I saw this project as an opportunity to make something that encompasses most of my life. I once had a charm bracelet that was very detailed, but it was stolen during a home burglary in 2007. I’ve been hesitant to work on a new one, as it brings up a lot of feelings from around that time.
On this bracelet, the charms are divided by spacers for my teens, 20s, 30s, 40s – and what I hope will be my 50s. I’ve included a baton, saxophone, megaphone and pirate skull for my school and interests in my teens. Prior to my 20s, there’s the St. Louis Arch from when my parents and I lived there during my father’s hospital stay for one of his early heart transplants. There are two angel wings, one at 19 years old and one at 20, representing when my parents died, to remind me they are always watching over me. All my pets, past and present, are represented, as they are my “children.” I didn’t get to have the human variety! There’s a street car and a coffin representing the one and only vacation my partner, Alex, and I ever took (in our 20s) to Houston, where we rode trolleys everywhere and visited the National Funeral Museum. We did other things, but those are the two charms that weren’t stolen in the burglary. There is a large ribbon at 30 marking my age at diagnosis. A heart I hand-carved represents our union ceremony in 2000.
Some of the more uplifting items on this piece are a lotus coming from mud to remind me that everything beautiful has to go through the muck first. There’s a mirror to help me remember to be a reflection of what I want in the world. There’s a potted plant representing life and renewal, and my favorite place on earth, my sunroom! There’s popcorn to remind me of our movie dates – we love movie dates, whether at home or the theatre. I added a bee for my name, which means “bee” in Hebrew. There’s a scooter, for our days when we went everywhere on scooters because we didn’t have a car. And a compass reminds me to keep going on the journey to find myself.
There are really crappy, down times and those shine a light and illuminate the good times. Focus on the good. Instead of counting the bad days, count the good days and try to find the good in every day!
I’ve learned there is always someone hurting more than I am, and to listen to them and help them before unloading my stuff.