yesterday morning my doorman gave me a bracelet. he told me a story. the bracelet had been a gift to him. from Africa and to give him strength. he has had it for many years and he wanted to give it to me. to offer me strength.
i love bracelets. i wear them and stack them and they each tell a story. As i look down now at my wrists, i smile. people always ask, do you wear those all the time? sleep in them? teach in them? wear them in the ocean? i do. and i change them sometimes. my summer cuffs stacked with creations made on the beach. right now, tokens of love and strength. a shifting history.
- the miracle icons with dangling charms chosen for what they represent – a saint, a fatima, a mother and child.
- the friendship bracelet from a new friend.
- the beads blessed by a tibetan healer and offered as a gesture of support and good wishes. previously worn by the giver’s daughter and friend at a time of need.
- the old school id bracelet ellen gave me when i first became a teacher at soulcycle – Ain’t No Sucka MC
- the ones my daughter made.
- last year’s beach beads. a solid color with one standout color in the middle.
- the acai beads given to me this week at the MORE magazine shoot by a beautiful woman, involved in so much, making this world a better place. veronique. this is what 46 looks like.
- from st barth’s. tiny. sparkly. LOVE.
- my creations with skulls and SOUL.
- the evil eyes – dangling and clustered. symbols again of kind wishes from friends and riders and parents from school.
- the few with diamonds. Creations. a gift to myself.
- the african one from my doorman.
when i first cut my hair a month or so ago. the short platinum look that i will return to. i said it made me feel like a super hero version of myself. it’s what i needed to feel as i approached the unknown. the chemo. the prospect of losing my hair. and as i sit here today with a buzz cut, stronger than i knew i would be, my bracelets have become my super hero symbols. in the summer, jamie and i call them Summer Cuffs. right now they are super hero cuffs.
and they are so easy to make.
on the beach in fair harbor, i make bracelets. i bring down bags of beads and string and scissors and leather and charms. and i make bracelets. and a funny thing happens. other people want to come and sit and make bracelets, too. kids. swarms of kids sometimes. and they sit in a circle and create something. the rules are simple. clean up what you take out. really, that is the only rule. and the kids listen. and they create. parents want to marvel at keeping so many kids occupied for so long. but it is simple. we sit and we make bracelets.
my daughter made hundreds of grey and yellow bracelets last summer. she sold them at soulcycle and raised money for charity. more than $1000. grey with one yellow bead. yellow with one grey bead. so simple. i’m still wearing mine. i love when i see other people with the same one. i’m sure she will make more this summer. i’ll just be in the shade while we make bracelets. still feeling the sand and looking at the ocean. still making bracelets. just in the shade.
three years ago i went to brazil for a wedding. and while i was there, a gift from the bride, a wish bracelet. the basic premise is you make a wish. someone ties the bracelet on with three knots. and when the bracelet falls off, your wish is supposed to come true. the thing is, mine never fell off. i never told anyone what the wish was. but it never fell off. i swim in the ocean pretty much every day in the summer. other bracelets have been lost to the wear and tear of the salt water. but not this one. i wear sweatbands on my wrists when i teach. other bracelets have been lost to the wear and tear of soulcyle. but not this one.
and then yesterday my doorman gave me a bracelet. and something occurred to me. that wish i had wished for in brazil. the ceremony of tying it on, the one who tied it. a friend from home. from childhood and forever. a representation of a life i could have lived. it occurred to me that silent wish, never shared with anyone, had now come true. it had come true in a week when i chose the thing that i feared the most in this journey. it came true in the act of buzzing my hair before it fell off. so simple. so profound. it came true at the top of the hill where i chose my next step. and i knew that i didn’t have to wait for the bracelet to fall off. my wish had come true. it took 3 years and so many steep and varied and unexpected steps. steps i get to choose. steps i now choose. and so i took it off.
today i will wear another bracelet.
a bracelet with my name on it. and the name of my doctor and other official stuff. a bracelet clipped on by a nurse at sloane kettering. a bracelet i must wear during the chemo. it is my second treatment. i am calm. i will wear that bracelet and i will take it off. and i will still have my super hero cuffs.