What does a wedding ring mean to you? There’s a palpable absence on my hand of pieces of metal with diamonds I used to wear to symbolize that my heart belonged to someone. And I notice the absence of those materials on my hand the most when I’m driving. I usually drive with my left hand on the top of my wheel. When I was married, this meant that my wedding band and engagement ring were situated right on top of the wheel, too. I never realized how much I looked at them in that position until they were no longer there.
I wasn’t the absolute most religious about wearing my wedding ring. I wore it about 85% of the time though, and I never felt right when I realized I had forgotten to put it back on after a workout. I hated during pregnancy when it no longer fit, too. My ring meant something to me. Even when things were REALLY bad, the symbol of it meant something to me. I remember putting it on when I didn’t want to anymore. It was so hard to literally put on a reminder of a commitment that I made when I got married when I felt like it meant nothing to him in return.
After my divorce, I hated that the indentation from years of wearing a ring in the same place wouldn’t go away. And then when it finally did a couple months ago, that made me sad, too. Now, the absence of it means so many things. When I’m in public with my kids, I feel (unnecessarily and without any cause) that I’m being judged as an unmarried mom. I look down and am reminded that I am not completely committed to any one.. which really means that no one is completely committed to me. And that’s a really lonely feeling. The absence of a ring makes me feel “less than” – I’m not a part of that “club” I used to be in. And for some reason, I feel like being a member of that club made me more of a woman and person. I feel like a child when I look at my empty hand – like my age suddenly dropped by 12 years and I’m back to who I was right before that ring began to define me.
Next time will be different. Next time I will wear mine, and he will wear his. Next time it won’t be about what it looks like – it will be about what it feels like to know that it means that I am loved and that I will love as deeply as I know how in return. Next time I will do so much more to ensure my finger will never feel the weightlessness of being empty again because now I can see so many ways I went wrong.
I’m trying the change the way I see my empty finger. I don’t want to see it and feel like I failed. I want to look and see hope for something different in my future. I do hope that one day a piece of metal on my hand will represent a new commitment, a new love, a new chance to do better. I hope I get to feel what love feels like in a way I’ve never felt before.
I’ve taken so many pictures of rings for my job over the last decade. Honestly, I never really understood why people loved “ring shots” so much. I mean, is someone really going to blow up a big canvas of a ring that they wear on their finger every day and hang it on their wall? Now I see it so different though. Creating a beautiful, artistic image of two objects that hold so much more meaning than the money they are worth and reminding two people of the level of love and commitment they felt on the day they were married…. if my pictures can do that, then I will keep taking them.