Losing an earring and finding something better

Our coordinator, Michelle, recounts a recent experience where a mishap led to something unexpected.

By Michelle Wright.

Recently, I was one of the speakers at a Transgender Identity Awareness training session for National Health Service (NHS) psychologists in Scotland’s Fife region. My role was to speak from my own life about the lived experience of trans people. 

 
At the end of the session, the hall became empty rather quickly and I found myself one of the last to put on their coat. As I pulled my scarf around my neck I felt it – a small tug to my right earlobe and then a release. One of my earrings had departed for its own kind of freedom. My hand felt for where it should be but only confirmed that it had gone. It was one of a lovely pair of half moon hoops. As an automatic reaction to this small crisis, my eyes started to scan the floor. 
Just then one of the hosts of the event, I’ll call her Eveline, and another lady were leaving together. At the exit door they shouted their goodbyes: “Bye Michelle.” 
 
Our eyes met and in reply all that came out was, “I have lost an earring.” 
 
I recall the sound of my voice – the mixture of desperation and disappointment wrapped into a cry for help, a kind of strangled feminine panic. Both ladies turned on their heels and came towards me. They started scanning the floor as I was. Without further communication we fanned out as group and covered the whole area. 
 
“What color is it?” 
 
“Is it valuable?” 
 
“Have you checked if it’s stuck to your clothes?” 
“Leave your name at reception in case it’s found later.”
Eventually I had to admit that it was not going to be found. It was probably lodged in some hidden spot laughing at our search efforts. For sure it was going to remain free. I said my thanks and we all made our way out of the hall. Small hand waves and we were all gone. 
Back in my car, it struck me just what had happened. I had just experienced that elusive thing that all in the trans community look for. My unexpected earring loss had brought me together with my gender peers in a common feminine mission; something all cis women will have lived through at some point or other – the loss of a treasured piece of jewelry and three women bonding together at a higher level of understanding. 
 
I lost an earring, and found something priceless – acceptance.”

 

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