Broken

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“Prompts for the Promptless” is a weekly prompt link up, focused on sharing perspectives and expanding minds. This week:“Kintsukuroi is a Japanese noun meaning “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.”
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I’ve been shattered.

I’ve been hurt.

Indeed, we are all broken.

Being broken, trampled, ignored, injured by this world is not justifiable.

It is not okay.

“Redemptive suffering” glorifies hurt.

It makes salvation only possible through bloodshed.

It breaks, ignores, tramples, injures our real bodies, personalities, emotions, souls, communities, histories.

Allows the privileged to look at a child in desperate poverty and say “isn’t that beautiful” while buying a $5 latte.

Yes, healing is beautiful. Searching, loving, embracing, dancing together toward something better is beautiful.

My beauty is not made more or less because I have hurt.

I do not need gold to cover it up. To hide it. Or to glorify it.

My beauty is and will be by virtue of my existence. Of my living with others who are broken. Of standing, shouting, singing, laughing through all we experience. Of holding, honoring and releasing hurt.

“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything – other people, trees, clouds.
And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion – that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”
~ Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures

“No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.”
~ Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language

Johari Window

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“Prompts for the Promptless” is a weekly prompt link up, focused on sharing perspectives and expanding minds. 

Introspection: one of my favorite pass-times.

Whether deriving from natural self-centeredness or a deep desire to understand this bumbling sack ‘o guts I’ve got for this trip, I return to a variety of models and attempts at self-understanding.

This week, the challenge is not only to see what I perceive about myself, but to also see if I can intuit what others see as well. It’s almost tailor-made for the theme of my blog!

The Johari Window exercise is rooted in cognitive psychology and prompts the individual, usually as part of a group, to take a list of adjectives and choose a few that lie within each category, or “perspective”:

  1. Open area: The things that you know about yourself, that others also know about you.

  2. Blind area: The things you don’t know about yourself, but others know.

  3. Hidden area: The things you know about yourself that others do not know.

  4. Unknown self: The things no one knows about you.

At first instinct, I’m going to assign some adjectives to each group for myself:

Open area: The things that you know about yourself, that others also know about you.
                    Able, Confident, Extroverted, Independent, Organized, Self-Assertive, Smart

Blind area: The things you don’t know about yourself, but others know.
                    [This one is hard…] Proud, Tense, Brave, Dependable, Friendly

Hidden area: The things you know about yourself that others do not know.
                    [Also hard, pretty open…] Accepting, Sentimental, Self-Conscious

Unknown self: The things no one knows about you.
                    Some of the adjectives that were not applied to me: Adaptable, Calm, Cheerful, Clever, Energetic, Giving, Powerful, Reflective, Logical, Loving, Shy, Spontaneous, Warm, Wise, Witty

Some first reactions:

1. I was much more apt to put negative connotations in the “Blind” area regarding the perception others have of me.
2. I do still feel like a pretty open, self-reflective person – I don’t “Hide” much.
3. I do want to do this in a discernment or close-knit group.

It would be phenomenally interesting to do this as part of a group – seeing which areas overlap in description, and where are powerful areas for breaking down my/our facades vs. letting our real selves rule.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

~Carl Jung

Listmania

“Prompts for the Promptless” is a weekly prompt link up, focused on sharing perspectives and expanding minds. 

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Shower. Check.

Dry Cleaning. Check.

Buy Coffee. Check.

Notebooks for more lists. Check.

I am not shy about my love of lists. I was practically giddy this week to be asked to share one of my many (and I mean many) running ledgers.

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I swear to Hypnotoad I totally wrote YAY! before I even opened my computer for the day.

Part memory-lapse and part-anxiety influenced, my lists are scattered everywhere in my life. They are also a family habit, with its root in my maternal grandmother, who I vividly remember hoarding empty envelopes to reuse as her weekly shopping list.

Unlike most of my generation, I just can’t make the conversion to the digital world of record keeping. I still print things to file; if it’s not hand-written in my calendar, I will not show up; and my address book is actually in (gasp) a book.

This week, I will admit, the mix is a bit odd; everything from PhD applications to running shoes to insurance to the thrift store; but I really did spend my morning working through it. And I think it resulted in the best budget ledger known to man.

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Now I’m off to check some more things off!

Lapsus Linguae

“Prompts for the Promptless” is a weekly prompt link up, focused on sharing perspectives and expanding minds. 

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Generally, I try to refrain from calling Salvadoran grandmothers assholes.

Yet sitting on a steamy patio in 2005, watching wrinkled faces twist and grimace, I knew my request to embroider a rabbit had gone terribly wrong.

This scene is all too familiar for anyone who has muddled through a semester, or even a short jaunt, to a foreign-speaking land.

The smug satisfaction of looking down on those who went to England or Australia is coupled with the resignation that they probably didn’t unwittingly ask their professor for a condom, or spend a good half hour asking strangers in Belize City where they kept their box of gold.

Which brings us back to the rabbit.

My undergraduate time abroad was with an incredible program that links study at the local university with practical work in the communities of San Salvador, El Salvador. Paired up with a women’s artisan cooperative, I spent my days listening to stories of family, civil war, survival, faith, neoliberalismo, and loss, then teaching English to their children in the afternoon.

The realities I encountered at AcoSilvia, even just the bus ride to the neighborhood’s gate, shattered my conceptions of struggle, human capacity, strength, hope, and my place in the midst of it all.

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My normally verbose nature was muted by the linguistic divide – learning most of your Spanish from books will not help you in the middle of a sewing lesson. Instead I listened hard, trying to mimic their words and then use them to convey my own thoughts.

I repeated my request again, switching up feminine/masculine, figuring that’s where I’d gone wrong.

As I attempted to puzzle through the looks on their faces, all trying so hard to be gentle and kind, the women eventually broke into a pitch of laughter I’ve only been blessed with a few times in my life. Never have you lived until you have seen a septuagenarian roll out of her chair from the giggles.

I looked around bewildered, but knowing that their laughter contained no judgement, only love.

Softly, our supervisor pointed to a rabbit she’d just sewn and said “conejo…no…la otra palabra” [rabbit…not…the other word].

The particular shade of red/pink I turned was surely impressive, but smiling, each woman made her way over to me, always thanking me for trying (and slyly pointing to other objects and saying the name very, very slowly).

Their grace has been echoed, by and large, throughout my travels and because of conejo I always keep trying – no matter what slips of the tongue may occur.

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Dispatch this week to Tiburon!