I held the earrings in my hand and turned them over and over. They were only $25, but I’d no intention of buying anything and was just there to keep my mom company. We’ve been trying to fill her interminably long days. It’s still hard without my dad. But maybe a local craft show would pick her up.
The TEA TIME MOSAICS table oozed delight. And that’s not a word I throw around casually! It took a beat, but soon I understood this artist’s modus operandi: handcrafted jewellery from broken dishes. Now this is something I could really get behind! (And God knows my clumsy self could donate to her cause: ask me about my infamous ‘Breakage List’ from my early serving days…)
I studied the pair in my hands; it’s rare to find china with ivy. You see lots of pine combs and twirly flourishes, but these little chunks were special. A finely-woven gold hoop offset the dangly earrings. “But will I actually wear them?” I thought to myself.
For some reason, I then asked the woman if this was her full-time gig. She replied, “it is, and it isn’t.” She’s hoping to get back into the world of mental health and addictions counselling, something for which she went to school and spent years doing.
My curiosity unravelled further and I asked her how she got started:
“I loved collecting old teacups, and one day, I broke my favourite. I couldn’t bear to throw out any of the pieces, so I kept them.”
“Well, I saw something new in the shattered bits. I thought I could smooth out the rough edges and maybe create a pendent or some earrings.”
“So you did?”
“I’m here, now, aren’t I!”
Her table of offerings glittered under the massive chandeliers of the ballroom. Quirky and fun, all original work. No two pieces ever the same.
I realized my jaw was wide open while she continued to pour out her inspiring story. It reminded me of someone but I wasn’t sure who, until fuzzy dots began to slowly connect in my brain. Here I am, trying to make something from nothing (the short version of my She Walks the Walk story!). And here I am, picking up the pieces of my shattered heart.
I hate admitting this, but when my dad died, I lost a pile of confidence. He was my number one cheerleader, my go-to for advice and he understood my blindspots intuitively. On the inside, we were almost the same person.
I bought the damn earrings. They will never go with my mostly-hiking-attire wardrobe. But they’ll remind me that we all have choices when our worlds come crashing down. We can pick up the pieces and try again. We can find something new. We can use our creative energy to begin again. We can make something beautiful out of our frustration.
I hope to make 2023 just that. And, I’m inviting you to join me!