Learning from Jaqueline’s Kintsugi Story
I flew to LA to meet Jaqueline. We “knew” each other after meeting online, as we had collaborated a few years earlier. I was always in awe of her work, so I would sporadically send her messages of admiration of her efforts. Jaqueline is not just any model. She embodies the character she depicts like an award-winning actress. If there were Oscars for modeling, she would own some for sure.
The reason for flying to LA to meet Jaqueline was that she volunteered and sponsored the photographer that brought my Kintsugi Collection to life. Jaqueline believed in the brand and in our mission. But what I did not know at first was about Jaqueline’s own Kintsugi story.
I arrived in LA at night. Jaqueline was not home, but she gave me the directions on how to enter her home by myself. In reality, I was almost a total stranger. She made me feel at home with her warmth.
The following morning, we met and got ready for our photo shoot. Jaqueline understood exactly what I was looking for. It was almost as if she had entered my mind. She saw what I saw and then she produced. At the end of a creative and enriching day, we sat after showers for our interview. It lasted three hours.
The Personal Impact of Jaqueline’s Story
Inside of me, I had so many feelings. I think my first impression was that I could not believe that the strong, amazing, vibrant, happy, and giving woman that was in front of me had gone through such horror. How could that be? Then, I felt anger. How could someone be so terrible to someone so kind, generous, and loving?
Then, I felt the pain. I knew that Jaqueline had endured so much and on her own for so long. I just wanted to give her a hug. Then I felt such pride! She shared such intimate details because she knew that it could help someone else. Ultimately, this was a woman who turned her life around. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions.
There was so much for me to learn, and I felt such responsibility to do full justice when retelling the story. What are the important points? I couldn’t retell three hours of details. I had to make sure that the goal of the blog was not to go into the most private parts of someone’s hardships, but ultimately show the world a glimpse of her experience. Then, I could express that there is hope and that brokenness can be mended, repaired and if done so with gold, an amazing, giving life could be formed.
Lessons from Jaqueline
Get help. There is no need to try alone. Most people feel embarrassed and ashamed from their experiences. Therefore, they don’t seek help. People should not feel that way when tragedy strikes. There is no embarrassment. Frankly, I believe that we are all fighting a fight, so we are not as alone in our misery as we think. We also have to be attentive to our friends. If we notice odd behaviors, we should always make it known that we are here to support and help in whatever way we can.
Certain behaviors mask pain. It’s ok to find something that reduces pain, but there are negative behaviors and positive ones. Positive behaviors such as writing a blog and modeling empowered her while eating disorders and shoplifting had a negative impact. We must choose better and do things that build us, not destroy us, while we ease some of the pain. Habits can be changed. I recommend reading the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg who has taught me about how to understand how habits are formed and how to change them.
Different meanings. I cannot stress enough what I mentioned on the previous blog (http://bit.ly/lessonsfromxierra). The same story has different meanings for different people. There is no one answer, no one way… For me, this was helpful. To some, this may not be. Each of us is allowed to take away our own healing, in our own way, from other's stories.
- About forgiveness. This was a very important question personally. One of the questions I asked Jaqueline is how she felt about forgiveness. Does she believe in the concept that forgiveness is more for you than for the other person? Should we grant forgiveness to heal ourselves? Jaqueline said, “You don’t forgive the unforgivable, but you do set a boundary and don’t allow this person to hurt you any further. You don’t keep hashing out what has happened. You move on. You give yourself the freedom you deserve from the forgiveness, but you don’t absolve the person from the wrongdoing, especially when they haven’t even asked for forgiveness.”
Forgiveness & Healing
“You do set a boundary and don’t allow this person to hurt you any further.” These words mean a great deal to me. As we explored this question more, I realized that so much of my pain was giving in to further pain because I was not setting boundaries. By that I mean saying, "I don’t deserve this. I am a good person. I am not going to allow this pain to linger, I am going to live a good productive life. I am going to do good, help others, be a productive member of society; I am going to leave behind all the pain. I will close the door to this person or phase because that was in the past and now I am a different, stronger person…. I am not obliged to forgive the unforgivable to be set free. I can if I am able, but it is not mandatory." That was eye opening to me, and I hope it resonates with some of you.
I learned so much from Jaqueline’s story but also from her generosity, from her happy spirit, from how she conducts herself without a victim mentality.
Something bad happened to her. She saw that parts of it were bad choices; parts were other's bad choices. She couldn’t do anything about their choices, but she could do something about hers. She was committed to putting in the work and changing her life around. The world did not owe her the perfect life. She owed it to herself.
If you are in an abusive relationship please seek help:
Share your comments and thoughts. Your kintsugi experience may inspire others just like Jaqueline’s has and will continue to do. We would love to hear from you today!