The pretty, broken things

What fuels our obsession with hiding our scars?

All our lives we are taught to discard broken things, replace them with something new, something better, something that can be its replacement for there is nothing better than perfection.

For too long we have grown with the idea that we need to be perfect in everything. The way we look, the way we talk, the way we dress, the work we do, the children we have and even the lives we lead. Our minds are twisted into knots of gnarling trees entangled in this destructive concept of perfection that strangles us. The more we grow, the more it suffocates us.

People go to great lengths to be feel perfect, to fit this ever-changing mould that never allows us to fit its shape. With all the fake hair, fake eyelashes, fake faces, fake smiles, botox, weaves, blemish sticks, perfect pouts, perfect noses, implants in butts, cheeks, lips, fake nails, fake personalities and fake lives, what are we hiding?

We are still more miserable with each step we take towards this shifting ideal than we ever were when we started off. You can’t even compete with the fake-ness anymore because now we have fake humans trying to be real in the robots that are created to be what we think is the perfect human.

Imagine that, we had to create something inhuman in the quest for perfect humanity — more intelligent, more beautiful, more everything of ourselves that we could ever aim to be. We can never compete with artificial intelligence in the long run. Maybe what we are striving for isn’t the perfection of humanity at all.

Maybe what we are striving for in our pursuit for perfection is to become inhuman. Some people have already achieved that. The more fake you are, the less beautiful you become and the more you chase after it. It’s a downward spiral in a world gone mad and now we live in a place far less human than it was ever intended to be.

There is something beautiful and inherently human in embracing the flawed or the imperfect. To see past the outside, to what is most valuable in the passage of time, the history, the experience and the usefulness of a thing. Of a human. Of a being. There must be something more in the meaning of a human than what it looks like and how it handles logic.

We all exist in an aloneness, something inside our minds that very few others get a glimpse of. We do all these fake things to keep the prying eyes out, but sometimes even souls can see beyond what is visible. What makes us do these crazy things. Is it fear? Is it shame? Is it a denial of ourselves? What is it we are hiding?

Isn’t it sad to realise that we are all growing, learning, being, changing from one state to the next in every moment without anything but ourselves as proof of this transience? Everything is impermanent and in moments we will never get back is there nothing to honour our passage from this world to the next.

What do we have but invisible scars? Scars that we try to hide. Those very scars that made us who we are. The ones that taught us how to survive in difficult times, the ones that taught us to be alone, to seek, to pray, to do what was necessary to stand up for ourselves, to nurture our souls, to speak our minds, to protect our friends, to feel for others, to have compassion, to live with patience, to rely on hope and to be better than we ever thought we were.

Why would you hide your badges of honour? Your scars are a thing of beauty. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Think of yourself as a unique piece of art.

The Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken pottery is repaired with a lacquer mixed with gold, is a wonderful thing. It is about creating a more beautiful object than it was before it was broken, adding to its value. Instead of hiding the damage, the place of brokenness is illuminated for everyone to see.

It is a celebration of something that made it unique, stronger and more alluring. It is a visual story-telling about the vicissitudes of its being that permeates everything that it is, and creates something new. The process of being broken is an opportunity for reinvention, a time to create something better and more valuable in yourself.

We are not pretty, broken things. If we wore our scars on the outside we would be able to see everyone’s inherent beauty as pretty broken things. All you have to do is find your gold, the thing that makes you shine.

Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with gold.