I recently came across the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi: “Wabi-sabi is the Japanese idea of embracing the imperfect, of celebrating the worn, the cracked, the patinaed, both as a decorative concept and a spiritual one — it’s an acceptance of the toll that life takes on us all.” (Source here). I like it.
For a long time, I saw myself as this completely damaged person. I thought, who would want to be with someone as broken, physically and, to some extent, mentally, as I am?? It is only in the last year or so, that I’ve finally come to appreciate the burnishing I have, and how this makes me beautiful, rather than disfigures me. I used to be very self-conscious about the long, big scars on my back and hips, especially when I was wearing a swim-suit. Now, I almost take pride in my battle-scars – I have certainly earned them. It is funny when someone will describe a scar of theirs they think is super-gnarly. I just nod and silently think, I’ve got you beat on that one.
My partner used the word “patina” very early on in our relationship; and patina is, well, beautiful. He said, before your accident you were just another pretty, smart, athletic climber chick; but having come through your accident the way you have, makes you remarkable. He says he wishes I could see myself the way he and others see me. Self-perception versus truth has always been something I’ve struggled with, and I know many people do too. I am working on getting better at seeing myself in a more objective light.