Circle of Love

Today, because of various twists and turns in the conditions of life, I found myself with time on my hands and suddenly inside a Claire’s. I was just riding my bike down State St. thinking of shopping for a pair of spring sneakers when Claire’s with all it’s sparkle and pinkness and sign, “Free Piercing,” yanked me off the saddle and through the doors.

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I just want to preface this by saying that this has been a heck of a week. So much happening to all of us. The ups and downs. One serious roller coaster. And of course, it never helps to have someone offer some pap about how things will get better; that they’ll change and blah blah blah…

And, while we’re at it: in the interest of full disclosure, I think I’m actually one of those annoying people, a worst offender, far more frequently than I’d care to admit. Well meaning? Yes. Definitely. I hate to see people suffer. I want everyone to feel better, and preferably, that better feeling activity, would happen like,  right now. Thank you.

(How much of that might be my own discomfort with someone else’s suffering? Hmmm. Now, that needs consideration.)

But anyway, I just feel like, damn…how trivializing, Condescending. I swear, right here and now, I’ll try to do better.

So.

Today, because of various twists and turns in the conditions of life, I found myself with time on my hands and suddenly inside a Claire’s. I was just riding my bike down State St. thinking of shopping for a pair of spring sneakers when Claire’s with all it’s sparkle and pinkness and sign, “Free Piercing,” yanked me off the saddle and through the doors.

(I did get the sneakers too. Which was fun.IMG_8046

If you don’t know about this chain, perhaps you don’t know enough young girls. It’s everything sparkly and bedazzled; a pop-culture love-fest. And, they do free piercing. Cartilage piercing at some locations. So, basically, today I was the sort of person who given a few hours of la-la time to do whatever, decided there was no better time than now to pierce an ear, which as you can see, I did.

IMG_8047

But that’s not the real story.

As I was sitting there in that high chair they have by the front window so that passers by can see in (Look! It’s not scary. Come on in and pierce something too!) when a whole gaggle of women came into the shop let by a sweet young lady who turned out to be twelve. She was so darn cute. Face wide open and sweet and kind of agog at being there. Clearly, this girl was on a Mission.

Her mom asked me if I was getting pierced. The girls eyes got bigger. Yes I told her and pointed to the upper part of my left ear. She smiled a shy smile. That’s when she told me she was twelve and was here to get her ears pierced and that she was a little bit scared. They went off to select her earrings.

The young lady who did my piercing asked me if I wanted her to, “just do it” or count down. “Count down,” I said. And it was over just like that. 3-2-1. Click. No big deal. I was thrilled. See how the green stone goes with the purple highlights? Love it!

So, I go and pay and the twelve year old is there and moving toward the tall chair. As I exit the store, she’s sitting there, a sweet gift, a lovely princess. And all around her are all the women in her life who love her. Mom clearly. Is that her grandma? And a whole bunch who range from college age to young mom’s themselves. At least three generations are represented. One of them holds a very brand new looking baby, swaddled in a spring green blanket. And they stand around her in a circle, protective, loving. They are positively beaming at her and she’s just glowing with it.

And it just struck me. How wonderful. How marvelous for her to be in this circle of women. Powerful. Fierce and bedazzled, helping this girl through this funny little rite of female growing up. There was enough love in that room to light the sky on fire. It just about broke my heart with wonderfulness. This small moment. But I could tell, all of them are going to remember it. Even years from now.

I wish that all of us get to experience that feeling of love and protection, shared joy. What I’ve also learned lately, is that the best way to get that feeling, is to give it. And that also, that feeling of the sacredness of life, the holy-shit meaning of it all, is not something limited to the places where we worship, it’s the very fabric of every day life. And in fact, if we think we need to lock it away or parcel it off the church or temple or whatever sacred spaces we enter, we’re missing the boat. This is it right here. Right now. This breath. This slant of light. This beating heart. This pierced ear.

Happy Saturday loves.

Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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