Mending has a bad rap. Most people are perfectionists. Few people prefer the re-sewn shirt (or the darned sock, the replaced zipper, or the patched trousers) to new, crisp clothes. Things lose their luster of perfection once they break. Mended things can’t be trusted.
We often make the same judgments about people, however unfairly.
I think that’s why people love the idea that something can be more beautiful after mending than before. We want it to be true. The meme makes the rounds every so often, and it’s one of those concepts that sticks in my brain.
The idea that being broken is more beautiful–implying better–makes me ponder the tangential and potentially awkward issues. Like, is it true? Is the piece more beautiful? If it is, doesn’t that mean we should want to be broken and then improved by mending? It seems odd, but some people do think so.
Nietzche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” or something to that effect. Me, I’ve often said Neitzche was an annoying, pretentious piece of shit.
If Neitzche was right, every competitive human being out there (most of us) would be constantly breaking themselves in the service of self-improvement. And they aren’t. Hard truth: that which does not kill us leaves us scarred and broken. We are not “stronger at the broken places,” as another meme would have us believe. If we find support and healing with help from others, we’re mended at those broken places, but mended is not a synonym for stronger.
I wear my scars without shame. Having been hurt in the past does not make me a victim now. But those scars also don’t inherently, magically make me better, stronger, more beautiful. They make me a new and different me, that’s all.
I’m mended, not perfect. We all are, really.
And we may be beautiful, but it isn’t the breaking that makes us so, nor the mending. We’re de new by the mending. Every new scar and breakage means getting to know and appreciate the new me it creates. (And that means a lot of frustration and tears and work. Things don’t mend on their own.)
Mending shouldn’t be about making something better. It should be about making something the best possible new thing it can be. And then appreciating the hell out of it still sticking around. And the same goes for people.
Check out this article that hit my facebook feed yesterday (fortuitous, eh?) : Creative Ways to Fix Broken Stuff None of these things is mended to be a more beautiful version of the broken thing. They’re mended to make the broken thing a whole new thing. And that’s awesome.
I’m not sure where this one went, but it’s done now. (And I cheated a wee bit and found the image & link after my 5 minutes+editing time were up.)
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image: attribution murky, object is believed to be from the Freer collection at the Smithsonian.