What’s Up with my Bear Necklace?

Photo by Sheila Dee

Over the last 15 years, I’ve lived in 4 states, earned 3 degrees, had more jobs than I can count, went from a size 12 to a size 4, and dyed my hair almost every color of the rainbow. One of the only constants in my life for all that time is my bear necklace.

I got my bear necklace as a high school graduation present from my aunt and uncle. The card in the box said it was a symbol of wisdom and courage. I’ve been told it’s from the Hopi tribe. I fell in love with it immediately. I have worn it almost every day since. The only times I don’t wear it when I leave the house is when I’m working out or going to a function that requires different accessories – usually formal attire. I look through my pictures tonight and the only times I wasn’t wearing my bear was at Pride when I wore my rainbow beads, my sister’s wedding, running races, and at paintball.

Photo by Don McPhee

All my family knows not to get me casual necklaces because they know I won’t wear them. They don’t get me anything gold either because it will clash.

Some people mistake it for a tooth or chai symbol. When I say it’s a bear, they can see it.

There have only been a few occasions when I would have worn my necklace and I didn’t.

Photo by Jeff Moriarty

One time was the day my clasp broke. I went running to my grandmother’s fancy jeweler – one of those places where the door’s locked and there’s an armed guard. I’m sure my necklace was below the value of anything they sold in the store, but I trusted them to fix it.

The other time I didn’t wear it was the day I lost it. I was devastated for the 6 hours I couldn’t find it. I thought I’d lost it at the gym. I was so heartbroken I sincerely considered getting a replica of it tattooed somewhere on my body. I was so relieved and overjoyed when I found it under some clothes on my bed.

I can’t tell you why I love my necklace…I just do.

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