The Beauty of Imperfect Fragility

Just over a week ago, Matt, a friend of mine posted a video online where he spoke beautifully from the heart about the pain and loss he still feels from the deaths of his Mother and Sister. The video is a fascinating moment as Matt opens up his feelings to show himself as vulnerable and fragile and telling us all how he used his positive and creative mindset to help himself heal as much as he can. He decided to forego presenting a strong and complete persona in favour of an authentic and candid look into his feelings.

A thread developed, from that video, of comments from his friends and relatives with conversations starting about how wonderfully lucky each of us were that Matt would share himself with us in this way so completely. It lead me to wondering why we often present a false impression of ourselves online and why we are often scared to show the fragile and broken parts of ourselves when the people around us will respond positively to our candid and fragile selves.

My worry is that our online personas are a mask and that we use those masks to hide our fragility behind instead of showing the world that the imperfections are what give us our own identity and therefore our individual beauty. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from other cultures on this?

Last week my daughter and I watched a beautifully illustrated animation from the French Director Sylvain Chomet. This animation is named Belleville Rendezvous in the UK but is named Les Triplettes de Belleville in France. Whilst we were watching this I started to compare the illustration style to that of the usual animation styles my daughter has been watching for the last 10 years which are mainly Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar movies.

Belleville Rendezvous 2003

This was only the second viewing I have had of this movie. The first was in the cinema in 2003 on the initial release, 15 years previously, yet the film has stayed with me and I remembered it as beautiful. In comparing the film to Disney movies I had the personal feeling that Belleville Rendezvous is much more beautiful even though the hues are less intense and there are imperfections in the world they have created such as the cracks in the paving that can be seen outside the door in the image above. But perhaps this beauty is because of these imperfections rather than in spite of them. Perhaps some of us relate better to a fragile beauty, perhaps there is a virtuous beauty within fragility.

There is an art form from Japan named Kintsugi or Kintsukoroi that translates roughly to the golden repair or the golden join. This art form takes a philosophy that an object should celebrate it’s history including the breakages and the repairs. More than that they make a virtue of showing this history which adds to the beauty of the object.

Kintsugi, the art of precious scars

The object shows it’s own history and the use of it shows us that not all life is perfect and even when it is not we do not have to discard it or hide it away from ourselves. Attempting to live a life of perfection is always going to come up against the imperfections in the world, in objects and in ourselves. Doing so is likely to increase our own insecurities as there is a large overhead when attempting to show the world a perfect version of ourselves and that overhead is a huge stress, a mental pressure to always measure up to what we believe the world wants to see.

I want to take the time to now celebrate the beauty of imperfect fragility in all it’s forms. When something is broken, let’s fix it in the most beautiful way we can, when creating entertainment, let’s show the cracks in the floor and when presenting ourselves to the world, let’s be authentic, unfiltered and unique and overall imperfect, fragile and beautiful.