One Ring – a Story of Evolution

One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954, chapter 2

I never wore rings in my twenties.  Earrings, yes.  Bracelets stacked and stretched over lace gloves in my 80s Madonna phase.  But never a ring.  Especially not on “that” finger; the one that states to the world that somebody loves you and wants to claim you for their own.

In my late 20s I had my first real boyfriend, one who wasn’t famous, married, or a sugar daddy.  And one Christmas he bought me a beautiful ring, a sparkler of rubies and diamonds.  It was exquisite.  I wore it on “that” finger and found that I liked it there.

A few years later I was preparing to wear another ring on that finger, a slim gold wedding band.  As a symbol of love and fidelity to my jealous husband-to-be, I sold the beautiful ruby and diamond ring; hocked it for thirty bucks.  Not long afterward I became the mother of two daughters, born in July (rubies) and April (diamonds.)  When my husband proved to be unfaithful, I ended the marriage and off came the wedding ring.

I couldn’t bear to have that finger bare after fourteen plus years of marriage, so I bought a replacement.  The center was black onyx, symbolizing the death of a marriage.

My heart began to heal and I fell in love again; truly, madly, deeply.  This was the Big One – real love.  I replaced the onyx with a narrow twisted silver band, waiting for my love to make a commitment that he would symbolize with a new ring.

After three years together, I started to hint.  I told my love that a woman without a ring was like a dog without a collar – she has no proof that she belongs to anyone.  Someone might feel free to take her home.  Finally, he acquiesced, buying me an elegant solitaire in a platinum cathedral setting.  I called it a promise ring.

“What exactly am I promising?”  he asked nervously.

Later, I thought of it as a shut-up ring.  Eventually our love crumbled, ending in a slow withering painful death.  In the middle of it all, I woke one night in a cold sweat, the ring burning my flesh like fire.  I took it off and could never bear to wear it again.

Single again, I bought a moonstone ring.  The moon symbolizes change.  I’ve worn this ring through Spain, Morocco, and South America as I burned my past to the ground and recreated myself – a phoenix rising from the ashes.

I no longer feel like a collarless dog.  I’m a wild mustang, a playful dolphin, a wise alley cat.  I’m friendly but independent.  Sure you can pet me, but I don’t need your doghouse.

When I get back to my new home in Boulder to slowly, carefully, mindfully build a gorgeous and simple life – a shining solitaire in its own right – I’ll buy a new ring to symbolize the transformation.  And if someday I meet someone who wants to join his life with mine, I’ll switch rings once again.  But I won’t beg.  And I won’t compromise my soul again to be tied to the porch of someone who really doesn’t even want the responsibility of a pet.

Until that day, I’ll symbolize my growth as it occurs, content to adorn myself with love, compassion, and baubles ever-changing.

About catnipkiss

I am a writer who is working on a travel memoir. I write about issues that speak to my soul: love, sex, yoga, spirituality, body image, dating and friendship, and more as it comes up! I love comments - thanks! What would YOU like to explore?
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5 Responses to One Ring – a Story of Evolution

  1. harriet bissell says:

    Baubles, Bangles and Beads (from KISMET, a rather forgotten musical…and maybe I even got the name wrong!) – AND I disagree or don’t identify with part of your story. we probably really don’t OWN our dogs, let alone another human being, One of my favorite quotes is the following:”But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” Kahil Gibran
    Now sometimes that sea turns into a gulf, a chasm, but one takes chances!

    • catnipkiss says:

      OH, defender of all things doggy 🙂 Everyone has a different take on this. I am independent but I have realized that I like the feeling of “belonging” to someone. (so sue me??) Hats off to the woman who is proud to be beholden to no man. I ain’t her. I want to be holdin’, I am so like the street dogs I have met in South America, who come over when you call, look so happy to merely be scratched on the head, and if you keep it up, they flop on their backs to expose their bellies for a scratch. Talk about trusting! Sometimes they continue to follow you around. You can’t tell me those dogs don’t want to belong to someone! And then there are the skittish ones who won’t come near, who are afraid to get close. I DON’T want to get to be one of those doggies. I have realized of late that of all my lessons from these untrustworthy men, the greatest and hardest lesson is this:to trust anew despite all the evidence that I shouldn’t. When that can happen for me, I know I will have crossed a very large and imposing bridge.

  2. Kye Sangha says:

    I have an uneasy relationship with my engagement band… A bit after we’d become engaged, I learned that my man had asked me because, “you seemed to need it so much…” Since I have spent most of my life happily single I considered this to be 1)nonsense 2)offensive and stopped wearing it. Now, 3 years later, I do wear it when I’m in the mood. But I don’t consider it an engagement ring. I’m not sure what it is, but its tarnished with the pain of an insincere question, one that is null & void. We live together, we are married, according to the state, for insurance purposes, but I don’t feel engaged, or married & the idea that if we break up I’ll have to get a divorce is very puzzling to me.
    How can I be married if I never said, “I do”?
    How can we be engaged if he only asked because he was afraid I’d leave without that promise?
    It’s all too much to process, so normally I shut it away, but your blog brought it out. Damn it.

  3. catnipkiss says:

    oh, Kye, sorry I stirred up the muddy waters… but thank you for sharing your story. But there is so much complexity in human relations – starting from childhood sh*t, and carrying on from there. Think how amazing it is that we ever let each other in! In my opinion (and what do I know, little miss ever-single…..) – we have to meet our mates as they are, with all the little glitches, and just love. His reason for the engagement ring was WAY more about him than you, as my ex love’s problems with intimacy had to do with him and HIS story, not me and mine. It’s hard not to take that on, but DON’T. if you love your man and want to be with him, if he’s a true partner to you (and I have seen evidence that he is) – THAT is what matters at the end of the day, right?

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