Kintsugi, also known as kintsukuroi, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a lacquer that has been mixed with gold or silver. As much as kintsugi is an inspiring art form, it is also a philosophical understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
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When I was 15 years old, what I thought was mine to give was taken from me. At such a young age, I was already learning that my body was meant to be used.
At 15 years old, I felt like I knew everything. I felt like I was a woman. I felt like I knew what I was getting myself into.
But I had no idea.
We grow up with adults telling us, that will never happen to you. A tornado will never tear through your town. Your house will never get broken into. Your parents won’t die until you’re very old. You will never get a disease or even a life threatening illness. You’ll never be held at gunpoint. You will never be raped. That will never happen to you.
So how could I have been prepared for my body to be ripped in half? For my heart to be so shattered? For the pain to feel so heavy and wrong? How could I have been prepared to deal with the chronic sadness and anxiety that would rid my mind of anything good for the next ten years?
“It takes years as a woman to unlearn
what you have been taught to be sorry for.”
— Amy Poehler
When that happened to me, I thought it was my fault— It was my fault because I was wearing tight jeans. I had on too much make-up. I lead him on. It was my fault for liking an older boy. For trusting him. Trusting him to treat me like I was human, too.
I really believed that, back then. And when things got worse with someone else when I was in college, I thought that was my fault too. I really thought that everything bad that happened to me, especially things that had to do with my body, was my fault.
And that’s because I grew up with everything in society telling me it was.
You see, women learn at a young age that we are supposed to be pretty. That we are supposed to be thin. That we should shave our legs and wear makeup. That we should only kiss men. That we should dream of our wedding day and we should save ourselves.
I didn't get to.
And this is how I was broken.
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I have a hard time being alone. My sadness overwhelms me. But I’ve been going to therapy for almost two years now, every week. And I think that’s important to talk about, because there’s this stigma that surrounds therapy— one that makes people think that you don’t need it unless you’re “crazy.”
But aren’t we all?
I have been sexually assaulted, abused, and raped. I have a hard time trusting people, especially men. And that’s what makes me broken.
But through talking to someone about these issues, I have been able to see through the storm clouds. Slowly, sure, but I’m getting there. Maybe sexual assault didn’t affect you, but you’ve got stuff too. Maybe I know what that stuff is already, and maybe I don’t.
I don’t necessarily think we all need to seek therapy. But I do think we need to talk to each other more often, and we need to be open to sadness and dealing with it.