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Strength In Vulnerability

Strength In Vulnerability

Susan Henderson

We get such joy in creating stylish and meaningful sterling silver jewelry that celebrates life and loved ones. Our job gives us front-row seats to so many personal stories. Every once and a while, a story stops us in our tracks.

Marianne was one of those stories.

When the stunning heavy, sterling silver bar pendant arrived, I was searching for the right name for something so solid (it is my favourite Suetables to date). I stamped all four sides. It felt like a talisman.

I was on Facebook and found myself clicking on a blog link by an old friend, Marianne. It was about her journey and her fourth round of cancer since she was 18. Her story about what defines her (and what does not), hit me.

I didn’t just have to name this pendant after her. I had to stamp it with her words and send it to her - even though we had barely seen each other in years.

Marianne is a woman who wears heals to chemo because, “my shoes kicked chemo’s ass...and they were the best thing in the hospital that day.”

Marianne is a woman that names her fears. She says, “I am choosing a different way not just for this cancer fight, but from now on. Disarmed, vulnerable, exposed, honest.”

She is a woman that started 'Wig Out Wednesday' at work to make light of the fact she was losing her hair. Everyone wears a different wig.

So, I read her blog and selected four words that celebrated the spirit of her journey: honest, vulnerable, strong and brave. Here is the note Marianne sent us:

"The necklace is just beautiful and so perfect. I wear it everyday. And when I am recovering from chemo and mostly lying down, I hold it in my hand, and I look at the words to help me get through the worst of it.

I'm headed for chemo number 4 on Wednesday (fingers crossed that my blood count has come up). And I'll be wearing the necklace because when I put my butt in the chemo chair, I take it off and hold it in my hand as they are pumping the drugs into me and it reminds me that no matter what is coming, no matter how hard it will be, that I am honest, vulnerable, strong and brave enough to make it through. So grateful to you." xo Marianne

Marianne's blogs are piercingly brave and honest. Here a quote from her blog:

"I have always hated that people have called me brave or courageous when they hear my “cancer story”. I have always pushed those words, that definition, away. To me there is nothing brave or courageous about having cancer. Honestly, if you could, you would give it away, you would give to almost anyone else to save yourself. No one chooses to get cancer. To me being brave or courageous was always about making a choice. You were brave if you chose to enlist to fight for your country in a war. You were courageous if you chose to stand up for something you believe in in the face of adversity. But brave to fight cancer? Nope. Never bought it. You don’t have a choice. If you did, you sure as hell would make a different one.

Here is what I will own. This time I am choosing the courage to be vulnerable instead of trying to make myself invulnerable.

So I am going to speak my truth. I am going to say out loud and to anyone who cares to listen what I am really feeling. I am going to be vulnerable. And I am completely okay with accepting that to be vulnerable I am going to have to be brave and courageous. And often uncomfortable.

Vulnerability is my only stake in the ground. It is the only way to be myself. It is the only way I can protect me, who I am, all of me. Flaws and strengths, weaknesses and abilities, assets and deficits. All of those things add up to me, to who I am and this time, cancer is not messing with that." For more:

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