I am not someone that anyone would describe as "delicate". I was never destined to be a cheerleader or a gymnast or ballerina and I've always been a little jealous of those girls. There is that body type (I'm picturing the Jessica Albas of the world) that can get away with wearing tiny little diamond earrings and dainty little necklaces with tiny pendants and because of their stature, the diamonds shine like little beacons in the night. The pendants glow alluringly from that sexy little hollow at the base of the neck. You know, those girls with long, elegant necks, only one very taut chin and skin like a china cup. (I Googled the name of that "hollow" and it turns out it is called the supra-sternal notch which is not a sexy description of that spot at all, but we all need to know our anatomy.) The same jewelry would be lost on me. I can't complain though. My body works and hasn't let me down yet and having some size has always made it easier to get in the face of an uncooperative horse with more authority and confidence. For this reason, you won't find any delicate jewelry at True Believer Jewelry. I've even thought about marketing my jewelry for "curvy" girls. Plus size jewelry might be the next big "thing". You never can tell.
It turns out that big, bold jewelry appeals to some people for a different reason, as I learned through an exchange with an Etsy customer of mine. Her name is Kim, and she messaged me about a heart milagros necklace that I had in my shop and wanted to know if it could be adjusted in length. Normally it's pretty easy for me to do that, and I told her I was happy to and I wouldn't charge her. She told me she had an event coming up and she thought it would be perfect with her outfit. I envisioned a tall, elegant woman with long, dark hair, probably a successful business woman with a work-related function that she wanted to look dynamite for. I have a habit of fabricating stories about people. I do this especially in restaurants. Maybe it's something we all do from time to time when people watching, similarly to the way we envision characters in books, and then the movie comes out and you think, "Oh, no...that is not the way I had thought he would look at all!" Remember all of the hubbub over the casting of Jamie Dornan to play Christian Grey in the movie Fifty Shades of Grey? He's a nice enough looking guy, but sorry Jamie, you are just not who I had in mind. I think there was some other guy they'd cast first, but he couldn't do it in the end and we were stuck with a very underwhelming Dornan in the role. I'm not even going to try to watch the sequel.
After talking with Kim several times and she purchased the necklace she thanked me. She wrote, "Thank you very much. I'll be back into your store to shop for more beautiful "in your face" necklaces! My favorite kind of necklaces are those that cause folks to stare at something other than my wheelchair! I love to wear statement pieces and your work is certainly an eye catcher! Can't wait to get all "gussied up" in my black chiffon tuxedo pants suit with this necklace!" I reread the sentence and felt my cheeks flush red. Never, in any of the stories I had concocted about her in my head, had I imagined Kim in a wheelchair. I was embarrassed by my own short sighted ignorance. I wanted to follow up her message with another one asking what happened, but thought better of it. I didn't want to pry. If she made the point of telling me she wanted people to focus on her, then she probably didn't want to retell her story for the one billionth time to somebody she'd never met.
I kept thinking about her. It's been months now and I think of her still and am, even now, writing about her. The more I reflect on her reason for wanting a bold necklace the more it resonates in me. I like my jewelry to be big and bold for a somewhat similar reason. I'm hoping that people will look at me, and not the fact that I could stand to lose about 40 pounds. The thing is though, if I really was motivated, I could put the Thin Mints down and get my ass on a treadmill. That solution seems ridiculously easy compared to the endless ethical arguments that are keeping Kim wheelchair bound. The only thing I have to do is move more and eat less and keep Girl Scouts off of my front porch. Kim has to wait for legislators, scientists and public opinion to determine what's more important...alleviating suffering or protecting an embryo which has the potential to become a human life.
My husband and I went through several rounds of fertility treatments before we became weary of doctors and hormone injections and decided that there was human life outside of a laboratory that we would love as dearly as one we created in a test tube. You can bet that for couples desperately longing to hold a baby in their arms, those embryos are more valuable than gold. You know what else is more valuable than gold? Walking. Life without pain. The story that I have invented in my head is that these opponents of stem cell research are religious fanatics or political conservatives who are trying to appeal to their constituents or their congregations and they believe that blocking research will benefit them financially. Do they really care about the cells or are they following the money?
I'm pro life. I believe that women who didn't take responsibility for the life their bodies can create have a moral obligation to carry any unwanted pregnancy to term unless they were victims of incest or rape. I believe that because I know there are childless couples who would jump through rings of fire and walk on shards of glass and rusty nails to become parents. I also believe that Kim should be able to use stem cells from an embryo to be able to walk again. It seems like the real fifty shades of grey lie within the question of whether or not an embryo should have the same rights as a person.
Food for thought, or in my case, Thin Mints for thought. While the powers that be grapple with the issue, I'm just going to continue to do what I do - design jewelry that you can't help but see - and hope that Kim felt as beautiful as she looked and pray that one day science and religion can sort out the issues that are preventing her from feeling comfortable wearing that tiny diamond solitaire that fits perfectly in her beautiful supra-sternal notch.
*Photo Credit: http://www.vintage-engagement-ring.com/