I devoured it, the way middle school English teachers who haven’t quite had all the passion beaten out of them by the system tell you to devour poems: with your senses, your heart, your imagination, and then finally your brain.
I laughed and cried and was angry and relieved and even though Jenny and I have very little in common, I saw myself in every story. Because I am broken. I am anxious and depressed and have panic attacks and PTSD flashbacks and spend most of my life trying to avoid strangers and the unknown.
But I have also come to realize in recent years that my brokenness is part of my beauty.
There’s a Japanese pottery tradition, kintsugi, in which a broken vessel is repaired with gold dust resin, making the finished article more precious than it was before it broke.
That is where I find myself. My parts are fitted to each other with golden joinery, showing forever where I have broken, but reclaiming the shards as evidence of a transformation rather than as scattered debris of violence.
I’m broken because I have lost, because I have been attacked, because I was under too much pressure.
I’m furiously happy because I create, because I surround myself with people who cherish me, because I have learned to seek relief.
And I am not alone in my beautiful brokenness. There are a lot of us out there who shattered, who now live with gold dust in our cracks, making them shine out in the half-light.
We can’t hide our brokenness, but that’s okay. Having broken makes us human. We mend ourselves with show and with beauty, and we are all the more precious in the end.