(Guest Blog, as seen on: 16 December 2021 at http://www.seethetriumph.org/blog/beautifully-broken.)

I am all about analogies! I love the illustration of the broken plate, about how words can hurt. Well, that and all of the dishes and things I have had thrown at me or purposely broken by my abuser, in anger over the years, illustrates this point too. We do not just slide back together — we are forever changed by abuse. We could give this analogy all day and the abusers would not “get it.” Simply. Would. Not. Happen!

I have loved glassware and dishes for years. There are so many intricate, lovely designs, as infinite and varied as people are individual (for most are hand-painted). Fine china used to be housed and displayed in a fancy cabinet and taken out only to use with the finest visitors. I love how cherished these plates used to be, being passed on from generation to generation. That is how we should treat each other!

The abuser and their words are the wall or the floor, as we are (of course) the fine china plate. If dropped, even slightly, we break. Maybe not break completely, but chip or have a small edge piece break off. I have had fine china in the past and accidentally dropped a plate when hand washing it, but thankfully it didn’t break — however, it did have fine cracks and became a display only piece. I treated it well, because I didn’t want it to break further. Abusers do not take such care. When we become so broken, they may look for a new plate pattern (new supply person), but still use and chip away at our pottery.

However broken we feel, I also love that there is an art where pottery is mended with gold and varnish, and celebrated for its unique beauty and history. In Japan this art is called Kintsugi, which means “golden joinery.” It is put back together with pure gold! I feel as though it illustrates how we, those who have endured so much abuse and unkindness, have been put back together with pure love and understanding by the right artisans, naturally! They don’t will us together or command that we fix ourselves, they carefully piece us back, filling in the cracks and missing pieces with the gold of their love and caring actions, gently urging us and encouraging us to “hold fast.”

As a DV advocate and activist speaker, I put my imperfections out for others to see and to serve as a warning or guide to others. I am not asking people to fix me, for I have strengthened in my repair. My support system is my golden joinery. I am also not wanting people to feel sorry for me, but to see that I am gilded and unstoppable. Much like a concrete wall, I feel as though I harden in my beliefs every day, further strengthening myself to help others and hold myself up. I have flaws and different additives in my mixture, but that only makes me unique and strong.

There is beauty and honor in survival and in sharing what you endured. Please don’t keep your story a secret forever and do not hide your brokenness and flaws. You have power and beauty that the World needs to see and hear!