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…
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.
More Articles by Michelle Liefde
- On Being Michelle and On Being Here
- Media Review: And now for this century…
- Media Review: The Music Video for Quiet by Milck
- Media Review: The World According To Garp
- Media Review: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography