Trauma often results in a scar; sometimes a scar that can be seen, sometimes one that cannot. Whether it be visible to all, hidden from the view of questions, or live within our minds, we wear our experiences in our future. A story from our past we would rather not be reminded of.
My caesarean section scar shares a home with a scar that took away my potential for growing another baby (Singular; adjective, just one person or thing.). A scar I should be proud of as the way Bean came into the world, a mark that should be looked at with only warmth and happiness, tarnished by the single-use nature of my uterus. The scar that tells the story of how Bean survived being born, when she almost certainly would not have otherwise, for a long time made me recoil when I looked at it.
Unable to separate the two reasons for the slightly wiggly, pale and shiny line across my lower abdomen; a deep residing sadness for so long prevailed over the success story of that scar in my feelings toward it.
It is not a scar that gives away anymore than the way my child was born, and I have never needed to explain it. My scar brings no surprises, no invitation of an explanation beyond perhaps a cursory nod to the obvious. But to me it has always bought a fleeting moment of upset when forgotten and then noticed in the bath.
Had I felt sadness at Bean not having been born naturally then my scar would hold a different story, even in the absence of the retelling of its coming to being two days after its creation. Every scar holding a story as individual as the person bearing it, with many sealing in far more trauma than my own. My experience could have been so much worse, but even so the sinking feeling when looking at my scar felt like it would never really begin to fade.
But then I stumbled across kintsugi; the art of repairing broken pottery in a way that brings attention to the imperfection. The cracks are not smoothed over and hidden, but instead the eye of the magpie in us is drawn to the flaw by a gold, silver or platinum fill. There is light where there was trauma; the story of the pottery laid bare and beautiful.
Kintsugi helped me to see my scar differently.
It goes beyond Cohen’s wonderful forgetting of the perfect offering, and his recognition that it is the crack in everything that lets the light in. The shiny highlighting through the art of kintsugi ensures the imperfect offering emanates light; a positive projection from a negative experience.
Kintsugi showed me of the light that already shines from my scar, placing negative memories firmly in the dark. The negatives will not be banished by the light, but I will focus on the kintsugi I see in Bean daily, and the fortune of the presence I have to see it. The latter reason for my scar no longer solely a negative in the perception of my mind.
Be proud you are here to see the light of your scar, whatever your golden kintsugi glow overshadowing the difficult time from which it was born may be.
Look for the kintsugi in the stories that make others who they are, and see their light.