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BENT NOT BROKEN: Rediscovering, redefining, & recovering myself | Aly

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Have you heard of kintsukuroi?


It’s a Japanese form of repairing pottery, where brokenness is embraced as art. Broken pieces of pottery are put back together, using gold or silver lacquer to once again become whole; and it is thought to be more beautiful because it had been broken. I remember several years ago seeing a pin on Pinterest of a broken piece of pottery with golden veins running all along the side. When I read about what kintsukuroi was, it resonated deep within me, because for so long I have felt like a broken piece of pottery that could never be put back together.

I am a broken woman. It’s scary to admit it to myself, let alone online to whoever is reading this! But the truth is, I need to talk about it. For too long I’ve kept things to myself, and tried to internally work through them or “let them go.” It’s healthy and necessary to talk about these things, and so I’m putting them out there. Plus if I ever want to hunt down all of my broken pieces, I need to talk through things and help myself towards each one.

People say scars are beautiful. Who doesn’t dig a totally gnarly scar with an equally cool story, am I right? Scars are a necessary evil. They hurt when we get them, when they dig deep through our protective layers and bleed us from our inner-most emotional veins. These wounds and scars make us human, they make us real; and that’s why they are beautiful. There is beauty in the pain, and when the scars heal they serve as a reminder of what we have been through and how strong we are to overcome the things that try to break us.

I have scars. Internally and physically. Some have healed and some haven’t. In my twenties I was in two horribly abusive relationships, one was my previous marriage. I lost my mom to cancer in 2015 and a large part of myself died with her. I found out I may potentially never be able to have children, and I feel as if in a way I am a failure as a woman. And then this past October I finally found the courage to leave my abusive alcoholic ex-husband, because my life literally depended on my choice to leave or stay.

To say I’m broken into what feels like a hundred thousand pieces doesn’t come close to how I truly feel, and some days I fear I’ll never be put back together completely. But this brings me back to the kintsukuroi.  Slowly I am picking up these pieces of myself that seem to have exploded everywhere. Each piece I discover can be put back together, painted with the gold resin of rebirth, of rejuvenation. Each piece makes me appreciate my life, the people in my life who love and support me, and each piece reminds me how much I love myself.

Every piece brings me closer to feeling whole again, and balanced from inside out. That’s the goal, to feel whole and to feel happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy! But I know I’m still missing parts of me that will finish this jigsaw heart and put me back together again. Some pieces will probably be forever lost, but the good thing is there are new pieces that can fill in those empty spaces.

So join me on this journey as I search for my missing pieces, and watch me paint each one in gold

Aly Maughan from Painted with Gold

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