Wednesday, January 25, 2006

the gold earrings

The gold earrings I bought for myself in a shop in England.

This is significant because: they are the only pair of earrings I own or have ever owned. Because I don’t have my ears pierced. Because I am deaf in one ear. Because of a rare birth defect which is often disastrous.

I have no other piercings. I have no tattoos. I often dye my hair, but it’s usually mistaken for my natural color. I am plain and bare, and I’m about to change.

This year for my birthday, at twenty-eight years old, ten years older than my mother when she did it, upon marrying my father, twenty years or more older than most girls, I am getting my ears pierced.

I am getting my ears pierced to prove to myself that I can change, that I can change my body and not die, that I am not too old, that I can change and will change in preparation for a larger change: I am getting my hearing fixed. Or at least, going to see a doctor to see if it can be fixed. I’m afraid of the gun, and I’m afraid of the needle, and I’m very, very afraid of the doctor, and what he might say, and how it might be no.

The earrings are small, hand-beaten gold disks. They looked like they were shaped by tiny thumbs. I bought them in London, England, when I was twenty years old and studying abroad. They were displayed in an aquarium, the tiny jewelry hung from tiny driftwood braches. They cost forty pounds, which was a lot, especially for a twenty year old girl without pierced ears. I think the store was called Bloomsbury, but the black velvet drawstring bag they came in is so old, the name has worn away.

The name has worn away from me touching it, opening the bag, and dumping the earrings into my hands, and touching them, as I do every few months. Every few days, lately.

The gold earrings are one of the greatest gifts I have given myself—although most would say I have not gotten any good out of them, as I have never worn them—but buying them, spending so much money to buy them, was a sign to myself. Hang on, to myself. One day you will be strong enough to change.