There’s a story behind these bracelets that make them so special to me (and why I don’t take them off). My mom was given bracelets just like these when she was younger and never took them off. They’ve survived into her adulthood. We could always know our mom was coming into the room because we’d hear the tinkling of her bracelets. And luckily, she had six daughters with whom she could continue the tradition.
We all got our set at different ages; I got mine in high school, finally. I was excited but in a strange, totally high school way I also kind of felt held back by these bracelets. I was annoyed that I couldn’t wear my watch anymore and that I couldn’t ever wear other bracelets. I thought there were all these rules: bracelets on both wrists is too much and too many bracelets on one wrist is gaudy. I was afraid of drawing attention.
When I first started college and shed my prep school uniform, I would agonize over every little thing about my appearance, convinced that everyone was looking at me and judging me from head to toe. I needed courage and who knows how many deep breaths just to leave my dorm in the morning. I was so careful about every little thing, trying to control exactly how people would see me.
That was exhausting.
Fast forward a few years and the amazing discovery that no one is thinking about you as much as you think they are. Fast forward another few years and the amazing discovery that you can express yourself however you want. I like wearing a lot of bracelets; sounds small and insignificant but it’s like getting to be somebody new. Of course my special ones, my Tradition Bracelets are always present, always peeking out from somewhere. So I get to be somebody new but I’m always Elizabeth underneath it all.