A Symbol of Peace
It all began with a trip to Florida with my mother over the summer. We visited Siesta Key, Florida and stayed in a beautiful high-rise apartment building, facing the ocean that we rented from my mother’s best friend. One day out of boredom, I began rummaging through my mothers pile of jewelry on the dresser. Of all the beautiful items, I came across a small bracelet which particularly caught my eye. My mother happened to see me admiring the bracelet and she told me I could keep it. She nonchalantly explained that my grandmother had given it to her and that she rarely wore it so I could keep it if I wanted. This bracelet is not particularly fancy but I was drawn to it’s simplicity. It is made up of four chocolate brown pieces of string that attach to a small copper tone colored peace sign in the middle. I remember being especially excited when I tried the bracelet on for the first time because it can be adjusted to fit the buyer’s wrists accordingly and since both my mother and I have very small wrists it’s difficult to find jewelry that fits comfortably.
From the day I received the bracelet I kept finding excuses to wear it everyday, matching my outfits accordingly. After a while it became a habit to wear the bracelet because I started to feel strange without it. If I left the house and I didn’t have the bracelet on I felt anxious, it had become a sort of security blanket for me. I had begun to feel safer wearing the bracelet because it made me feel closer to my mother. It was a constant reminder of our friendship and how much she meant to me. Wearing it all summer had left an intense tan line on my wrist from all the sun I had gotten. I looked silly without it on because I had a sun stained peace sign on my wrist where the copper piece on the bracelet had protected my skin. A few months after the trip to Florida I was out shopping with my mother when she recognized I was still wearing the bracelet. She looked at me and asked laughingly, “Do you ever take that thing off?” to which I quickly replied, “No”. She laughed at me. She told me she couldn’t understand my infatuation with this bracelet was.
It was at that moment, I realized how much the bracelet meant to me. It had become an everyday reminder of my mother and my grandmother. Of all the gifts they have both given me throughout my life, this gift was special because it had been handed down from the two most important women in my life and finally given to me. Every time I look down at the bracelet I am also reminded of my vacation with my mother. My mother and I have a very close relationship and I am an only child so I don’t live at home with my parents anymore. Our vacation was the first extended amount of time we had spent together since I moved out. I remembered relaxing on the beach with her and making fun of my sunburn when I wore the bracelet. This bracelet was the first object that I had grown attached to in a long time.
The capacity that human beings have to objects can be quite profound and Author Sherry Turkle expresses so eloquently the magic of receiving an object the novel Evocative Objects. In the novel she is explaining the ways that an object can come into the individual’s life and she states, “Most objects exert their holding power because of the particular moment and circumstance in which they come into the author’s life” (Turkle 8). I think that Turkle’s insight about the importance of objects in our life is absolutely relevant and meaningful to any reader. Behind the objects that we come across, an individual could choose to become attached to any number of items but it is more than that. As we go through everyday life, we are reminded by certain objects of people that have come into our lives. I believe in a lot of ways that objects become similar to relationships. When you first meet someone you don’t necessarily anticipate that you will be drawn to them or have certain connections but eventually you will. Just like wearing an object everyday, we begin to assign a certain amount of attachment to the item because we are invested in what it means to us, how we came to receive the object and the time in which it came into our lives.
In our culture, bracelets are often a reminder of young friendships. Whether or not this friendship remains as adults is questionable, but both individuals are left with a small and simple reminder that it existed at one time. There is a sense of bonding and commitment in wearing friendship bracelets. You share the object with one other person and it is only between the two of you that you understand this bond. In my case, the bracelet is a reminder of the relationship I have with my mother and my grandmother. There is no way that someone on the outside looking at my bracelet could understand its importance to me. The strings that hold it together are worn down and the actual peace sign is discolored from the sun and wear and tear. As I thought about why this bracelet meant so much to me, I recognized how silly it was that I felt I needed to wear it everyday. Just because the bracelet was tattered and worn, didn’t mean that my relationship with my family had to be. Today this object is still important to me but I recognize it is only a part of relationship with my mother and grandmother. It wasn’t just the bracelet that confirmed my feelings and memories about my family; they were already in my heart. I still love the bracelet and I wear it from time to time and laugh when I think about how something so small could become such a big part of my life. The bracelet will always be important to me and it will continue to represent a time in my life when I reconnected with my mother and grandmother. Every time I wear the bracelet I will be reminded of how important my family is to me, and the feeling of peace it brings me.
Turkle, Sherry. Evocative Objects, Things We Think With. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2007. Print.