Untying the String

Today, after a little over a year, I took off the string that I had been wearing around my wrist. More precisely, the artist that gave me the string initially took it off. Her name is Amy Koenigbauer  and her work  focuses on vulnerability and interpersonal experience. She took off my string during her presentation today and I told her (and those present) what it meant to me. Here it is:

My left index fingernail is longer than usual. There is some blood in my fingernail. This is from a time I was with a friend of mine who I love. I love her without labels. Not, “I love you as a friend” or “I love you but…” I just love you. And to some degree, that’s like me telling her, “hurt me”.  My fingernail has blood in it because while the two of us were hanging out, my finger closed in a door. It hurt. But it was such a good night and she so special to me that I treasured my bloody fingernail for months. I called it my Rachel finger.

Whenever the proposal for meaning and connection arises, I want it. When Amy gave us pieces of string and told us that it was the distance between our head and our heart, I wanted it. I wanted the connection she was offering. I wanted to wear this connection.

I’m going to need to trim my fingernail at some point. And after a year, I need to take off this string. Not because I don’t need the connection, I just don’t need the string any more to feel it. I also need need to make room for new connections. I need my fingers closed in more doors. I love you. Hurt me.


“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face everyday are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly


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