As children we watch cartoons with super heroes who wear magic capes, have special powers and wield mystical swords whenever they sense danger. It’s human nature to need to feel protected, right?
We all need to feel safe and comfortable in a sometimes unsettling world – or I do anyway – so what happens when we grow up and can’t get away with wearing a superhero cape?
In the past, home has often been a hotel room or a flat in a city I’ve never visited before and where I know very few people. I’m a Londoner. I studied in Leeds (North UK) and spent considerable time in Spain, France, Greece and the USA before I hit my mid 20s so that’s a lot of moving about for someone so young.
I think we all yearn for the shield and protection of the people we love, the experiences we have shared with them and the relative safety of the wherever we call home. Memories and good times shared with the people we love the most. But really, home is where the heart is so I have carried my ‘heart’ with me, around my neck and wrist, since I left home for university.
Over the years I have accrued bracelets and bangles and necklaces that have profound meaning and mark rights of passage that have defined my life. They replace the shields and superhero powers my favourite characters used to flaunt to keep them safe and secure.
A necklace from my parents for my graduation hasn’t come off since I was 21. A past love – a man who was a hugely important part of my journey – bought me a necklace with two circles that can’t be separated. I still draw from the strength of that symbolism. I ‘borrowed’ my brother’s watch. By borrowed I mean ten years later I still have it and where I go, that goes too,
There’s my grandpa’s 13th birthday present charm, a string with my niece’s star sign and I have a hamsa (a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa depicting the open right hand), an image used as a sign of protection in many societies throughout history, that came with a Moroccan Cleanse juice: Frankly, I just liked it. So that went on my wrist too and will only be removed if and when the chord breaks and it falls off.
These items don’t necessarily have much financial value but they do have a profound emotional value to me. What I wear around my wrists and neck constitute an invisible shield – a layer of protection close to my heart – holding my hand wherever I find myself. The only downside is I kind of jingle like a cow with a bell from all the bling when I walk.
But that, I can live with.