I’ve never liked wearing any jewelry.
I never wore a wrist watch or my class ring. And certainly no bracelets, necklaces or earrings.
After Cherie and I got married I’d wear my wedding band to the office, but take it off and put it in a desk drawer when I got there. Then I’d put it back on to go home. I didn’t want her to think that I didn’t want to wear it, but I hated the feel of it on my finger. Finally I fessed up to her, telling her that I’d tattoo my marital status on my forehead if necessary, but that I just couldn’t stand wearing a ring. Turns out that it didn’t matter to her whether I wore the ring or not. So it hasn’t been on my finger for over 25 years not.
So with my long-time dislike of jewelry I was a very unlikely candidate to take up bracelet-wearing.
There was a peace labyrinth at the 2012 Wild Goose festival. As I remember it, there were stations within it, with things like photos of the consequences of violence, war and peacemaking, a sculpture of guns being hammered into farm tools, and the like. At the final station there were pieces of colored string that had been woven into bracelets by kids as part of the children’s activities. I had Cherie tie one onto my wrist.
And then I left it there.
I wore that bracelet for over a year, until it disappeared last week. By then it was just hanging on by a thread (literally). I knew its days were numbered, but assumed I’d notice when it broke. Instead, I just discovered one evening that it was gone.
Wearing a multicolored string bracelet for a year may not sound like a big deal to most people, but it was a pretty major step outside of the box for me. I noticed that lots of people’s eyes were drawn to it, but no one ever asked me what it was or why I was wearing it.
Now I’m bracelet-free once again. But I’m not without jewelry (if that is the right word).
Last year I cut a cross-shaped piece of wood out of a tobacco stick, drilled a hole in it, ran a piece of string through it and tied it around my neck. At age 53, it’s my first-ever necklace.
I’ve been thinking about how a simple act like tying something around my wrist or neck is reflective of some very significant changes in my life. Life is funny like that.
And in case anyone is wondering, there will be no earring.