Prelude to Kintsugi
I was just four years old when my parents divorced. Until then, I was a happy child, known for my smile. Once they divorced, I was not the same child. I went into a shell; I was shy and unconfident. I was also cross-eyed. I felt bad about myself in more ways than one. My mother never recovered from the divorce. She grew to become a sad and bitter woman, who drowned her sorrows in the bottle. She hated men.
After I went to business school, my life was better. I was stronger. I emerged from my shell. I met a man who was gentle and kind. I decided to marry him because he had all the attributes of the sort of man who would never hurt me. He would not cheat, and he would not divorce me. All I wanted was to stay happily married and avoid the legacy of divorce.
I loved marriage and weddings! I loved them so much, it became my chosen profession. Wedding planners were not common in France, but after the famous movie many foreigners came to France to create their dream weddings. I was there to transform their dream into a reality.
At that time, I did not want to have a baby, but my husband wanted one very much. We had been married for nine years, and I wanted to make him happy. My baby girl was born, came into this world crying, and did not stop for a very long time. I hardly had any sleep, and I spent my days caring for her. My husband felt dejected.
My name is Celine Santini. This is my Kintsugi Story.
It was on December 31 st that I really felt something was very wrong in my marriage. By January 1st, I found out he was cheating. I asked, he confessed, and then he left. Now, my newborn baby and I cried together nonstop. I went to live with my mother. She was complicated, but she was willing and able to help me. In turn, I helped her.
One and a half years after my divorce, it was my mother’s birthday. While running errands, I bought her some gifts for the occasion. When I returned to deliver them and visit her, there was no answer at the door. I used my spare key and that is when I saw her lifeless body. She had ended her life. It was a very shocking, traumatic experience for anyone, especially for someone dealing with abandonment, fear, and life altering changes.
For the first time in my life, I actually fell on my knees to pray. It just so happened that I had recently trained a woman to become a wedding planner, but she also wanted to plan funerals. Through that process, I learned about prayer and spirituality. In a way, it prepared me for what was coming.
My mother had left me a letter explaining her reasons for ending her life. The letter saved me in many ways. It was not only that it gave me understanding, but it also freed me from blame. The police had me in custody, and I was being held as a suspect. The letter cleared my name, and it was only then I could start the healing process.
The End of Wedding Season
Within four hours, I closed my business. I passed every client along to other wedding planners. I had nothing left in me to give.
I could not plan any weddings and do justice to their most cherished moment. It is a difficult business to quit. There are always events in mid-planning. I knew in my heart that I could not plan one more wedding. I was done.
Putting it Down in Writing
I had no idea where to begin. I moved back to my childhood hometown. I bought an apartment and tried to rebuild myself. My mother had left me some money, and I had the luxury of using the time to find myself.
At first, it was only inertia: I could not move, I could not act. I was not sure I could even ‘Be.’ I began reading self-help books. The more I read, the more I wanted to write.
After visiting a hypnotherapist to help me get unstuck, I started writing. I would write 10 hours a day. I started a blog. But guess what? No one was reading. I was loving the writing process. I did not love that my messages were not reaching people. But one thing is for sure: I found my calling, and I realized I wanted to write.
An opportunity to write a book about the Montessori Method opened up. I was not a teacher, but my daughter was attending a Montessori school. I understood the method at a deep level. I was very lucky. A publisher asked me to write about it.
I felt such care from a higher power. Things were happening on their own. I was getting more and more opportunities to write and get published. From one book and on to another…
At that time, I reconnected with a high school friend. He was living in the United States, and we decided to meet in New York. We immediately fell in love. For a substantial period of time, we maintained a long-distance relationship. He wanted another child, and so did I. Even before we discussed marriage, we decided to have a child together. I got pregnant very quickly. Our relationship accelerated, and he moved to France.
Our bond was thriving while we met in the United States. He was well-treated at work, and his self-esteem was soaring. Things changed after the move to France. He was not treated well at work, and this was actually why he left France initially.
His negative professional life caused him to react and make bad decisions. The drinking started, along with the long nights out with friends. Bad choices were made. He was behaving like a teenager. We were married, but the marriage fell apart. Again.
Just a few short months after we wed, our relationship dissolved. I was a single mother all over again. I felt alone and defeated.
I wanted the security of marriage and the relationship. I wanted the stability. I wanted the fairytale ending. I wanted to love and be loved. But I could not endanger my child with an irresponsible father who was drunk and careless.
Leaving it to Fate
I saw a magazine cover, and it read: “How to have a Successful Divorce.” I never buy magazines, but something called my attention. I bought the magazine. Call it fate. In one section, the article mentioned the Japanese art of kintsugi. There wasn't a photograph of a piece, nothing but the concept. It intrigued me! After a bit of research, I had the biggest Aha moment of my life.
This is me! I am broken and mended! I survived a divorce before I survived my mother's suicide, and I will survive this, too. I will put gold in my cracks. I will persevere!
I had to understand more about the art. After much research, I bought the necessary materials to learn how to do kintsugi. Through this process, I realized how much it speaks to me.
My Montessori books were published in a company where my first husband works. I told him about kintsugi. In turn, he spoke to his publishing superior regarding my idea to write about kintsugi. Soon after, I sent her a synopsis of what my book would be. The book was accepted. I wrote the book I wanted to read; I wrote the book I needed to read to heal. I did all the steps of kintsugi as I was writing my book. Through the process, I was achieving my own healing.
Now, the book is sold in 10 countries in 10 different languages. I feel that bringing this message to the world is the most exciting thing I have done thus far.
I am an evolving work of Kintsugi… I am still working on myself. I am still adding gold in my breaks, still mending my heart.
But I know one thing:
I am so lucky, and I am Kintsugi.
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