(Our blog features real stories by women who share their journeys and their experiences with courage and honesty. This first post is written by my friend, Catherine Curtis, who is going through a life transition involving moving countries, jobs, relationships and home.)
When I moved across the world to follow my heart, there were two objects—aside from my camera and clothes—I made sure to bring with me: one, a weather-beaten wind chime (always the first piece hung when I made a home and the last taken down when I left), and the other, a bracelet.
I bought it after a year abroad for college, on a trip to Agadir, Morocco. Gazing at that bracelet, a young woman of 21 standing quietly amidst a bustling bazaar, I contemplated the importance of craftsmanship for what may have been the first time.
While its silver filigree detail and multicolored enameling are still exquisite to me, perhaps most significant is the fact that each time I look at it I am inspired to adventure and dip my toes in unfamiliar waters. What was initially purchased as an accessory ultimately evolved to symbolize something I value greatly in my life.
Assigning meaning to a bracelet is in no way unique to me; archaeologists date the practice back to prehistoric times when shells coated in red clay were strung together and worn to physically identify people, and associate them with a group or a geographical locale. A person’s safety and survival may have even depended upon wearing them.
The symbols and significance with which jewelry has been imbued over time are myriad, and meaningful for either individuals or the populace of a culture and era. Everything deemed important can be found reflected in things treasured: life, love, good fortune, safety, bounty, death... If only every story could be known.
I’ve held my Moroccan bracelet dear through many life chapters. During the mundane, it has served as a reminder of the extraordinary, and a beckoning distraction; a wink and a nudge that things could shake up at any moment, and also a talisman when I have questioned where I came to rest in the world.
It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since my heart’s leap and landing. Though its subsequent fall was imminent, I know every adventure has its risk, as does every love. Some risks are higher than others, and some more worthy of the stakes.
As I bundle my wind chime for the journey home, wherever that may be, that feeling of freedom is again tiptoeing at the periphery, awaiting the invitation.
Aside from the meaning it holds for me, the beauty of my bracelet’s story is that it does not have to bear the weight of lessons learned; it remains light, simple and clear of message. As I slip it back on my wrist, it whispers again: There is always more, there is always different. This journey now, this is the most important.
(photo credits: Catherine Curtis)
As a little girl, I spent most of my days in the care of my maternal grandmother, my mama. I followed her everywhere like a shadow. I remember sitting amongst my grandaunts and mama, intrigued by their lively gossip in Baba Malay and secretly pleased by the fact that they had allowed me to listen in on their ‘inner circle' gossip.