Instead of taking a beheaded porcelain cherub and painstakingly dabbing just enough transparent glue to invisibly reattach the head and seal the wound, someone following the literal practice of kintsugi might (still painstakingly) use lacquer mixed with molten silver or gold to create a beautiful sealed crack that is meant to be noticed. (Or, riffing on kintsugi a little, maybe you’d use bright-red hot glue to christen your new zombie cherub into its afterlife. That’s probably what I’d do.)
Inherent to kintsugi is not pretending the past never happened. After something breaks, it’ll never go back to how it was, and it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a painful process or that everything’s all better now. Or that you don't regret what happened. Or that it was your destiny or for a greater good necessarily.
My biggest abdominal surgery, in 2009, was technically minimally invasive--the tiny laparoscopic incisions healed faster and better than I’d hoped, and what was left was just a handful of pale, barely puffy scars. You wouldn’t know to look at me that I lost 10 inches of intestine, a job, a year of school, and a crappy friend or two.
It definitely cracked me, that surgery--I slept 11 hours each night, and awoke weepy and adrift each morning (well, afternoon). Should I have gone back to school right after having the surgery? Should I get this degree at all? Was I even smart enough to get this degree? Shouldn't I be feeling better by now? Should I be watching so many Lifetime movies? Was I going to go broke and have to get a job or go back to school before I was ready? Was it too soon to try to eat fruit again? Should I be showering more often? (No; maybe not; yes; no; probably not; yep; yes; definitely yes.)
I tried at first to make the surgery mean I was CURED. Hallelujah! Despite the fact that surgery doesn’t do that for Crohn’s and I very well knew that. But I thought it might cure the worst parts of Crohn’s--the constant bathroom awareness, the relentless exhaustion, the hating of its limits on my big plans to join the Peace Corps and be an astronaut (not actually things I knew I wanted to do until I found out I couldn’t, but still).
“Oh, I think I do overshare … it's my way of trying to understand myself. I don't know. I get it out of my head. It creates community when you talk about private things and you can find other people that have the same things.
“Otherwise, I don't know--I felt very lonely with some of the issues that I had or history that I had. And when I shared about it, I found that others had it, too.”
And as Carrie Fisher also said (and fictional Trade Minister Tagomi demonstrated): “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”
* You probably already know which toilet paper you like. But in case you don't, for a colonoscopy or for any day, you want to not only focus on softness (not the one-ply institutional scratchy paper) but also on a brand that won't leave fluffy residue behind that will irritate your skin and just be generally gross. I avoid Cottonelle for this reason. With no official (or unofficial, yet) endorsement or compensation, I use Seventh Generation toilet paper and baby wipes. Charmin also swears by having this quality.