real life

"There's a type of woman that wears big earrings. You know the one."

Listen to this story being read by Katie Stow, here. 

Last year, I went to lunch with a dear friend and sat out on a sunny patio. There was a woman who would glide around the patio in a long, colourful dress. I don’t know if she owned the place, but she certainly walked around it as though she did. She was stunning in a natural way that looked effortless.

I couldn’t stop watching her as she moved from table to table to talk to guests. There was something magnetic about her. She wore these big, gorgeous earrings.

My friend Rhonda noticed I had been watching her.

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“Do you know her?” my friend asked.

“No,” I told her. “But I admire her. I always wanted to be the kind of woman who wore big earrings.”

Rhonda looked at her and then looked at me and said, “You are.”


I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone into shops and lingered longer than I planned by the jewellery. Earrings always grab my attention. Big, bold, beautiful earrings. 

The kind that stand out and command attention and get noticed. It’s not because I like the idea of the attention they get. Actually, the attention is what I fear and what holds me back.

Simply, I love them. I find a strange joy in them. They’re full of life and carefree. They lift spirits. I’m inclined to believe that if they wanted to and we let them, they could move mountains.

I’ve never been the kind of woman who wears big earrings because, like so many other women, I was taught to be small.

I needed to fit into a box and being loud or drawing attention to myself was impolite or inappropriate. We should be seen and not heard. And, certainly, even our level of visibility shouldn't be loud. 

We just don’t do that. We are demure. We are understated. Our jewellery should comply with this.

I also feel very strongly about big, chunky bangle bracelets. The colourful ones women stack one on top of each other that clank together when they move. I’ve loved those too but I’ve never worn them because I thought the sound of the clanking bracelets would draw attention to me.

Never did it cross my mind that someone would look at me with those noisy bracelets and admire me for the brave, outspoken nature that allowed me the freedom to wear them.


Women have been made to believe that we must not give any indication of boldness because bravery in a woman makes others uncomfortable. Men often feel threatened. Bold women are distracting. They won’t sit in the corner, cross-legged, and wait.

I’m not just talking about men, though. I’m talking about the discomfort of women, too.

I like to think it’s not because other women are judging the kind of woman that saunters into a place like she owns it, but rather they feel a stirring inside them that recognises who they could be if they just let themselves go.

It’s difficult when we push part of ourselves so far down deep inside us and then that version of us walks into the room to meet us face to face.

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Ironically, I started making jewellery years ago. I got quite good at it and still have a functional studio in my home than now doubles as my writing studio. I did well selling my pieces until the drive to make money from it squashed the love of doing it.

I still have a wall full of jewellery. Big, bold statement pieces, mostly necklaces, in every colour imaginable. I had no problem making bold jewellery for other women to wear. I never made it or wore it for myself.


I could celebrate in other women what I couldn’t in me. I could encourage them to be this kind of woman while denying my own ability or willingness.

Women deserve to be comfortable in our skin and should be allowed the space to figure out how our exterior package is the best representation of what is inside us.

Rhonda was right. I am the kind of woman who wears big earrings. I’ve just held that woman close to my inner being and have been very careful with whom I’ve shared her. The older I get, the less concerned I am about how that inner woman is going to be judged.

I’ve grown proud of her. Inside me is a woman who is not afraid to be who she is, stand up for herself, love passionately, and utter truth when it needs to be spoken.

I’m tall. 175cm on a good day when life doesn’t hunch my shoulders over. I don’t doubt that I could pull off big earrings. I’ve denied myself a simple pleasure in life in order to please everyone but me. 

I’m done with that. It’s time to take that bold woman I know I am and buy her some god damn earrings.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission.

Feature Image: Getty.