This tapestry is an important symbol of my identity as an Indian American in this campus, as it is a traditional Indian blanket that my mom bought in an American store, which I got from my mom before I left for school. It is a beautiful cloth, and also a tapestry of disparate things stitched together, reminding me of my attempts to stitch my various identities together both on this campus and in life.
I don’t often wear jewelry, but I started wearing a ring because my girlfriend gave it to me. As the only gay couple in our high school, we always felt out of place and often didn’t feel comfortable with people knowing that we were together or acting like a couple in public. The ring was a reminder to me that, even when we couldn’t be physically close, she was always with me and that she loved me. However, in addition to being a reminder of her, the ring was also always symbolic to me of not quite fitting in and feeling out of place as a bisexual woman. It’s something that helped me feel connected to the person I loved, but in doing so, it made me feel disconnected from the rest of the heteronormative world.
I have a love-hate relationship with my insulin pump. In high school, I actually refused to wear it and had to get my insulin from daily injections (which left many bruises). I hated the looks I got from people whenever it alarmed and all of the ridiculous questions: “Is that an iPod?” “Why do you have a pager?” My blood sugar was not in control, and the insulin pump would have made my diabetes much easier to handle. When I transitioned into college, I began to wear my pump again, and now it symbolizes my identity as part of the disabled community. A lot of the mental health obstacles I live with are connected to my diabetes, so my pump has truly been an avenue and conversation starter on disability. I think my pump also signifies my growth and maturity, that I now recognize that disability is not negative and in fact, contributes to the diversity of our campus community.
I have been questioning/queer for years, but I was never in a space to be visibly queer and part of the community until I came to Davidson and was in queer spaces and had structures of friendship and family here. This flag was given to me by one of my favorite friends, who is also my big within my eating house. She is also a queer Asian American, and having her here has been so important in navigating white spaces on campus.
When I first bought this jean jacket, I felt uncomfortable wearing–too fat, not feminine enough–but a year later, I returned to it. I now love wearing it, having become so much more confident in my body. Now, it reminds me of a thick armor that I can wear to protect me in this PWI. I’ve covered it in pins that I’ve collected over the years, and I love it.
I wear the ring because it reminds me of my grandmother, one of the strongest women I know (she was one of the first women to graduate with a math degree and she did it in three years with honors)
I loved my grandfather so incredibly much. He meant the world to me. If I tried to articulate how much I loved him, I would write an entire essay. The way he navigated the world, loved his family, and overcame obstacles was inspiring. A few years ago, I was struggling a lot with my relationship with my brother and general family troubles, so I went out west to visit him. After a day of watching soccer and picking raspberries, he asked me to follow him into his bedroom. He sat me down on his bed and gave me this cross. He had been a Green Beret during the Vietnam War, and prayed on this cross every night. He said any time he was scared, lost, or hopeless, he clutched this cross. It comforted him, it was constant and strong. He had recognized that I was struggling and needed something that was constant, something to rely on. He placed the cross in my hands and I knew it would be the most valuable thing I had ever received. My grandfather passed away last year, and throughout my transition into college and through my experience with sexual assault, that cross has continually provided comfort. He was a huge supporter of higher education and always pushed me to challenge myself in the classroom. Despite all of the horrible things I have experienced at Davidson, I hold that cross and am reminded that he would be so proud of what I am doing here. It does not hold the most monetary value out of my possessions, but if I could only save one thing from a fire, I would dive into the flames to save this cross. Just as it was with my grandfather, this cross has been constant. Reliable. A reminder that I’m not alone. It holds his love and support, and I will never let it go.
I collect buttons because they help me articulate and support movements that I either identify or agree with. Being a sexual assault survivor, I have found agency by being able to put that “label” on myself and openly identify as a part of that community. Looking at buttons online has also been a stress reliever as I process my assault – a way to articulate my emotions and find small objects (that are not too expensive) to identify my thoughts.
This participant said their father gave this bracelet to them at his wedding a few months ago. For the participant, the bracelet is “bittersweet” and complex, a “constant reminder to practice radical forgiveness even if it hurts.”
“Is wearing this bracelet part of forgiving?”
This Box is full of letters from home that my grandma, mom, and little cousins have sent me. There are also lots of pictures from my childhood. This is of course important to me because it connects me to my family who I miss and love a lot, but is also sort of like a bittersweet representation of the middle ground I experience being out as queer at Davidson but still relatively “in” at home. There are some times when I can go awhile and forget about that “closeted” reality, but the box is an insistent reminder that it exists back home still.
This animal was a gift given to me by my girlfriend, and is a physical object that stems from this important relationship in my life. I was questioning and invalidating my sexuality for years before I started dating her, and a huge part of understanding my queer identity on campus and in life has come from my relationship with her and the hypervisibility that comes with that. Normally I’m embarrassed/don’t feel attached to stuffed animals, but this one is a source of comfort and love.