Monday, October 22, 2012

Show-Off-y Self Versus Conscious Self

Diamonds Sparkling in the Pre-Dawn Sky
Tiffany’s Bracelet Sparkling on My Wrist

A Conscious Choice Regarding Value

Tiffany's Bracelet (and others) on Battenburg Lace...
What Really Has Value? Nothing Here...

Tiffany’s—Breakfast or Jewelry? The name conjures images of glamour—wearing, doing, being several cuts above the mundane. So it was easy on Saturday to be rather show-off-y when my sisters-in-law admired my Tiffany’s bracelet. It’s a splendid piece of jewelry with its thick gold links and heavy single charm dangling in a classic pose from the bracelet’s edge. Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, moon, and birthing, is pictured on the front, and the words “Courage” and “Ree” (my childhood nickname) are etched on the back, along with the signature Tiffany’s brand name.
It’s easy to tack my ego to this hunk of gold and puff myself up like I have valuable—that is, rich—friends who gift me with such treasures. Sphinx-like, I wanted to create a riddle regarding the gifter because along with my sisters-in-law, my ex also was at the table eyeing the bracelet they admired. I wanted that aura of mystery; I wanted him to wonder, “So who gave her that?” when I said “a friend.” My sister gave it to me, and we’re friends, so that’s not too far from the truth, right? Okay, not right, but at least I’m fessing up here.
In most areas of my life, I’m pretty transparent, so I felt guilty about attaching my sense of self to all that glitters. I carried the guilt for several hours and then forgot it, certain that like all the guilt I carry it would resurface soon.
Resurface it did, fewer than 24 hours later. I woke Sunday in the pre-dawn hours and half-asleep stumbled outside to walk the dogs. I noted that although it was still dark, it wasn’t black-dark. I looked up and the sky was filled with stars more brilliant than I’ve seen since September 2001, when I was on a dark island an hour’s ferry from the mainland. I was stunned awake by the spectacle of the starlit sky. I remembered the meteor shower I had read about and realized I slept through it, but what remained was a gift for my first waking moments.
Later, I spied the Tiffany’s bracelet on the blue-and-white ceramic tray in my bathroom. I remembered the morning sky and my show-off-y actions the previous day. I recalled the gift of the sky and asked myself what mattered more—the stars or the bracelet? If a balding, gold-hoop-earring-wearing genie popped out of the mist and said to me, “You know that starlit sky you saw 6 a.m., Sunday, October 21, 2012? You can either keep this bracelet or continue seeing those diamonds in the sky.”
Which would I choose? I’d not hesitate a second. Right hand over to left wrist, I’d unclasp the bracelet, hand it over to Mr. Genie, and never look back, because in this case, it’s more valuable to look up.

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