This week, I bought myself a ring. I have not bought myself a piece of jewelry, well, ever. OK, that’s probably an exaggeration. I think I went through that phase where most young people, especially the ones socialized as female, get a jewelry box and believe it’s our responsibility to fill it up with beautiful things. If I remember correctly, mine had a ballerina in it and was filled with rocks, baseball cards, and pennies. Maybe a string bracelet or two.
But lately, I’ve been looking for something to commemorate this van life. To remember that I took this big, brave risk. Something to remind me that I am becoming the person I never thought I could be. Why not a ring?
Listen to this week’s letter here!
Wandering through Old Town Albuquerque, I had a million shops to choose from. “Can I see that tray?” I asked shyly, assuming the woman would treat me as awkwardly as most of the other jewelers on the same block did. Instead, she was friendly and warm. A career jeweler. “My claim to fame is that I can spot anyone’s ring size,” she said proudly.
As we perused the gold and silver, I shrugged. Not quite what I was looking for. Then, she spun another case around. “I have these too. Size 7 for that finger,” she said with a smile. As I stared down at my hand, a big smile crept across my face. “You know this is copper?” she said. I nodded.
I didn’t know it, but I was looking for a copper ring. See, copper and other minerals like iron are what make those mountains I’ve been posting on Instagram so colorful. Each layer features a different mineral from hundreds of thousands of years ago that glows a different shade. On one of the many informational signs I read over the last two weeks, they explained why these rocks have stood for so long. “Metals like iron can only be destroyed by water and rusting,” they said. “These minerals survived because they can only be destroyed by themselves.”
It’s easy to march through life believing that we are not enough or that one thing could destroy our destiny. I feel it when things aren’t “busy enough” – whatever that means – and the panic starts to wash over me. Did I do it? Have I tried hard enough? What if it all comes crashing down?
However, we forget that we’re stronger than one thing, one day, one moment. That we are the only thing that can destroy us. You are the only one who can destroy you.
We don’t often pause to give ourselves credit for the momentum and magnificent transformations that we create in life. For the changes. For all the tiny things that add up to big differences. The difference we need – to survive, to thrive, to live our dreams. Instead, we act as if the glass walls we shatter will rip our skin apart. We wait for chaos to ensue instead of enjoying the quiet calm. We commend others for elevating us when it was the small steps we took every single day to float.
It wasn’t until these last few weeks that I realized that I was the only one who could have destroyed all of this for me. I was the only one who could make it happen, too. Ultimately, this gratitude for my choices helped me make one big change that could change everything for me. It could change everything for you, too.
It was the choice to stop the self-guided, self destruction applied daily through more: more work, more plans, more of everything that I thought would make me feel like I did enough, tried hard enough, or was a good enough human to deserve this life.
I rejected the idea that chaos is the only constant or that I’m walking on glass navigating an ocean of enemies to remember who I am: the one person who can destroy me. The one person who can design my destiny, too. I remembered that these layers, these minerals, will make me as beautiful as this copper ring on my hand.
PS – my blog this week is about how HR leaders can create safe spaces for trans employees. A must-read for every team. You can read it here.
Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.