I think there are some places that you simply pass through and other places that stay with you, no matter where you go.
Over the last week I have been visiting my old university town. It has been a weird experience, coming back after almost a year and a half of being away. When I stepped off the bus, it felt like such an out of body experience. I could not believe I was here, in this place that I never knew if I would come back to or not. But it also felt like I had never left at all.
So it is weird now, to know that I am leaving tomorrow morning, and knowing that this time, this might actually be goodbye (at least for more than a year and a half). It’s just…. Odd. In this tiny place, in the middle of nowhere in Wales, the essence of who I am changed.
There is a Japanese art form called ’kintsugi’, where the medium used is broken pottery. Instead of throwing out a broken bowl or mug (or whatever it may be) and seeing it as something that can no longer be used, the cracks are mended and the pieces put back together with a lacquer, which is then dusted with gold, silver or platinum, making the former cracks really stand out. Instead of an object being useless after breaking, this practice is about how the item is even more beautiful after it has been broken, because it now has a history, a sign of a life lived, an originality to it that it did not have in its initial form, a beautiful imperfection.
I was out for a walk this evening and for some reason, this art form popped into my head. That is when I realised: This place shattered me. Everyone who knows me well, knows that I went through some really rough times here. But because of this, I made friends that are more like family to me, and they were the ones who helped me pick up the pieces of myself. Them, and this place, became part of the lacquer that helped put me back together.
The fractures are there. They will not go away, nor do I want them to. They shattered and were mended and both of those things are now me, this place always connected to important events that make up my being, and the people who helped me are part of my essence. It is the beautiful and painful nature of this transformation. And I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Still, I will miss this crazy little place. But I am so grateful that I got to experience it, and that i was shattered in a place this wonderful, in order to become a much more imperfect, but also much more interesting creation.
If you’re curious about kintsugi, this is a really good and comprehensive video on it. I am by no means an expert on the art form.