Taking Off Jewelry

I give up so easily.

I decide to wear a ring forever, and never take it off, never put it in my pocket, never lose it while swimming or leave it above the sink in a dish. Then one day it’s annoying, and it goes in a box on my dresser. It stays there.

Every necklace, every bracelet, every earring I keep still, I’ve put on with the intention of never taking off. “I’ll never put it in my pocket”, I say, and for months, I don’t. And then I do.

I wear the same necklace for a year or more. Clean it, wear it in the shower, pick my hair from the silver chain that matches nothing, slender to my thickness, pale to my dark hair and tan skin. And then I take it off, hang it on my bedstead along with the others.

Maybe my jewelry is like a scrapbook of me. Every piece, I remember wearing it to school, sometimes against a dress code that forbade rings, bracelets, non-religious necklaces, wearing to mass, toying with when I’m distracted, nervous, bored, defending to the teacher who notices it and demands that I take it off.

How do you commit to something like that? How does a person commit to a house, a job, a ring, a person, a family? How do you choose once? Choose once, and every day after. How can you know that that ring won’t annoy you, won’t make you frown in its decadence, its extravagant diamonds and whorls carved into the metal?

How can you be sure that one day you’ll wake up beside your wife and not lean over to kiss her like you have ever day since your wedding? How can a person condemn the person they will be to the person they used to love?

I wake up some days, determined to be a woman, to be beautiful, to wear makeup and skirts and walk demurely. And then some days, I can’t. I can’t put on a skirt to wear to mass, I tie my hair back to give the illusion of a shorter cut, I spread my legs when I sit, bind my breasts. I take off the ring and the necklace I’ve been wearing, opal and glass, day in and day out for the past four months, hook the ring through the chain and leave them on my dresser.

Even then, I can’t commit. I can’t stand on one space, I can’t have my cake and eat it too. “You can be anything”, they told me. But I can’t. I can’t be anything, because I want to be everything.

~Terra

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