I bought this mug around three years ago from a town in Central Europe. It was handmade and colorful. It was instant love. I carried it in my carry on, wrapped it with sweaters and shirts so that it wouldn’t break. When I arrived home, I drank from it everyday. It made me feel special, creative and happy. Then it broke.
It was a dramatic break as well. It slipped from my hand as I was washing it and flew on the counter and broke. I tried to save it, but I couldn’t. I was heart broken. I glued the broken bits together, but they would fall off. It was like the mug didn’t want to be fixed. I stopped using it and placed it in the back corner of the cupboard. Punished. Replaced by an Ikea mug.
So the other day, when I was talking to a friend of mine, he mentioned the beauty of imperfections, and my mind went to this mug. Why did I disregard something, that made me so happy, simply because it became imperfect?
I learned about the beauty of imperfections back in high school. How to look for it and appreciate it, but I never understood it. I thought it was a whimsical idea that was taught to us by my overly metaphorical english teacher. I think I understand it now.
The other day I went out to take photos with my professional camera. It was raining and hailing, but I insisted. I thought I would take amazing photos with a hint of winter drama. But that was not the case. Instead, it was cold and wet and I was covering my overly sensitive camera the whole time for fear of getting it wet. A very imperfect day, if you may ask.
We aim for everything to be picture perfect, the food we eat, the car we drive, the book we read, the relationships we have, and once they become imperfect, we throw them away. We are so accustomed to replacing things, that we don’t appreciate their value nor their imperfect beauties. From phones, to cars, to marriages. Everything is replaceable. Why would we use something broken? What would people say when they see you drink from a broken mug, or stay in an atypical relationship? Where is the beauty in that?
There is beauty in the imperfection, however. Just look around us, winter is all about imperfect beauties. From golden leaves breaking through the green, to clouds wanting to rain but holding back, to puddles on the streets swaying from side to side, mirroring passersby. You find beauty in the un-photogenic food that is made with love, your very first used car paid for by your very first salary, your favorite book ripped apart from all the reading and, the relationship, on the surface, so imperfect, yet deep down, it’s not.
When I saw the pictures I took from my rainy photoshoot, I was surprisingly content with them. They were exactly what I wanted, “amazing photos with a hint of winter drama” (by my opinion). When I picked up my broken mug again for this post, I realized how beautiful it was and how blind I have been.
Beautiful things don’t have to be punished for their imperfections, they have to be celebrated. It is like “Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.” Celebrated rather than disguised.
It is so easy to spot imperfections and magnify them to the world. Punish, disguise and replace them. Why not spot imperfections, for a change, and look within their beauties? Honor and celebrate them? If you ask me, you may find yourself surprisingly content.