We are in the home stretch of our bathroom renovation – Hallelujah!! – and I decided it might be a good idea to start going through some of the stuff in our guestroom. The ginormous pile of clothes was a little more than I was mentally prepared to handle today, so I turned my attention to my snake pit of a jewelry box.
I use the word “jewelry box” very loosely as you can see. And this is just a small part of my collection – the stuff I wear most often is laying in heap on my bedroom dresser in the bedroom.
Anyway, as I started pulling apart this tangled mess of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, I was surprised at just how much jewelry I’ve accumulated over the past ten years or so. And then I just smiled to myself a little because before that, I had maybe one pair of small gold-hoop earrings, a watch, and my wedding ring. I just didn’t wear jewelry. So what changed?
I met my friend Suzanne.
I’m going to save the details of how we met for another time (it’s a fun story that includes OU football and my friend Carrie!), but for now let’s just suffice it to say that when I met Suzanne in 1993 I was struck by three things:
- her engaging smile and warm personality
- her confidence and self-assurance
- how polished and put together she was
So what does that have to do with my messy jewelry box?
Well, it was all due to one fateful shopping trip along Michigan Avenue.
I happened to be in downtown Chicago with Carrie and Suzanne (our husbands had decided to forgo the shopping and instead opted to spend the afternoon at the ESPN Sports Zone watching football.) The three of us were making our way along the Miracle Mile and I’m not gonna lie…I felt like a small-town country bumpkin walking around those high-end department stores. But since Suzanne lived in Chicago, she lead us past all those high-priced stores into the little shops where she found great deals on cute clothes and accessories. It was in one such store that she held up a small, very modest necklace and said, “Hey Kel, this would be so cute with what you have on.” I looked at her skeptically and said, “Do you think I’d look to flashy?”
Now you have to understand, it’s not that I didn’t like jewelry. In fact, I had always admired Suzanne’s great sense of style. She was one of those people who could pull an outfit together, throw on a cool necklace, and walk out the door looking like a million bucks. But whenever I tried on jewelry by myself, I just felt dorky. I did not have the knack for accessorizing. Really – I’m not kidding. The last necklace I bought for myself would probably have been one of those multi-strand, Twist A Bead necklaces circa 1985.
So anyway, Suzanne just stood there smiling and assured me that I would in no way, shape, or form look too flashy. And knowing that Suz was not going to take “No” for answer, I tried on the necklace and walked over to the mirror absolutely positive that I was going to look weird and dorky. But to my surprise, I looked neither weird nor dorky – in fact, I looked quite polished in my very conservative khaki pants and black sweater. It was the perfect little accessory.
And, oh, what a slippery slope that little necklace turned out to be.
I smile whenever I think about that day. Looking back, the thing I love is not that she helped me accessorize my outfit. No…what I love is that Suzanne gave me permission to see myself differently. And it made a difference in my life – not just in being about to pick out a necklace, but in the courage to try new things.
It really speaks volumes about the kind of person and friend she is. Suzanne has the unique ability to love someone for who they are, yet see things in them that they might not be able to see for themselves. And for the past eighteen years I have been blessed by her ability to help me see beyond the limits I set for myself – a gift I will always cherish.
Friendship and jewelry are powerful stuff!