All, Mental wellbeing, Post-Treatment

Kintsugi and cancer – making the broken beautiful

Kintsugi is a practice which originated in Japan, where broken bowls and vases are mended with gold. Rather than trying to hide the flaws and cracks, they are celebrated and turned into something beautiful. Often, the finished product is far more beautiful and interesting than it was before it was broken.

I heard about this ages ago, and it struck me as something wonderful – the idea that our scars and “broken bits” could add to our character and rather than being hidden should be celebrated.

Recently the new Kelly Clarkson song “Broken and beautiful” has been earworming me, and keeps popping up in my spotify playlists, and this concept of Kintsugi has come to the front of my mind again. 

An example of a kintsugi bowl

The whole PMA (positive mental attitude) thing and I have a rollercoaster relationship – sometimes I am the poster child for positivity, other times I find the whole thing irritating and exhausting, and I want to tell positive people to f*** off and take their positivity with them! But in the spirit of kintsugi, here are the seams of gold that have come out of my experience with cancer.

  • I’ve met and connected with some amazing people in this incredible cancer community of ours, people that I would never have had any reason to cross paths with, that I respect and admire, and am inspired by daily
  • I’ve proven I can face down some serious shit and come out the other side, before I always suspected I was a bit of a bad ass, now I have proof!
  • I feel I have now got my priorities right – something I’m not sure I could have always claimed – prior to cancer I was a workaholic, stress-bunny who didn’t spend enough time with family, friends or looking after myself. I am more balanced now, and I feel I have reprioritised the things that truly matter.
  • By learning what is important to me, I’ve become better at saying no to the things that are not.
  • I am kinder, more empathetic and more conscious – to myself, to others and to this planet of ours.  
  • This said, my tolerance for, and acceptance of bullshit and unnecessary drama has been dramatically reduced, and this makes life simpler, as I don’t waste energy on it

The main seam of gold that I take from this whole thing, and I am aware it is a bit of a cliche, is that life is short, too short to sweat the small stuff, or to waste energy on things that make you unhappy. Instead you need to grab it by the balls and  turn it into your own version of beautiful – scars and all. 

Cancer sucks, and it is horrible and I wish it had never entered my life, but I can’t go back. Cancer is now a part of my life and I will never be the person I was before, so rather than trying to be, I need to embrace who I am today and Kintsugi the shit out of the new me


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