Thursday, February 17, 2011

¡Tantas pulseras tienes! (So many bracelets you have!)

That's what one of my Spanish professors said to me a few weeks ago as he stopped to observe my partner and I during a group activity. Since high school, I've always worn bracelets, whether they be the colorful embroidery floss ones I learned to make, or the ones I gathered as souvenirs from other countries. Though I do like how they look, the bracelets are more than mere decorations for my wrists. They often represent incredible experiences I have had, or beliefs I have battled with. These are the two bracelets I am currently rockin':

"Om Namah Shivaya." The story around this Sanskrit phrase began before India. I had been having off-and-on bouts of self-doubt (no explanation needed really; I've seen some of my friends in this same frame of mind, and it's such a bummer because it weakens our self-worth and trust in our own strength). In the past year or so, I have become less harsh on myself, and more ready to give myself more chances when I let myself down.

Last Spring, I met Stella Maris, a jewelry-maker who had recently moved to Charleston, at Hope and Union, and through etsy, I asked her to make this copper bracelet for me, but she got sidetracked. While in India, we caught up every so often by email, and finally, when I saw her at last week's Eye Level Art artist flea market, she presented me with this beautiful bracelet. Right now it serves as a reminder for me to look inward when I feel my footing become shaky. Thank you Stella!

And this red stringy? No, it doesn't serve as a reminder for me to go and buy some of my favorite String Things from the supermarket. It actually comes from the wedding I went to in Punjab over Fall Break; during one of the ceremonies in the days before the main ceremony, one of the older women went around with a spool of red string and tied off women's wrists, using her strength, and not scissors, to break the thread after each bracelet was tied on. The color is fading, and each day I fear that string will break, that I will no longer have this physical tie to my unique experience in India.

As much as I try to distance myself from objects, I feel so connected to some of my jewelry. And you? What purpose does your jewelry serve? As decoration, reminders, status symbols?

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