The power of symbols & my theme for next year

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My brilliant friend Kendrick Shope wrote this great piece about her Valentino shoes.

The shoes became a powerful symbol of her own grit, sacrifice, and dedication to her business. 

It got me all fired up and excited, because as you know I am kind of in love with symbols and have a tiny penchant for turning all of life into a metaphor and imbuing objects with symbolic and magical powers oh hello moon in my tea.

Many moons ago, my Furla bag was my version of Kendrick’s shoes.  I bought that bag when I was pregnant with my daughter, and it became a powerful talisman.  That bag was a physical reminder of how I wanted to move through the world.  It held the shape of the way I wanted to be respected, treated, and valued.  It was the most expensive thing I’d ever bought for myself, and it held me to a higher standard of elegance, and integrity, and sturdiness.  It was like my own personal PR person, presenting the best possible version of me.  It also represented new and healthy patterns for how I wanted to use my money– by saving up and investing in high quality goods that would last, rather than buying a bunch of cheap substitutes on credit.  Eight years later, that bag is still going strong. 

I’m about to invoke a new symbol, my darlings. 

And it’s totally bringing up my shit! 

My theme for this past year was EPIC FUCKING BADASS.  That’s because at the end of 2013, I felt like anything BUT a badass.  I felt scared and sad and wayyyy too raw and wimpy to handle some of the hard things that were going down in my life. 

So I went ahead and declared myself an epic fucking badass anyway, against all evidence. 

And you know what?  You GUYS!  It WORKED!!!!  This is the best magic!  

I am such an epic fucking badass now.  For real.  I mean as long as it doesn’t involve bugs or camping or  the dark or– well– stop it, just– shhhhh.    

Symbols are important.  Books, colors, flowers, characters, music, movies, fashion, logos, flags– these have the power to ignite us to joy or despair, courage or melancholy. 

And here is a symbol that I have longed for for a really, really long time: 

A Ring. 

(insert all relevant hobbit jokes here.)

Two weeks ago I wrote about my complicated history with rings.  

Rings are potent symbols. 

They can signify royalty, fidelity, and loyalty.  They can mean love or bondage.  They can mean wealth or slavery. 

Plus conflict diamonds. 

I’m conflicted about rings. 

But I want one.  I really, really want one. 

It’s been on my ‘secret things I wish for’ list for about 12 years.  

Wanting this ring has brought up some interesting stuff for me.  By which I mean all kinds of shadowy guilt-ridden shit. 

When I first thought about buying myself a ring to wear on my left ring finger, I was actually scandalized. 

It’s like admitting defeat. 
It means saying you’ll die alone. 
You’re not allowed! 
People will think you’re a poser, a fake. 
Isn’t it kind of pathetic to buy yourself a ring?
Just how greedy ARE you? 

And that’s EXACTLY why I am buying myself a ring, a beautiful ring, to wear on my left ring finger. 

BECAUSE of all the shit it brought up for me. 

BECAUSE there are so many culturally ingrained shitty messages to women about what it means to wear, or not wear, a sparkly bit of the earth on that particular part of the body. 

BECAUSE I reject the misogynistic notion that a woman is a prize to be won or a piece of property to be purchased. 

And especially BECAUSE I discovered a part of me was waiting for permission–  not just to wear a ring, but to do ALL KINDS OF things I wanted. 

NB: I HATE when that happens.  It’s always disconcerting when we discover that parts of us are not as evolved we’d hoped.  MOST of us is this amazing kickass brilliant being of light, and part of us is still 13 huddled in the corner tight-rolling our jeans.  It’s never what we hoped; we hoped to discover Alicia Florrick lurking in the shadows.  But when we can LOVE these unevolved embarrassing versions of ourselves, you know what happens to them?  They start to transform.  Anyhoo.  

Until this idea of a ring grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go, I did not realize that I was waiting for permission for anybody to do ANYTHING.  But when I dug around in the dark places, I realized I most certainly was.  

And you know what?  

When you shine a light in those dark places, the bullshit tends to run for the hills. 

SCRAM. 

I am a grownup now.  I am free to reject any inherited or tribal beliefs that no longer serve me or the world. 

So I did some queen sweeping in my psyche. 

And now?  I’m a-goin’ shopping. 

Symbols are deeply personal.  Mine might seem silly or materialistic to some people; but that’s ok.

I am buying myself a ring as a reminder that I don’t need to wait for someone to bring me what I want.  I can create it myself. 

That feels SO GOOD to my heart.  It feels like fresh air, cool water, sparkling champagne.  Also a hot steaming bath and ROAST CHICKEN. 
(Permission to mix metaphors.  Granted.)

This is my symbol.  It means a lot to me. 

So tell me.  What’s your symbol?  

What’s the talisman, jewelry, tattoo, word, piece of clothing, phrase, item, WHATEVER it is– that represents the best parts of you? 

Seriously, I’d love to know.  Tell me on Facebook or hit reply. 

much love, 

Anna 

P.S. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours– my theme for next year is EFBA WRITER.  Now I want to know what yours is!  


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