[I actually wrote this about six months ago (October 2020) and then forgot to finish and post it. It still feels resonant, but there is a very different emotional and energetic quality reading it in April now that vaccinations have been underway for a while and the timeline for stepping out in the world a bit more feels imminent.]
In the summer of 2020, I had the honor of officiating at one of my dearest friend’s (virtual) weddings. When they asked me over zoom, I cried instantly. She said I could think it over, but even though I was nervous, I didn’t need time. I said yes without hesitation.
I was honored to play such a significant and sacred role in the lives of dear friends. And--while this was secondary--I also appreciated that it gave me something creative and hopeful to focus on in the midst of the shit show that was 2020, and the scary liminal space I was stepping into as I prepared to close my therapy practice.
As a thank you, they gave me a gift certificate to a local jewelry designer who makes stunning pieces from vintage china. Necklaces are my thing and there were so many beautiful pieces to choose from. My indecisiveness got in the way so I kept putting it off. Eventually, it fell off my radar altogether; but it occurred to me later that there might have been something else at play causing me to “forget” to follow through.
My therapy practice has been closed for many months now. I now have absolutely no reason to ever be presentable. I stopped wearing a bra in late March, and most days I wear pajamas all day. I haven’t been to a clothing store in forever, so I’m left with whatever I had pre-pandemic, much of which is now ripped, stained, or ill-fitting (most often some combination of the three).
I haven’t been out of my house much, and the few places I do go don’t require prettying up. Everything feels so pointless these days and making myself look good is at the very bottom of my list. We’re wearing masks and staying far apart so what’s even the point???
The thought of redeeming this gift certificate was forcing me to confront the pain of not having anywhere to wear a special necklace anymore. Even imagining this purchase, brought my grief closer to me.
Once clearer about the root of my avoidance, I decided to choose a necklace. Rather than considering what outfits I might wear it with, I chose the one that most made my heart sing. I thought of it as buying a piece of art that would hang on my wall, that I could enjoy anytime I looked up from my writing desk--a piece of beauty to enjoy for beauty’s sake. I reminded myself I could wear it anytime, even if the only place I was going was to the kitchen--that I could allow myself to adorn myself with delights for no other audience, but myself.
But more than anything, redeeming that gift certificate felt like I was reaching deep inside my despair-saturated heart for a tiny thread of hope--that one day in the future I would get dressed to head out in the world to be seen, to gather. Bringing home a new necklace was a way of saying I believed that the old world wasn’t completely gone forever--that it was waiting for me on some unknown date down the road.
And when that time finally comes; when it is safe enough to touch our friends again; to stuff ourselves into booths for brunch; to share in the collective joy of a crowd gathering for a performance; that long-awaited day will be so special that I may even want to dress up for the occasion.
And I know just the necklace I’ll wear.