In 2006, a year and a half shy of our wedding date, I started to look for the perfect ring. This was before anyone thought of making Disney Princess collections or Tri-Force engagement rings, and customizing your own set cost thousands. We had settled on Tanzanite as the center cut stone, in trillion shape, because it has a purple-blueish sparkle that rivals any sapphire or diamond in the world. A soft stone, it served as the perfect symbol of what we thought our relationship would be, strong and precious but at the same time soft and fragile. Unlike diamonds, tanzanite stones can scratch or crack under loads of pressure which meant it had to be handled with caution and great care. Also purple is the color or royalty and the color that represents engineering which according to our plans of building an empire, it suited us perfectly.
What I never imagined was that it would give me superpowers that would make Sauron rage with envy! I say that the ring has magical powers because it elevated me into a whole new area of the playing field that is life. It does most of the talking for me. It helps me explain things away with a simple wave of my hand. It makes me immune to unwanted or misguided advances from strangers. When I say I have to go or do something because my ring counterpart needs me, no one bats at eye. In case of emergency the life of Mr Enginerd is in my hands. With great power comes great responsibility.
Hearts broke around the world when I said I do and began wearing my ring of power. Over time, the magic that it holds began to walk a fine line between good and evil. Although it can make me invisible to a crowd of successful good looking men or single women, a trick that comes in handy for an introvert in their finest robes, it can backfire when I need to be seen. So many conversations and presentations have gone south because people can only see and value me when my husband or a man that could pass for an authority figure is nearby. In the middle of moments of mysoginistic glory like this one, (sarcasm), it transforms me into a She-Hulk debater of female and gender equality that is not to be messed with. Then you can truly and unequivocally see me shine as bright as the Tanzanite I wear. I am tired of being treated as a lesser being because people can only see me as half of a person instead of a whole one. My husband is not my better half. He doesn’t complete me. And for some things I am better off by myself. I wish people understood that ring of power gives me abilities beyond my own but not always at the expense of my lifetime partner.
At times it has betrayed me, disappearing behind the Barbecue (which prompted me to buy a replacement ring, so now I have 2) as if it was looking for its own hobbit rescuer (my then 4 year old nephew found it) or new master. That story had a sad ending though; I was pregnant at the time and I remember asking the powers that be to keep it if my baby was alright. It came back after a 4 week hiatus, right around the time my unborn child was lost to chromosomal anomalies. Pure evil that ring. Thinking about it gives me chills. That’s why the ring has become the worst conversation starter about family plans. The devastation and havok the answer to “when will you have kids” has reeked on mankind is atrocious and vast. Things can turn badly quickly depending on the line of questioning individuals undertake in this category. There are days when I avoid wearing it all together just to make the intruders stand at bay, especially during baby showers and weddings. I’ve been blamed of dereliction of my Christian and American duty because we haven’t procreated, and of being selfish and not sharing my earnings with adoptive children. To me, insensitive pleas like these are worse than torture because they reveal how ignorant and brazen we are when discussing the topic of family.
Another negative side effect of wearing the ring is that people get very angry at me whenever I am hanging out with friends without my husband. Some went as far as to remind me that a good wife wouldn’t leave home without her man. I’ve been accused of cheating and lying even when I have shared that Mr Enginerd knows were I am, in case I get kidnapped or my designated driver gets too drunk to drive safely. During moments like these the ring becomes a burden because it places expectations on my behavior that are not in line with my lifestyle or way of thinking. I am independent, I follow the law, and I don’t need a man to tell me what to do or protect me. Just ask my parental units and they’ll tell you their baby girl ain’t got time for none of that machismo crap. Be warned, wives are not their husband’s property or vice versa. Owning people is illegal, and is called slavery.
Not all of the powers have an evil twin, and I am grateful that a piece of white gold and precious stone, with diamond baguettes at the sides, can serve me well whenever I need to face the world. It reminds me of the good times and the bad, and of the commitment I must honor to my family and happiness. It allows me to infiltrate a social institituion that needs serious reform under the law, and made me an ambassador for couples with fertility issues and child loss. For the better part of a decade my ring has become my sidekick, helping me learn about love, compassion and the greater good. It has given me the strength to forgive and improve my human condition, and to accept that people will fail me epically but still love and support me. The ring itself holds all of my best and worst memories, serving as the only constant in my marriage; it’s beauty never fades and can be restored with a good cleaning and polishing.
Truth be told, the nerds in our family always wanted rings of power and now we can proudly say we have them. Ever since we realized our wedding bands could double up as our super hero secret identity markers (this was around year 4 of our marriage), my husband started wearing his platinum band on his left index finger just like Hal Jordan would. He always wanted to be a Green Lantern. 🙂 What he didn’t realize was that by giving me a purple-blueish ring, represented in Green Lantern Corps lore by love and hope respectively, he gave me a Star Sapphire, technically making me a part of the Zamarons and thus part of the Green Lantern Corps he so desperately wanted to join and represent. This was the most creative and subconscious grand gesture he has done for me, including me in his childhood fantasies. (FYI- Hal’s on and off girlfriend Carol Ferris, hard core engineer and owner of a defense contracting firm, is a Zamaron too.) Amazing! If that is not proof that our innermost childhood dreams and desires come true, and that the right kind of lover will find you, I don’t know what will convince you otherwise.
Violet Lantern Oath:
“For hearts long lost and full of fright,
For those alone in Blackest Night.
Accept our ring and join our fight,
Love conquers all with violet light!”
My message to you is this: Wield your ring or object of power regardless of your marital or social status. Find your one ring to rule them all and use your abilities wisely. During my darkest nights my ring served me as a reminder that good things come to those who work hard and persevere. Find your inner strength and courage. Feed your self esteem and your soul. We all have superpowers; find the best vehicle to channel them into the world. Don’t be afraid to light the way for others. Be your own Green Lantern Corps’ light.