A Tale of Two Necklaces

It was the best of clasps; it was the worst of clasps. Sorry couldn’t help it, I thought of the title on my way to work one day, more on that in a moment…

To start, I have two necklaces that have become symbolic of Michelle. The first was given to me a very long time ago by my mom. I have always liked it but never really spent much time wearing it until a few years ago when I first allowed myself truly to be me. It is gender neutral but something about it has given me a sense of peace and inner strength when worn. The necklace itself is some kind of round, dark brown bauble with a black stripe on the outer edge on a piece of black cord and has some bead work on it. It’s been worn in many a taken selfies. A smile always seems to appear on my face when I wear it. It was the first piece of jewelry I wore as Michelle, so, it has taken on the meaning of my beginning this journey of self-discovery. Sadly, the necklace’s cord is getting threadbare, and I need to find some way to replace it which is not so easy when you are all thumbs.

As for the second necklace, I purchased it around this past holiday season as a way to embrace my acceptance that I am Trans and be proud of it. I have worn it almost every day since it was delivered. The necklace didn’t cost much, it is a stainless-steel chain and disc charm (stamped with a Transgender symbol) which has taken to mean for me the path I am on and gives a reminder to myself that this is who I am. At the time, I wore it openly when not at work, in our town (I am fortunate enough to live somewhere safe to do so), and even sometimes at work depending on the day. At other times, it would pop out from my shirt as if to say I am here and I will be seen. This has happened more than once without my even knowing it. I received a couple of questioning looks but I work in a place where most are polite and work etiquette would keep them from asking. (I am now out in my workplace so wearing the necklace openly is something I do without hesitation.) It brings a lot of peace of mind, though I will say the clasp on it not so much…

En Femme Style

Now, I have fumbled fastening the necklace many a time; yet have managed to get it secure. In some ways, it feels like a small victory. Then one day on my walk to work… The morning was seasonably cold, I was bundled up, and went outside ready for another day. Even had the right of way when I got to cross the intersection in town. I got inside the building and into my office, unbundled, and then only noticed that my necklace was not there. I thought it came loose so I checked my coat, sweater, and even my undershirt. No luck! So, I turned to my boss and said I’ll be right back and began a much slower trek back to the house. I carefully traced my steps looking down all the while just hoping that it was not lost forever. It’s easy enough to purchase another, but that wouldn’t have felt right. As I kept looking my anxiety was rising as well as some superstitious thoughts.

Maybe this was a sign that I was not on the right path and the universe was telling me something. Or subconsciously I am self-sabotaging. I drew closer to home the thoughts persisted making me feel low and pretty grump all the while still no sign of it anywhere. I opened the gate and walked down the path to the stairs and porch continuing this narrative. As I got to my door, keys in hand, I just happened to look down, and there hanging out on our welcome mat was my necklace. I pocketed it, turned around, and walked back to work. Funny thing, all the negative thoughts vanished the moment I had it with me again. Once at work, I took a moment, cleaned it up, and struggled with the clasp but successfully got it on. It made me realize just how scared I am sometimes with this journey but also not willing to give up on finding myself despite the doubts. Like my necklaces, I may need to be picked up, cleaned up, fixed up, and fumbled with, but in the end, I will be there.

Much love,

Michelle

En Femme Style

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8 Comments
  1. ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' />
    Joanna Johnston 2 weeks ago

    Michelle,
    That was such a blessing that the necklace returned to you it was meant to be. I have a similar story to yours. I was given a sterling silver heart necklace by my mother a number of years ago before she passed away and wore it religiously as a reminder of her love and her acceptance of me. Sadly last winter I went out for dinner with a girlfriend on a cold night so I bundled up in the usual Canadian cold weather gear and set off to see my friend.

    By the time dinner was over I realized something was wrong. The silver chain had broken and was still dangling around my neck but the heart pendant had vanished. I was devastated. Retraced my steps and revisited stores and the restaurant where we dined over the next few days with no luck. I have been so heartbroken (no pun intended) ever since. It felt like, and still does, I have lost a part of her and myself. So hearing that you were so blessed to have your keepsake come back to you has made me feel better knowing a fellow sister has been able to retain that small piece of love.

    Hugs,
    Joanna

    • ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' /> Author
      Michelle Liefde 2 days ago

      Hi Joanna,

      Big hugs to you. I am so sorry that happened to you. Though I am glad that my story did lift your spirits.

      Hugs,
      Michelle

  2. ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' />
    JAKe Hatmacher 2 weeks ago

    Michelle,
    First I want to say I’ve always loved the name, Michelle, and second, I felt due to a few things you said, I had to comment.
    I still periodically question what I’m doing and I interpret things which happen to me as signs by the universe that I shouldn’t be transitioning. But I always come back to my current happiness, my more frequent smiling, and a repeated remembrance everytime I get the feeling I’m wrong in doing this. That remembrance is that no matter how hard I tried to repress my desire to be a woman in the past, it kept on coming back. I still continue with doubts, but I think they’ve become less frequent as more and more people that I’ve known are accepting and one’s I’ve newly met don’t question if I’m a woman or not. I feel so good!

    • ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' /> Author
      Michelle Liefde 2 days ago

      Hi JAKe,

      Thank you for saying that. There are times that the doubt still returns but it has faded and like you with more acceptance from those who knew me prior and those who know me now certainly does help lessen those feelings. I am happy that you do smile frequently. I was told that it is a smile not just on your face but in your heart. So big hugs to you!

      hugs,
      Michelle

  3. ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' /> Author
    Michelle Liefde 2 weeks ago

    Hi Melanie, thank you for sharing your experience, i am so sorry that happened but glad to know you listened to your instincts on that person. There is definitely something off with his behavior and actions.

  4. ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' />
    Dani Jane 2 weeks ago

    That’s a lovely story Michelle. I really enjoyed reading it. X

    • ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' /> Author
      Michelle Liefde 2 weeks ago

      Thank you Dani. i am glad you enjoyed it.

  5. ' class='avatar avatar-100 photo' height='100' width='100' />
    Melanie Penson 2 weeks ago

    That necklace obviously didn’t want to be parted from you!
    My necklace story is rather different. I visit a well-being cafe local to me, I have been volunteering there for just over 2 years now and I have got to know most of our regulars over this time. There is however a man that seems inscrutable. I was wary of him at first, he lives an “unconventional” lifestyle, living in a polytunnel on his allotment. I went to visit him once and I really became uneasy when he offered me some “coke”! I am not talking combustable coal-like material here, nor a dark fizzy drink either! I must have looked startled as I declined as politely as I could. I left as soon as I politely could too. I didn’t report him or anything.

    Over this last year, he has been talking to me more and more but misgenders me nearly every day. He introduced me to the “two spirit” phenomena that is prevalent in some cultures and even though I was mildly interested, I thought I had made it clear it was not something I particularly ascibed to.

    A few days prior to my birthday, he entered the cafe with a flourish and laid out my birthday present. It was a leather poncho and bone necklace, looked like it cost a fortune. I was very taken aback, not expecting anything like this. Bear in mind I barely know the man and I am not especially comfortable in his company. I was at a loss exactly what to say. I forget my exact words and I stammered something like: “thanks but it’s not something I would have chosen”. You see, I hate leather, would avoid it at all costs and because I was strangled as a child, I cannot bear having anything pressing around my neck. That is a massive trigger for me.

    I later learned that the cafe manager had tried to disuade him from purchasing that present for me but he didn’t listen to her and went ahead anyway. Now this man won’t talk to me, avoids coming in to the cafe when I am there (he sits outside under the awning). I don’t feel bad one bit, what he bought me was unsolicited and I’m still none too sure about his motives for buying it for me either. I have been “groomed” before and that’s what my gut feeling is telling me. It is also telling me I’ve had a lucky escape too.

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