This I Believe – Karen Avendano Ortega

WBAA’s This I Believe Essay Contest announced the top ten winners for 2021. These ten student’s essays were chosen out of a record number 114 submissions.  Their essays will be posted on the WBAA website and each student will record their essay to be heard on WBAA. Please join us in congratulating Akina Lindley  and Karen Avendano Ortega. Tribe Radio featured Karen’s essay February 26, 2021. Karen is the daughter of Ellie Ortega and Neo Avendano. Activities she does include Color Guard and Winter Guard. She enjoys reading, plants, tending to her garden, writing, and spending time with my friends and pet turtle. Karen is very ambitious and is able to speak three languages with intentions to learn two more. After high school Karen hopes to attend a college, but is currently undecided on what major. 

The Golden Lacquer of Life
Karen Avendano
Twin Lakes High School

If you are the type to drop things repeatedly and break them like me, others would call us clumsy or a klutz. To that, I say they are true in a sense. Others would break an item and upon seeing the damage caused, be quick to throw it away. I believe one should pick up the damaged pieces and find out a way to put them back together. There have been many times where I have dropped a valuable item that meant everything to me and watched it slowly hit the ground. I try to reach out for it and grasp it, feeling as it just narrowly slipped out of my fingers and watch it hit its untimely demise on the floor. And upon seeing the mess that lay scattered across my feet, I’d dejectedly lean over and pick it up, before setting it down on my table and assessing the damage.

As much as it pains me to see the shards, I figure it wouldn’t cost me anything much to try and put it back together. So taking out the glue, I get set upon breathing new life into my once broken item. Between quick and nimble fingers pressing glue in between the pieces and the hushed sounds of my breath filling up the room, I begin to find myself in the same position as the crafters and artisans of Japan, for we share one thing in common, finding the beauty in the imperfections presented and embracing them for what the items are, broken. This idea is known as Kintsugi or golden joinery. An art form of repairing broken pottery with the use of golden lacquer, viewing the breakage as a part of the item’s history and shining a light on its use. This emphasis on the wear and tear it’s gone through isn’t for nothing though. It goes to show us that the hardships we’ve experienced in life can be overcome and even at our lowest points when we feel shattered and as if we can no longer be put back together, we should remember these pains shape us as people. We can pick up the pieces and with a little golden lacquer of our own, put the pieces back together. For they are a part of who we are and reminders of the hardships we’ve been through. We shall not let them define us, but instead, teach us, and this I believe is why what is broken can be mended.