I saw a post on Instagram Annie had made about creating a necklace as a talisman for a client, and even though I’ve seen previous posts she’s made before, for some reason it clicked that I could ask for something now! But why now? Annie and I have had a connection about menstruation for several years now, and last winter I had talked to her about my experience around perimenopause. With the advent of the novel coronavirus in Feb/March and the increased level of change/uncertainty, I wanted something to ground myself as I move through this experience of my body changing. When I went through puberty I was very disconnected from my feelings. I often joked about wanting to be like Spock, and was very shut down around physical desire. As I’m transitioning to a new stage, I am incredibly aware of my emotional state as it changes. I like to joke that I am on the hormonocoaster.
When I talked to Annie about what I wanted, I threw a hundred ideas at her. There was Mary Ruefle’s poem, Pause and Ursula Le Guin’s essay, “The Space Crone,” which I have from her collection Dancing at the Edge of the World. Le Guin says, “… it seems a pity to have a built-in rite of passage and to dodge it, evade it, and pretend nothing has changed. That is to dodge and evade one’s womanhood, to pretend one’s like a man. Men, once initiated, never get the second chance. They never change again. That’s their loss, not ours. Why borrow poverty?” [emphasis mine]
As our conversation continued, I repeated something my therapist told me several years ago: “You don’t have control, but you have a choice.” As I go through this experience, I certainly don’t have control, but I can choose how I respond to what is happening. I likened this to Penelope, waiting for Odysseus to return, and how every day she would weave and every night she would undo her day’s work in order to delay potential suitors. She had no control over her situation, but she did have a choice as to how she would face it and where could exercise her choice.
I also asked Annie to make the earrings asymmetrical, to represent the unbalanced feeling, as well as three different phases of life. We talked about including rubies for menstrual blood, but also moonstone as a connection to the moon and space (crone!), as well as bloodstone.
I couldn’t be happier with what Annie created. I see all of the things we talked about in these earrings and that also gives me strength, a reminder of these various threads.
If you want to see Annie’s work, please visit her at her website, Dotted Line Jewelry