Kintsugi: The tenacity of the broken

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing gold seems to stay

Read yesterday that scientists discovered that a humpback whale named Moon that they’ve been tracking for a decade had broken her spine.

For 10 years, they followed her from Canada to Hawaii – 3,000 miles – something she had to do for food and to teach her calf how to do the same.

Sometime recently, a ship hit her and broke her spine, dooming her.

There’s no question she’ll die, it’s just how long she’ll survive in excruciating pain.

But she longs to live. So, she swam the same path she always swam – except upside down and in pain and a broken tail.

She swam 3,000 miles doing the breaststroke.

Look how broken she is, yet I find her beautiful, nonetheless. I’ve always found people and things that struggle and scuffle against their fate, beautiful.

She’s going to die and I wonder if she knows.

I’ve long said that females seem stronger than males in many regards.

The stories I’ve read about Moon aren’t clear if she made this last trip with her calf or not but I wouldn’t be surprised.

As I said before – and quoting Agatha Christie – A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things, and crushes down, remorselessly, all that stands in its path.

It dares all things.

Including swimming upside-down for 3,000 miles with a broken back and tail.

Have you ever heard of kintsugi?

It the Japanese art of repairing broken things with melted gold.

Essentially things like pottery bowls are put back together with melted gold and the result is something beautiful despite its scars.

I always thought Alison was so beautiful, despite all she’d gone through.

There’s something beautiful about tenacity, especially when it’s driven by love.


Me: They thought I was 35.
Him: Were they white? It doesn’t count unless they were Asian.
Me: (laughing) All three were Asian.

I feel myself retreating into my head again. But, I’m remembering things, so I’m not alone.

For better or worse.

My therapist thinks I’ve been making great strides in putting this mess that is my head back together again but I’m not sure.

The rage is better – all the hours at the gym seem to help with that – but I look at my face and don’t recognize myself a lot. And I’m tired.

Three different people from my gym thought I was 35 when I’m really pushing 50. Actually, one guy thought a woman there was the oldest person in the room when I was actually 17 years older than her.

But I wonder what I’d look like without all the trauma from 2014 to, well, today.

I feel those years aged me more than pretty much anything.

This is one of the few good pics I have of me from 2014, with PerfectCircles, at my fave dive bar.

I’m 41 in it but I usually got that I was in my 20s.

And this one is when I actually turned 41.

Me with Abe

This is me with my buddy a few weeks later:
Logan Lo and a buddy on the Staten Island ferry

I’m flattered that people think I look so young but that vain, shallow part of me – which, granted, is pretty sizable – wonders how much younger I woulda looked like without all that fucking shit we went through.

Which, of course, is hopelessly stupid and banal considering all that I’ve lost.

But it’s just bonus pain to my grief.

I feel that if Alison were still alive, she’d think that I look great, despite the grey and the scars, both visible and invisible.

Love is blind, after all.

I wonder if I’ll ever meet anyone that thinks I’m great the way she did.

Or am I just so obviously and irreparably broken inside and out, without her or anything else gold to mend me?

It’s an old saying but it weighs at me, that nothing gold seems to stay.

And we’re all on our doomed journeys, some shorter and more tragic than others.

I suppose that, like Moon, there’s not much to do but keep going until the end.

Her: What’s going on?
Me: Well, pour me a drink, darling, and I’ll tell you. But you won’t enjoy the story.
Her: How does it end?
Me: (shrugging) Like most true stories, love: In tears.

Location: earlier today, watching the boy sing Jingle Bells and wishing everything was different
Mood: complex
Music: I’m broken but, I’m ready to feel better. Glue me back together? (Spotify)
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