In my other life right now I have taken up Bedazzling. It starts when I fall asleep on the couch again, TV on, remote in hand. I wake to what I think is the voice of God commanding, “Go from dull to dazzling!”
My prayers have been answered! All those bits of sparkle! At last—a way for me to shine, AND it’s as easy as using a stapler! I fumble around in the dark for the phone and dial the toll-free number at the bottom of the TV screen. For once I am not going to worry the corner of my thumb cuticle with my index finger or nibble my lip in indecision. I am choosing the right path with clarity and certainty. My life WAS dull, completely devoid of sparkle and shine, and now it will glimmer like the light of Heaven! Yes! I tell the woman on the phone. Send the bonus pack of heart-shaped faux gems with my introductory package!
I wake to what I think is the voice of God commanding, “Go from dull to dazzling!”
Then I have to wait. To pass the time until the box containing my new life arrives, I get some press-on nails and I take up smoking.
Finally, it’s here! With a Virginia Slim dangling off my bottom lip, I tear into the box using a knife so as not to wreck my nails. Getting started is just like the God-man said on the commercial—it’s as easy as using a stapler!
But what to Bedazzle? I press a couple of studs right onto the shirt I’m wearing. Dull old thing. But not anymore—now, it’s fabulous! I grab my tote bag and zig-zag a row of gemstones across the shoulder strap. Done! At the mirror in the hallway, I turn this way and that, checking out my new duds. I like what I see and give myself a wink and a thumbs-up.
Next, I bedazzle a T-shirt using each color like a giant sunburst, the back of a denim jacket with the largest rhinestones in a peace sign, smiley faces on my jeans pockets. I bedazzle a scarf, a tank top, a couple of dish towels. I love the feeling of resistance, then penetration, as the tool’s tip punctures the fabric. It’s so . . . purposeful! Snap, push, and pop—transformation at my fingertips!
Snap, push, and pop—transformation at my fingertips!
Then I’m running low on studs and jewels and need to order more. While I wait, I give myself a perm. I get a cat and name him Razzle Dazzle.
As I get to work with the next shipment of supplies, I begin to feel like something inside me is shifting, like I had been trying and praying for answers, a way to have my life WORK somehow. Now I know I’ve found it. Because when I’m out and about in my Bedazzled clothes, people smile more. It’s like I’m feeding something in them that they didn’t even know was hungry. I am not alone here—people crave light—and when I’m all put together, it’s like a bit of luminescence from Above is shining down and reflected off all the faux jewels and out into the world, making it a better place.
Plus, the work itself is so satisfying! When I’m at it, I know that all I have to do in this moment is This. I’m not “Making Big Decisions” or “Trying to Figure it All Out” or “Recovering.” I just press down on my Bedazzler until it pops. Done. Now for the next stone, then the next. One stud at a time. Next thing you know, everything has changed. When I look up again, I see the big picture, that each one of those gems has become an integral part of something beautiful.
So, it’s how I’m getting through, I guess, but the funny thing is that I don’t even think of it as “getting through” anymore. It’s like, this is it, right here: I have Bedazzled my life. And I don’t just mean that all my clothes are sparkly now, but that I took all these small, focused steps.
Christine Simokaitis is a Pushcart-nominated prose writer whose work has appeared in anthologies and print and online journals including matchbook, FRiGG, and Calyx. She currently lives in Chicago and teaches composition and creative writing at Northeastern Illinois University.
Illustration by Meghan Murphy