In town the other day, I was intending to head into one of my favourite kooky shops to buy a bracelet. There seem to be a lot of bracelets around right now, with the white one and the yellow one being particularly popular (there was a BBC feature – Do you know your awareness bracelets?) but the most popular ones, while they are sported by what appears to be everyone and his dog, don’t actually say anything about you do they ?
Wearing a white bracelet does not mean you care about poverty, or the richest nations paying off debts, or the G7 doing more. It could just be that you think it looks hip / cool / whatever. If the cash or the bracelet goes toward the intended goal then it doesn’t really matter does it ? You get the effect you desire, the charity gets their cut. All happy. But what if the bracelet you want actually does say something about you, and it’s a very personal something ? What then ?
Wearing a badge – because that’s what a bracelet is – poses no threats when those around you either agree with that badge or are ignorant as to it’s meaning. Once people “in the know” enter your little world though, you have to make judgements, with the main one being the effect on you that wearing that badge will have. If the badge reveals more than the other person knew, then you are taking a risk on what they may do with this information. Knowing this makes the decision to wear a badge that much more weighty (not that my decision was, I’m just saying) and although I’m using the term ‘badge’ it could cover any sort of distinguishing feature.
So I’m sitting on the bus into the city and one thing I’m going to buy is a bracelet of orange and white beads. I am happy to buy it, happy to wear it. You know what ? I’d even be happy for people to ask me “Why ?” But they never do, they never have.
I didn’t buy one though. I didn’t because even though I am content to give away some personal information, I don’t think my daughters would be so comfortable. I’m sure D if she does not know would look up what Orange and White beads meant, and then – being the age she is – she would assume that if she knew all her friends knew and that could mean questions for her …. not great eh ?
So did I want to wear a bracelet for me ? Or because the cause was one I identified with ? Or because I wanted to flaunt myself in some way ? Or because I wanted to be asked ? I have no idea – no, that’s a lie, it’s all of them but in varying amounts depending on time of day / mood / and a zillion other things that go to make me what I am at any given moment, but the effect on my girls could have been too negative, so I didn’t buy one. I don’t need to add to the negativity I already give off. But beads or no beads, I’m still me.