This may not seem so huge to many of my readers, but if you know me at all, you will understand that for me…
Well, let me just explain here.
Again, if you know me at all, you’ve probably figured out that jewelry is significant to my every day well-being. Have you ever seen me out without earrings?
And then there is The Bracelet:
34 years with this baby
And The Ring (9-ish years):
The bracelets are an added bonus
So my right side is all set.
The problem is my left hand. Because of my pain disorder, I can’t sport a bracelet or a watch on that arm, so if I want it adorned (which of course I do – I am me, you know) it has to be rings.
And I know this might sound really trivial, a white girl first world problem, and I get it, it is, but there is a little more to it than you might think, because it directly ties into the whole marriage divorce thing. Let me explain:
When I got engaged, there was a ring, a ring that I adored. When we got married, there was another ring – one that I truly loved, but I was allergic to it.
Red Flag that I ignored.
But I never ever had to think about my left hand – it was all set. Until I got divorced.
I took the wedding band off immediately, but it left a big, soft, white circle around my finger that to me, was a glaring “Your life just fell apart and you failed your children in the process.” I figured if it screamed that to me, then every time the children saw my hand they would also be reminded that their lives had exploded and I didn’t feel like any of us needed that white squishy aide-mémoire.
So I had a “divorce ring” made and I loved it – the ring and the symbolism.
Then I moved on and got myself into the most amazingly dysfunctional relationship with a man who claimed “I’m going to replace that divorce ring with a wedding band.”
It’s called “Crater” and I thought the earthy name would be solid and grounding.
Thank god that didn’t happen. But when that all fell apart it seemed like a good time to once again, eliminate some of the symbols of my past and move forward. So I purchased this one from an artist down in Mexico City:
I also came to the conclusion that it was time to quit focusing on the empty finger and celebrate my middle finger (which sees a lot more action anyway.)
Love love loved this one, until…
Another relationship. Time for another ring.
And I will interject here that wanting a new ring with a new relationship had NOTHING to do with wanting the Ring.
So I moved on, decided to get something totally different:
This seemed to be the jewel that for which I had been searching…
…until it broke.
Because I am really hard on my hands and whatever is on them.
So then I went through all of the others that I had picked up over the years, trying, rejecting, and trying again, all while my right hand screamed – get it together, Lady, just put on a ring and forget about it.
There was this one, with the hideous fake turquoise in the middle of the otherwise, stunning piece of artwork:
There’s the fossil ring that my off-the-deep-end cousin made:
He just died so I tried to wear it again, but it’s just really too masculine for me.
I have a few other random ones, but nothing has felt like I want it to be a semi-permanent part of my body, my life, me.
So then I’ve been looking around at rings. I’ve also been looking around at other people’s hands, trying for some inspiration. I got some recently with my friend Dodo who wears 2 silver rings on her left hand. One of which is, of course, her wedding band.
So then I thought, maybe I should look first for something that fits my ring finger – seems novel and maybe I’ve been barking up the wrong tree.
But that is a loaded proposition. To begin sporting a ring on your left finger when you are actually in a serious relationship, sends a mighty big message to people, even when there is no message to be received.
So I have fumbled.
And in my fumbling for a fucking ring – again, I understand that this is not quite as big of an issue as world hunger – I have dredged up all of these other feelings about relationships and marriage and divorce and symbols of all of the above.
And I get stymied because suddenly, it’s not about a little chunk of silver and it’s all about where I am in my life, how I present myself to the world, and what that shiny bit conveys.
When I was single, it seemed like it was less significant if I wore something on my “wedding band” finger, but now it feels like it would be perceived as a statement.
I remember when I first wore my engagement ring – silver with an almost imperceptible diamond – I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I used to stand at work with my hand held out in front of me gazing adoringly at it. I hoped that as I reached to hand someone something, that they would notice and say “my what a beautiful ring,” and I could then say, “yes, yes it is, isn’t it?”
And then they could say, “Are you engaged?”
And I could squeal, “YES!!!”
I still think it’s beautiful. And it still fits. Bummer.
I kept my engagement ring – but it’s not like I can actually wear it. And I’m not going to pass it on to one of my children because who wants to propose to a girl with a ring that symbolizes a really wretched marriage?
And I threw the wedding band in the river.
It makes me sad to think of that sweet, hopeful, and stupid young girl. And then it makes me proud to look at the display of rings past and know that each one symbolizes both my pain and my growth over the last few years.
So as I put each chapter behind me and move on to the next, I want to put the symbols of those chapters behind me too.
So maybe this is why I won’t ever find one ring that meets my needs, one semi-permanent fixture on my body – because I am not a semi-permanent fixture – I am still changing and growing and evolving.
And this is a thought that I haven’t had until just now, as I am writing this:
Maybe I should stop looking for forever and start looking for “right now.”