Autobiography · Mental Health

The Kintsugi Pictures

The Kintsugi Pictures: Ruby” © Becka Regan, 2016.

I was recently photographed for an art photo series called The Kintsugi Pictures. This series “[focuses] on the importance of our scar stories and their transformative power in our lives”.
When Becka first asked me if I was interested we both knew which scars we would focus on. My self-inflicted ones. I’d never been asked to write about my scars. Definitely never had anyone ask to photograph them. Especially not after they covered them in gold paint. I, obviously, was thrilled to participate.

Kintsugi is a form of Japanese pottery in which broken pieces are reconstructed using gold. The seams are visible and the pieces are considered more valuable after being shattered and repaired than when they were originally whole. Taking this idea and applying it to our bodies, our scars, was incredibly powerful for me. As Becka painted me it was as if I was finally being given permission to be okay with who I am. Okay with the things I did to my body.

My scars were finally not something to be ashamed of. No, it didn’t romanticize self-inflicted injury. It did not make me proud of my scars. It simply showed me that this is the way I am, that this is part of my story, and that there is nothing wrong with it. Like my story still counts, is still my story, that I did not lose myself to my cutting.

While she painted she told me a Chris Cleave quote she’d heard recently. “…a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” And that’s exactly what I did. What I continue to do. Being a part of this project was an incredible reminder of my own ability to safeguard my existence. A reminder that I become more valuable with my story. That I am not damaged goods, but a piece of art worth preserving.

Follow this incredible series on Facebook.

15 thoughts on “The Kintsugi Pictures

  1. I love the way you bare your heart. It helps me to deal with my own demons, my illness, my alcoholism.

    I read this quote by Thomas Huxley many years ago . . . . . .

    “Intellectually we stand on an island; in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability; our business in each generation is to recover a little more land.”

    I’m glad we are on the beach looking out right now.


  2. Absolutely beautiful! I’ve heard of kintsugi before as a metaphor for recovery, but never the idea to actually paint our physical scars. Your photographs are stunning, and I absolutely love this project and your reflections on its significance. Thank you so, so much for sharing. You certainly are strong, stunning, and brave!



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