The Sea of Ice
Caspar David Friedrich, 1823 – 24.
Do you recall the split second between the moment when you slightly loosened your grip on that fragile object and the silence before the break?
Starting from that specific brief wave of time, an overwhelming sense of emotion swallows all of us up, from dread to exasperation to anger or even to sorrow.
The swift and crisp cracking sound echoed throughout the vacuum you were at, and after that instant, you were left with nothing else but the broken pieces to pick up.
No matter who we are, what we identify with and how we were brought up (till this day), we are all broken one way or another. We trot along the the paths that were paved and given to us in life while occasionally finding ourselves muddled within sticky situations or crossroads that force us to make a choice that we don’t necessarily want to make.
It was said that without pain, there will be no gain, and that experience is the mother of wisdom.
We used to run with such carelessness that evolves into treading with carefulness, because of our unique wears and tears. The temporary wounds, that may or may not leave permanent scars, serve as our individual warning signs to protect and prevent ourselves from alarming situations. Sometimes we become too overprotective of ourselves to the extent that it may be sabotaging anything genuine and organic to develop. Life is pretty fucking difficult.
We’re shattered and hurt.
Sometimes we tend to lose a little part of ourselves that we cannot ever retrieve back from these fractures, just like the microscopic parts of the broken pieces of glass and ceramic wares that we’ve (accidentally? or perhaps, in a spur and flash of rage, incidentally? – definitely not judging here, despite never doing so) smashed. We only realize what was lost at that time when we tend to step on the shards that we’ve neglected to sweep up. After all, it is so, so hard to pick up all of the bits amidst all the pain. Occasionally, there’s a blunt bittersweet sensation that comes with it. Introspection and perhaps some objectivity accompany this feeling as we teleport back to the past and reach out and hang by some lingering, specific memories.
I’m aware of my imperfection, and yet I still claw onto the notion that maybe, if I were to try hard enough, and be good enough, I’d reach perfection.
I consistently wager all of me on unfeasible bets. I strive to be the brand new, or if not, at the bare minimum, the pristine and mint condition.
It seems absolutely ridiculous to settle for less.
That way, perhaps the people who have left, or whom I have left, would have wanted to stay, or would have let me wanted to stay. I, or maybe we, wouldn’t lose and experience agony…so to say.
I break and it seems like a part of my heart gets cut and stabs every single time someone leaves. As we mutually, or forcefully drift, it feels as if that person managed to hollow out a chunk of me. My facade, however, will always look complete.
In plain sight, it seems absolutely ridiculous to aim for something that is nonexistent. It just took (more than some) time for me to notice that. I still tumble, then trip and fall back to the infinite prison of perfection frequently. It’s quite simple to self-loathe and to convince myself that I’m nothing more than a broken record of fuck ups. A little too easy, perhaps.
Usually after these tough farewells, I try, and oh, I really do try, to maintain and sustain myself. Ultimately, all I manage to do is to crash, burn, and fall apart. I’ve placed more effort than I’d like to admit into keep up and remain identical, yet always somehow end up to obliterate.
It’s impossible to persist in the same form in the face of destruction, so all we can ever do in the face of ruin is to realize that we will never, ever be the same as before.
Kintsugi © tsugi.de
I’ve always been fascinated with art, but as we all live, learn, and branch out, I managed to stumble upon a type of traditional Japanese art called kintsugi (金継ぎ), also known as kintsukuori (金繕い). Obviously, I can’t type Japanese, so I’m relying on Wikipedia, an article on Lifegate (always cross check your sources), as well as copy and paste over here.
Kin translates to “golden”, and tsugi to “repair”. So kintsugi here is the art of repairing broken pottery with materials such as liquid gold, liquid silver, or even lacquer dusted with powdered gold.
Pretty neat, huh?
I’ve done some digging and found out that kintsugi is also tied to wabi-sabi, which is a Japanese philosophy that essentially (in a nutshell) embraces imperfection and celebrates the beauty of it.
Wabi translates to roughly “simplicity”, and sabi to “beauty of age and wear”, and if you want to read more about it, refer to this page.
Needless to say, I am in utter love with the serenity and simplicity that kintsugi and wabi-sabi embodies already, despite the rudimentary knowledge I have for them.
It brings me an inexplicable sense of tranquility as I look at the works of kintsugi. Is it a bit presumptuous to compare each and every single one of us as some sort of kintsugi? We are all work in progress.
It’s impossible to keep ourselves whole and unscathed from all of the experiences and memories that we went, are, and will go through in our entire lifetime.
So here I am, telling you that it is okay – in fact, more than okay to allow complete obliteration. It could be the end of any of anything that holds dear for you. It could be an organic or inorganic destruction, really, whatever floats your boat.
There comes a time where we will stand still, observe, obsessively ponder, and be afraid to take a step. No one wants to deconstruct what he / she has built just to scrutinize every part to precisely see what and where it all went wrong. No one wants to figure out which part was fucked up. You see, to open and touch that part is to inflict pain on oneself. It’s not the typical, passive criticism that one casts onto him / herself of how worthless he / she is. It’s recognizing what part or what belief and value that he / she has that led to the final demise.
We all mess up one way or another. A lot of us don’t even have a heart of gold. We dive into actions that will stir up future regrets, and we swim within the depths of remorse fabricated by our own memories.
It’s the cliched saying that it’s the matter of time. It’s always with the assistance impartial time. What we all deemed impossible to do eventually gets done.
The biggest remnants get picked up and pieced together first. Those are your core values and beliefs, and incredulous or not, you as a being that remained mostly or partially intact despite the harsh collapse. The salvageable smaller bits are the relationships and differences that you tinker and adjust to after the breakage. Those take some more time to connect back together after the damage.
The parts that you can trace and piece back together are important, but we tend to forget tiny pieces that we sweep and throw away. Those are the outlines of our individual works of kintsugi.
Allow yourself to recollect the people, experiences, heartbreaks and aches that broke – or is currently breaking you.
Without them, you are devoid of the golden silhouettes that fix you back into one whole (and perhaps a little more resilient) piece again.
There is no end without a beginning; there is no growth without pain.
No more harboring ill-will and keeping counts of the past, for darling, these old and new repairs are what truly makes you stand out.
I’m able to see the imperfection in others and distribute a part of me, and a part of my love to them. It has and never will be because of some savior complex. I’ve recognized my incapability to fully save myself, let alone anyone else.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I truly believe that the most breathtaking parts are your unique golden mends.
Don’t ever intentionally hide your flaws and fractures, because there are people out there who will love you irregardless.
Those are the ones to keep, as they are gold. Just like your individual cracks.
And yes, the dear past and present beings who were / are involved in my life – you’ve all made some sort of fissure, some sort of impact. Some positive, and some negative. Some of you shattered and broke me into multiple, miniature pieces. It took more time than I’m willing to admit to pick myself back up. In fact, I’m in the process of doing so now…yet again. Ironically, you have probably forgotten about me already, but that’s okay as well.
However, I still think of you as golden.
You will always be golden.
And I? I will not always be broken: thank you for the cracks and the lessons.