wearing all black clothing and black gloves with the ski mask. As soon as he saw me, he jumped out from behind the door to grab me.
My body flooded with adrenaline, the fight or flight instinct kicked in. I slammed the door on his head, he fell back against the wall and I sprinted like lightning down the stairs, out the door and to a safe neighbor’s house, where I could call the police.
That was the most terrifying moment of my life.
Only now, over six years later, am I able to get a full night’s sleep.
I was diagnosed with PTSD from the experience and the slightest noises at night would bring about a panic attack.
Yet, after a couple years, I was able to stand tall and confront my fears. I made a conscious decision to look forward rather than backwards. I decided that I did not want this experience to define me nor did I identify as a victim. Additionally, I realized that it was wrong of me to generalize and instead I was able to separate and individuate that it was a stand-alone incident. In this process,I realized something wonderful: that in moments of need, I wouldn’t back down from a fight and stand frozen; my fighting skills are ingrained in me and I know how to act. That makes me feel as if I have true grit.
In Kintsukuroi, the pottery is often pieced together using gold or silver lacquer to create something even stronger and more beautiful than before. It is a way of creating that embraces all the cracks, flaws and imperfections and believes that precisely because it had been broken is it able to be so incredibly beautiful afterwards.
In my eyes, I believe it is the difficulties that I have experienced that has made my bowl more unique and I feel blessed for them.