There was a time when I fell madly in love with big, flashy jewelry. I grew up in the Age of Cher: I like sparkling things, giant style statements — never met a sequin I didn’t like. I’ve traditionally yearned for big splashes, big dreams, and a big life with big jewelry to match. I used to get all sorts of compliments for gigantic pieces that warranted attention. I loved it. Loud. Big. Beautiful. All me.
Over the past four years, I’ve slowly turned to a love of delicate things, jewelry that whispers rather than screams. It’s interesting: during my entire adolescence and younger years, I knew someday I would have this big life, that everything would be gigantic, and I’d have the jewelry and clothes to match. I can honestly say that life has expanded past even what I thought it would, it shows no signs of slowing, and yet everything about my taste now is quiet. The jewelry is dainty, all of it meaningful, none of it loud. Sweet. Delicate. Lovely. All me.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately because everyone seems to be noticing this necklace I’ve been wearing for four years from designer Zoe Chicco. I can’t take credit for selecting it: I received it as a gift. But it came along at a time when things were incredibly uncertain. Someone recently asked me if it was the key to my heart, and the answer is no. I have someone who has that, and this necklace was not his idea (although, if he’s reading this, honey, remember that women really do love jewelry around the holidays – wink-wink-nudge-nudge.)
When I put this necklace on years go, I saw it as the key to my future.
I’ve written a lot about the changes that I have undergone to become the person I am today. I sold all my belongings and moved to New York in 2007 with one suitcase and $300 in cash. I know how to do that. I can tell with all certainty that if you want to create a big life (or just change an aspect of it, really,) you can do that. That key around my neck is a reminder that I’ve been through it, that I’ve built what I would say is a very blessed life.
But as I’ve recently been reminded, it’s also an early warning system when things are going off balance. Over the past two and a half months, things have skewed heavily in the direction of writing more for clients more than for myself. I’ve written 40 articles, conducted 31 interviews, and recently submitted what I hope will be the biggest article of my career, a piece written out of love and the principle that all groups, regardless of sexual and/or gender orientation, deserve to have some special attention paid to their cause. I sit here today and I’m a little woozy. I feel accomplished, but slightly out of balance. There’s been a lot of writing, but very little of it was for me.
Unless you’re someone working in our industry, it’s hard to explain the financial balance that has to be struck when it comes to paying the bills between blogging and freelancing. I’m a sole proprietor, and the big life and big dreams can come with some big fears. When those strike, I’m not immune to the nerves that tell you to grab onto the money coming in. It’s about survival….
Well, but is it?
When I left North Carolina all those years ago to come to New York with no writing experience and one business contact, I didn’t overthink it. I believed I could do it. I knew that I was a good writer, I would learn, and I would be okay. HOW I would be okay was uncertain, but I wanted that big life. I got it, and it would be foolish of me now to lack the belief that my dreams can sustain me. If I’ve gotten this far, there’s no limit to how far I can go. I am my only limitation.
I’ve missed writing here. The constant comments on my necklace seem to be a sweet reminder that it is I who hold the key to dreaming even bigger dreams. I can make small changes right this minute that whisper of larger promise. I know that I am good at what I do, that if I bet on myself that I am a force of nature.
The necklace is just a beautiful, constant reminder that I am in control of my future. It’s time to find some balance. Although the necklace may speak in a whisper, it’s time for me to roar.