So I bought myself a Tiffany’s ring.
A few months ago I overheard a conversation at work that went something like this:
Co-worker 1: I heard you got engaged this weekend
Engaged Co-worker: I did!
Co-worker 1: Well show me the ring
(Engaged co-worker shows ring)
Co-worker 1: Whoa now that’s a ring. He must really love you that’s for sure.
I nearly had to super glue my eyeballs to keep them from rolling. There are so many things wrong with the conversation above that it deserves a post all of it’s own, but I will keep it brief.
For some reason we’ve come to associate the cost and sparkle of a ring from a man to a woman to be the tell-all show-all of how much she really means to him. If it’s some dingy plain band surely he doesn’t love her… is that what I’m understanding here? It’s ridiculous and materialistic, of course, but it got me thinking. When was the last time someone asked to see something you bought for yourself and said, “Wow! You got that for yourself? You must really love yourself. Good for you!” ? No? No one? Yeah, me neither.
The past few months I was dating a boy pretty seriously. When I went home for the holidays, and even when I was at work, I had people asking me when we were getting married. That question is expected especially within the LDS community, but it didn’t bother me until it became more accusing, “Why isn’t he proposing to you?” See, I’ve never been enamored with the idea of a wedding or the thought of getting married young but for some reason that one hurt. I knew people were trying to frame it in a way that made it seem like there was something wrong with him for not “putting a ring on it,” but in the end it made me wonder if there was something wrong with me.
There are a lot of things in life that one can know very logically within the mind. Logically I know there is nothing wrong with me and I also know there is nothing wrong with him, but emotionally it was not connecting. I tripped over my feet a bit and began to feel insecure about myself and it sucked.
One day as I was reading over past writings I came across an epiphany a wiser and past me had experienced. After having gone through heartbreak a wise-past-me had decided to write about the experience and present-me has never felt more grateful. The short version of that long entry was that my greatest accomplishment wasn’t that I’d never stumbled, “The accomplishment was realizing that I could survive. Worn and torn for all its worth but alive in the end.” I needed to remember that. I needed to believe that again.
But this isn’t about marriage or engagements, it really isn’t. This is about me. me. me. Truth is that I had forgotten to invest in myself.
I kept thinking about the idea of a ring and how it is symbolic of commitment, the key word being symbolic. This means that it is the representation of a promise, not the embodiment of the value behind such promise. Look up the meaning of representation and embodiment and you will see how different they are. Ultimately this should mean that no matter how fancy a ring someone gives you it doesn’t signify how valuable you are, and likewise no mater how simple it does not dictate your worth or their love. Still, particularly as women we are taught that this little trinket is the ultimate token of love. Fine. So why not flip it on it’s head?
Historically there has always existed this notion of “taking back” something (idea, word, tradition, etc). For example, feminism as it developed in it’s third wave took words such as “bitch” or “slut” and reclaimed them. So rather than trying to eliminate their use it’s a way to “disarm their derogatory meaning.” It’s an ongoing debate, but that’s for another post another time. Now, what if I did the same thing in my life? What if I reclaimed the idea of a ring?
I’ve always liked infinity rings and so I went online (and by that I mean tumblr) on a hunt for prices and design. While doing this I stumbled across these little gems:
The message was pretty clear that infinity rings, or any ring pricier than something you can buy at Forever21, should come from a “significant other.” So I searched Instagram to see what the hipsters had to say about it. Not only were majority of the photos of infinity rings from Tiffany & Co. but they also most came from a guy with hashtags like #he’sakeeper #spoiled #thankyoucurrentfancy (okay maybe not that one). Serious kudos to the guys giving out Tiffany’s like it ain’t a thang, but why weren’t more women hash tagging these as #treatyoself #selfloveisforever #isolemnlypromisetolovemyself?
This is where my take back mission kicked in. Infinity is another word that means forever and in the scheme of things the ultimate and only guaranteed forever is yourself. Now, I am not saying there is no such thing as eternal love or families, but you first have to make peace with yourself before you can make peace with anyone else, even friends or family. If every day you hate the skin and mind you live in then life will be miserable. Yet, as women we wait for a man with a ring to promise forever when we already live with forever—ourselves.
So yes, I bought myself a Tiffany’s ring, and before my mom and dad give me a talk about saving my money, hear me out. I could have bought myself a cheaper ring from somewhere like Etsy or whatever, but you know what? I’m worth it. If that little blue box means somebody must really love me and a pricey ring is the ultimate proof then so be it. But it must first be me before anyone else. Yeah, I love myself and I am willing to invest in my own happiness.
I even wrote myself a little love note
See how quick I flipped that social paradigm?
But it’s not about a ring, although it seems like it is. It’s about the value we as individuals give ourselves. It was such an empowering feeling to open that blue box and know that I had bought the ring with my own money, that I could do something for myself, that I was perfectly content with who I was. I firmly believe every woman deserves to invest in herself, in a metaphorical way every day and literally at least once. Find something that will be meaningful for you and go for it. It doesn’t have to be a ring, in fact one of my roommates considers her love sac the self-investment of her 20s.
I know who I am. I know my worth. My insecurities are only temporary and that’s what I will remember when I look down on my hand. Now how will you love yourself?