Like all my stories that I post on this blog, I will try to weave in some sort of life lesson or message into this particular narrative. However, this story may be one of those tales that is told purely for the sake of being told.
When I was roughly fourteen, my mom bought for me a beautiful silver ring with a horse woven through it. Back then, I was struggling in my new school and trying to adapt to a new state, but the worst of what I would end up facing was yet to come, although I didn’t know it then. My mom gave the ring to me in the hopes that I would draw courage from it.
Strangely enough, I did.
I have always loved horses and have felt connected to them for my entire life. Certainly I feel this way because of my favorite movie, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (if you’re bored, read more about its influence on my life here), but also because horses represent so much to me: freedom, healing, and strength most of all. When I put the ring on for the first time, I was surprised to find that it fit perfectly on my left ring finger and only that finger. (I have extremely tiny fingers which is why this was a shock.) It couldn’t have been more perfect, however, because I decided that the ring would symbolize my “marriage” to horses and my commitment to everything they stood for. And whenever I looked at it, no matter what ordeal I was going through, I remembered that commitment and tried to find the inner strength I knew horses represented.
I never took that ring off. It was on my ring finger no matter where I went or what I did. Every picture I am in from fourteen onwards, every memory that I have starting from then… I am wearing that ring. I have worn it without fail for six or seven years. And the other day, on an act of impulse, I looked at my hand where my ring lay shining on my finger and I realized, with a start, that I didn’t need it anymore.
It’s strange how we come to these life conclusions so suddenly. It’s strange how we are so often looking the other way in search of a solution different than the one that raps smartly on our minds when we least expect it. In no time at all, I realized that the ring had, as of late, reminded me only of the nasty situations I was in when I would rely on it. I came to understand that the ring no longer served as a holder of strength and courage; those instincts had been inside of me all along.
I never realized how many times a day I would play with that ring or rub my fingers together to make sure it was still there until I took it off. But each time I automatically reach for my bare finger now, I remember something else I have learned: materialistic items are not nearly as important as what they stand for. I think the horses that I know and love at the ranch I volunteer at, the horses I am just as committed to without that ring, would agree: inner strength is not drawn from an object. It comes from within. And although my finger feels naked without it, I know I’ll get used to its absence in time. If there is anything I have come to understand these past few days, it is that my need for my ring has passed, and it is now time to move on.
As for the ring itself… Well, I am always in search of closure, so maybe I’ll bury it somewhere in the Sonoran Desert, my favorite place in the world. Maybe I’ll hang on to it and pass it down to another girl when she needs it. I haven’t decided just yet. The beauty is that I have all the time in the world to decide. After all, it is just an object. Everything it stands for is worth so much more.