How my mug helped me through my divorce.

We first had met via the pages of a magazine. The coup de foudre was instantaneous. A tiny photo of a mug, from a china series called “Incorrigible”, that was all there was and that was all needed to get me hooked. Simplicity, elegance, fluidity and movement translated into form. The mug seemed to dance (and, as I was to find out later, the artist had been indeed a dancer!). And then that name!

I cut out the picture and put it into my “Ideas” folder where it would stay for years. Every now and then, when I thumbed through the folder, I would come across this little snippet, less than half the size of a postcard, and tell myself: “One day I’ll get one.”

One day I looked at the photo again: “One day I’ll get one”, but this time I didn’t just let the thought float by. Then was a rough period. My husband and I had decided to separate but had agreed, for various organizational reasons, to still live under the same roof for another year. What did look like a good idea in theory, given our cordial relationship, proved to be a bumpy ride in reality.

Staring at the photo, I could feel the aching for more beauty in my life. This time I would get myself one of those mugs. Except that I had no idea where I would find them or even if they were still available. It took some internet research and then some courage to contact the artist and to ask for a retail address.

One friendly reply and one shopping trip later I held a beautiful mug in my hands, a piece that lived up to everything the photo had promised. Unique, elegant, fluid, simple and luxurious — the perfect embodiment of the life I aspire to. In my Thank You email I asked, more as an afterthought, were there any other pieces available apart from mugs?

“Well, maybe. What do you want?” I can still see myself, staring at the screen.

What did I want? The question came as a complete shock. How long since someone had asked me what I wanted?

How long had I not asked myself what I wanted?

For too long I had been too busy to keep my head above water and to get through the days. What I wanted seemed further away than ever. I sat very still and let the question sink. All kinds of sparks started to fly. And the answer was obvious — I wanted a complete set, plates, bowls, egg cups, everything! My inner critic started hyperventilating: “Grotesque, come on, this is _really_ not the time to put money into dinnerware, stupid idea, more urgent things to think of, so not necessary”; but here was the truth: a whole set was what I wanted.

“Normally I don’t make those, but as this is what you want…” But it would take between nine months and a year, was I ready to wait that long? Normally I’m the least patient person in the Western hemisphere, but for once the wait would be perfect: I’d receive my new china when I would move into my new house and into my new life!

And as the year continued, as I moved towards this new phase in my life, as I planned and prepared, struggled and fought, hoped and prayed and waited, all this time the mug was there, reminding me that even if things were hard right now, they were leading into the right direction. That better times would come. That I had the right to go for exactly what I wanted.

This very mug is the one I’m drinking my tea from every morning.

My new life has started and is unfolding beautifully.

I use my mug every day, along with the rest of my new china. And every day I enjoy not only the finesse of craftsmanship or its sheer beauty or even the incredible luxury of eating and drinking from bespoke china.

It’s much more than that: a reminder, an ongoing celebration and the living proof that it is possible, even in the darker moments in our lives, to go for what we truly want.

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