— ExtraTV (@extratv) January 20, 2021
Our String of Pearls on Inauguration Day
This morning, I felt a chilly string of pearls slide across my neck.
I put on my best dress, letting my hair fall from a bun into waves. I looked in the mirror at myself and grinned.
It was Inauguration Day. But it was also so much more than that.
“Every lady should have a string of pearls.” That’s what my mother told me after gifting me with my first string of pearls when I turned 18. I feel the pearls at my neck.
Northwest of me in Seattle, my little sister is wearing a string of pearls beneath her Grunden’s bibs as she throws, cuts, and guts fish for customers at Pike Place Fish Market. Her hands may be covered in scales and her clothes strong with the scent of the ocean, but she, like me, is a lady. She is the first woman in 10 years to work in this fish market amongst a team of men and she sings like an angel.
My mother, her pearls tucked beneath her curly mane and the warmth of her blue and white scarf stitched like China dishware. They’re visible at her neck letting people know, she too, is a lady. She leads a team of people toward bettering the lives of families and children in her small county and has gained the love of her community. She can’t go anywhere in town without someone stopping to say “hello” or embrace her.
These are just a few of my model women. Among many other women who inspire me toward greatness.
Who would’ve known that pearls, my pearls, any string of pearls would have such a strong significance today?
On Facebook, there’s a group full of mostly women, and some men, who talked about wearing pearls on this day to show their support and excitement.
A lady asked which string of pearls she should wear today, posting three images showing varying strings of pearls. I commented telling her to wear a different one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This would be a special day and we should all treat it as such.
After getting ready, I sat down at my desk, doing my work until I had a free moment to watch our president and vice president be sworn in.
Watching President Biden take his oath was an overwhelming relief on its own. Seeing the error of four years finally gone, and a new hope arise was a welcome breath being inhaled. I felt my throat expand and the coolness of my cool, creamy pearls tighten at my neck with each inhale.
But what led me to tears that flooded for what seemed like hours, was the first female, Black, and South Asian woman taking the seat as the first female vice president of the United States.
Madam Vice President Kamala Harris. Our first ever Lady as Vice President.
The Inauguration had been over for hours, and still, I was crying new kinds of joy at this current and deserved reality.
Women from our past fought for us to see days like this one. To see the youngest Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman speak with a moving passion to welcome this new era. To see Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, who has faced similar obstacles, administer the oath.
I, like many across the nation, get to see these ladies rise to towering heights such as these in our lifetime. We get to be a part of this beautiful, moving, moment in history. A thought only fathomed by those who have long passed.
As Kamala Harris took her steps to be sworn in, donning a deep royal shade of purple, her pearls sparkled in the D.C. daylight. I wept, trying to identify these emotions. The sudden strength and empowerment I felt fused with sensations of relief and gratitude.
And I, like Kamala, wore such glittering pearls along with my mother, sister, and thousands of other women everywhere. It’s a symbol of women who work through sweat, tears, obstacles, and barriers, persistent in making their lives into something powerful and meaningful. Yet, still doing so with such humble grace.
This is an ineffable, profound honor. To be present in this time, to see her story being made. To see yet another lady show the world what women everywhere can and will do.
To be just a single shiny pearl, on a string of many other stunning pearls, making impacts on this nation and the world.