Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and made extended eye contact with yourself? No, I don’t mean in a narcissistic way admiring your new fake tan or just how damn awesome you are, I mean in the way that makes a normal person uncomfortable.
Go on, go try it. There are very few things in life more confronting than confronting yourself in every sense of the word.
In December 2019 I was in Singapore and I had a stroll through some shops while waiting for the finishers of the Singapore Marathon to start coming in. My curiosity took me to a hand-made furniture shop where I struck up a conversation with the owner who had the most mesmerizing pieces on display throughout the shop.
He was a tall man with a warm face, dressed in a suit with glasses that suited his face perfectly. He took the time to walk me through the entire shop and explain every single piece to me, telling me about the artist, the materials and the story behind the pieces.
We started discussing life and he asked me if my husband was with me on my trip, which I found very confronting as I had not mentioned or hinted towards the fact that I was married.
That question struck a chord.
Luckily, through years of circumstances forcing a ‘keep your sh*t together appearance’ that would even make Her Majesty the Queen proud, I kept smiling despite the arrow piercing through my heart.
I wondered why he thought I was married as I hadn’t worn my wedding ring since he moved out in May that year and just kindly uttered ‘no, I’m here with my mom’. He gave a gentle smile and gestured towards a beautiful coffee table and asked me what I thought of the piece.
I stood there in absolute awe of a coffee table that was made out of wood with a big, gaping crack running through the middle of it, carefully ‘sewn’ together beautifully by pieces of rope.
I said “I think it shows that even broken things can be loved and be beautiful” as I felt a tear running down my cheek.
The man smiled a warm smile as we stood there in silence for what felt like hours staring at the coffee table.
That very moment was when my healing began.
The second I realised that I saw myself in that coffee table; cracked with big gaping holes where you could see right through, being carefully held together by what looks like clever sewing, was the moment I was ok with being broken.
What some people would toss out became a beautiful piece of art, and the moment I laid eyes on it my life changed. Someone chose to make something beautiful out of something broken.
I had an incredible peace set into my existence and felt a heavy burden lift off my entirety and a big smile met my face as I walked back to the stands to go watch the winners of the race come in.
In the words of the legendary Leonard Cohen:
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”
I firmly believe that it is necessary to honour each emotion by acknowledging it (not necessarily acting out on it immediately) when your body and spirit requires you to do so, so allow yourself to break.
Give yourself the grace you need to work through whatever it is you need to work through and know that even broken things can be loved and are beautiful, just like you.