In my first job out of college I worked on an in-home intervention team serving families who were focused on preservation. Or, in other terms, they were at risk of losing custody of their children because of abuse, neglect, poverty, and often abuses of power by the system, too. That job smacked me in my face with a PhD in The Real World. I'd grown up solidly middle class in an affluent community with good schools. I went to college and so did my parents and so did my siblings. As a child I'd never been without food, without shelter, without parents and a host of other stable, kind adults who I could've leaned on should I ever have the need.
In hindsight, I can't believe I was ever hired to do that work at age 23. Most people lack the maturity needed to understand the nuance that goes into families being involved with The System, and generational poverty. But it wasn't just my experiences getting to know the families I was supporting that taught me so much. It wasn't just the trips to the food shelves, the appointments with case workers, and social workers, and therapists, and parole officers, and court dates upon court dates and guardian ad litems. It was also my co-workers who impressed upon me a set of values rooted in respecting everyone's humanity. Everyone's. I left that job after only 18 months in that position, which was double the typical shelf life because the stress level was so high, and I was a different person. I walked in pointed one way and walked out after a 180 turn.
In one particular team meeting, a guest speaker explored the connection between the wellness of our hearts, and the wellness of the lives we live. This was 16-17 years ago, and I still think about her presentation probably 2-3 times a year. What's cemented in my mind was example after example of how the heart is more than just a mechanism to pump blood in our body. It's a mechanism that fails, too, when the presence of love is absent. That we need love. We are made to love, and be loved, and feel love and give it and drink it and bathe in it.
In that job I had right out of college, I saw what happens to our brains when we're neglected as babies, when we don't receive the eye contact, the nurture, the love we so fundamentally need as human beings.
And in this job, I often see notes on love that shows up as grief now. It exists and is abundant and wants to continue to bathe on another but that other isn't here anymore, so it bottles up and our hearts break. We break.
"Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can't understand it."
This quote is from my favorite movie, Interstellar. I was blown away by this line, which Anne Hathaway says as she is defends her choice to land a spaceship so far from Earth that they miss years and years of time with loved ones back on Earth in just minutes on this other planet. The heart, love, connection - it drives us, feeds us, fuels us, tears us down sometimes, and even if we're rejecting it, that rejection drives us, too, doesn't it?
When we first launched The Locket Sisters back in 2017, I didn't think heart lockets were cute. I thought they were cheesy and silly and kinda lame. I'm wrong a lot, and especially wrong often with my first impulse reaction, which my heart tends to use for rejection.
But my sister, Amy, was right. She pushed for our first heart locket necklace, just like she pushed for The Silver Disco Ball Locket, just like she pushed us to travel across the world to find the answers we were looking for with 14k gold vermeil lockets.
And now, in 2022, here we are. Five years in where this work here has cracked my heart open and taught me as much about humanity and each and every person's value and experience as the job I had in 2006 where my heart was cracked open to learn lessons of a different kind.
To think that a magazine with 1,000,000 unique monthly visitors would want to choose our lockets to feature in their magazine? And on top of that, for such a great reason? For the Grandma Who Has Everything?
My own heart is tickled pink at how far we've come.
Thank you, Veranda Magazine. We're honored.