I wear a little golden pendant of Ethiopia around my neck on a long gold chain. It falls right between my now inadequately sized breasts.
It used to hang on a charm bracelet that my aunt had given my mother years back. One charm was imprinted with my initials, one with my sister’s name and date of birth, and then lastly hung this pendant of Ethiopia encircled in a hoop. Ethiopia is where my father was living when he met my mom. The ensuing marriage wasn’t one of lasting romance, but it did provide me with the necessary ticket to have my turn on life’s merry go round.
I wear the pendant to remind myself that there is more to our lives than the boxes we trap ourselves in. Very little is immutable. My father bucked the not-so Wild West and the legal profession to travel atop of buses across Yemen. My mother left the tiny waistlines and red lipstick of the Bay Area in the 1960s for a dusty Tanzanian village. And ultimately, they left each other - my mother bravely leading the way - for better and for worse. It isn’t all rainbows and unicorns when you follow your intuition. We can’t even be certain at every turn that we’re following our intuition and not our instinct (one is better to follow than the other, someone very bright recently told me). Decisions are living, breathing unfoldings. We can choose to try to immobilize ourselves. Or we can choose to sculpt life as it unfolds in our hands like molten gold.
For a period of time I scoured Etsy for the perfect pendants with my childrens’ initials on them all the while hating that every mother I saw in Whole Foods sported that same style. I’ve landed instead with a pendant that nobody would even know is Ethiopia. Most of us aren’t even sure what shape Iowa is.
But I know. I listen to it’s message every day now. The other night my son even fell asleep with it tucked between his fingers as we curled up facing each other like we used to do when he was a babe in my arms.
It’s a guiding light. In gold.
Resting between these tits that sometimes can’t help but ask for a redo but know they’re actually just as they should be. Changed by the passage of all this time.