Thursday, January 8, 2015

Starry, Starry Night

A few years ago for a time, I was bullied at work.  The day I returned from Christmas vacation that year, my boss asked me to meet her in the conference room.  I remember how happy I had been that morning - I was tranquil and rested from my time away, I had enjoyed a lovely holiday with my family, and I was joyfully anticipating the new year.  So happy was I, that when I dressed, I impulsively pinned a beautiful purple velvet flower to my grey workaday cardigan.

My boss began our meeting stating that someone had made some complaints about me.  The specifics don't matter here but they were lies.  And after, I couldn't get over the fact that while I was blissfully and ignorantly enjoying my vacation, someone was making trouble.  Suddenly, as I looked at my boss, things became crystal clear.  The weeks before I was increasingly bewildered by the behavior of a young woman in my office.  Oddly enough, I had something to do with her hiring and yet, she had begun to check my work.  At first, it was a distant bell but as I sat across that conference room table, the bell began to clang.  This young woman had my boss' ear because she was whip-smart, albeit destructive and maligning.  I often felt insecure around her and didn't know why.  And as many victims of bullies do, I felt a rush of humiliation.  As I sat there, I became acutely aware of my pinned flower.  And I felt foolish.

Sometimes I come across that velvety flower which I never wore again.  Now when I have the urge to adorn a sweater, I often reach for a sparkly brooch.  I am lucky to have a few of my grandmother's and I've added to my collection with pieces from antique shops and boutiques.  They are so wonderfully arresting, like dazzling stars in a dark winter sky.  And they have a nice retro appeal.  I think it  takes a special woman to wear an eye-catching brooch with ease - a woman who believes in herself enough to festoon her soul with something celestial and otherworldly.  A little luminous astral glint which marks her spot in the world and says, "Yes, I am someone to be seen.  And I am not foolish". 

Fortunately, the bully was eventually remanded and removed and I am not completely unhappy that it happened to me.  I learned a lot about myself and I toughened up.  I had been too trusting at work and certainly needed lessons in the vagaries of peoplehood - not everyone is kind. 

My sister gave me a sparkly midnight blue pin and it looks just like one in the picture above.  It reminds me of the astonishing night sky.  And just as I see the stars above...when I wear my pin, I believe they see me too.


  1. Its horrible when that sort of thing happens at work. I'm glad you continue wearing your broaches, so pretty.

  2. I adore vintage brooches, as you know and wear them quite often, but this is a lovely reminder to do so more often. I love the starry night analogy...perfect! And perfect for a winter's adornment. Great post!

  3. A bitter-sweet tale. Bitter, obviously. Sweet, in that you now wear these beauties.

    Thought those looked old fashioned. Like some I have, from long ago.

    Gentle hugs,

  4. Hi Donna, what a great heartfelt post. I hate bullies, in any form, whether online or in person. At work it is just so weird to me, aren't we all adults here? I hate women like the one you described, to tell you the truth, I think it's so telling when they take such pleasure in tearing a coworker (a coworker!) down. Yuck!

    As for brooches, oh do not even get me started. I was just discussing this with my mother the other night and told her if I had to pick one thing, just one, from Cartier, I would pick a brooch (preferably vintage) over just about any of their gorgeous offerings (and yeah, we often discuss jewelry!). Your brooches shown here are lovely! I am especially crazy for the one on the right. Looking forward to reading your post on Betty Halbreich's book! XO, Jill