Jun 5, 2011

[Technicolor Musings] The Rings Of My Life

The ring has become a practically universal symbol for commitment. The usual explanations revert back to how the circles are shapes with no beginning and no end, and thus they are a great representation of something that is eternal, immortal and basically just forever. Thus rings have been used to symbolize the permanence of unions between individuals, the strength of a commitment and other related concepts.

My Rings

It's Pride Month and we still live in a world where the LGBT community is unable to exercise the right to marriage in most parts of the world. While there are a variety of arguments for and against this, the net result is that we in the pink community are still presented with an interesting opportunity to create our own symbols and define our own pledges of commitment outside of some established ceremony.

For the most part, I suppose rings have played that role in my life to varying degrees. I've owned very few of them and some of them have been steeped in meaning while others were just circular bands of metal. The ring in itself of course holds no true meaning on its own. It's the context behind it that makes it all the more powerful, and thus significant.

So today's post is all about the collection of rings that I now have in my possession and what they've come to mean to me. If rings are not your thing per se, well, then just think of today's Technicolor Musings as a reflection on alternative symbols of commitment, at least until we come to that point when we're all free to marry whoever we love regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

The first ring I ever received was not from a romantic partner or anything like
that. In fact, it was a gift from my mother.

The One Ring (LOTR)

In December of 2001 I was walking around Podium with my Mom when we saw this baby in the display window - a rather highly detailed replica of the infamous One Ring from The Lord of the Rings. While now it obvious needs some major cleaning or even re-plating, this little beauty struck a definite chord in me when I saw it and I my heart went out to the thought of getting it. But I knew it was too expensive for my college allowance-based savings to manage and besides, it was one of the rare times that I had pined over something other than a Transformer.

But Mom decided to spoil me a bit that day and helped me get the One Ring including a little chain for it to hang around my neck. Regardless of the inevitable jokes comparing me to a hobbit, I was thrilled to have it. I guess it best represents my geeky nature until today - apart from the many Transformers figures that line our book shelves back home at the Sietch. I just need to make the time to get it all pretty and cleaned up again. It has been 10 years since the first LOTR movie after all!

The next ring that I ever received was this silver band from my ex-boyfriend. Yeah, that's a long and complicated story within a statement right there.

My Ex's Ring

Coincidentally, my first (and only other) relationship also started in 2001, although it wasn't until a few years later that I'd receive this ring from him. He had gone up to Baguio with his officemates for some sort of team-building excursion and I had been left behind in the city (a not so uncommon occurrence, which was pretty sucky in hindsight). But when he came back, he presented this ring to me.

Admittedly my heart had first leaped at the thought that my then-boyfriend was giving me a ring. But then he reminded me that it was just a ring and nothing as serious as something on the level of a wedding band or anything. So that sort of took the wind out of my sails for a bit, although I'd wear the ring pretty much everyone as a little reminder to myself. I even used to periodically check if the ring was there by tapping my thumb against it, just to feel it.

When that 7+ year relationship ended, I still wore the ring for a while out of habit and I guess some level of OCD comfort. In time I finally stopped but I still keep it there along with my watches and other accessories. It doesn't look as good now but I'll probably hold on to it instead of just throwing it away (as some would probably recommend). I don't regret the good times I shared with him and that's worth remembering. But it's also a reminder of some of the hurt too - a way to keep myself in check I guess and to make sure I do my best to make my current relationship as awesome as it can possibly be.

Fast forward to my current geeky relationship with Tobie, and it's been a pretty stellar trip since then. I've managed to achieve quite a number of personal goals with his help and even a few challenging hurdles.

Tobie's Class Ring

Tobie first surprised me in April 2009 with this particular ring. It's actually his DLSU class ring that he presented to me on the day that we officially became a couple. It was in the middle of O Bar Malate and I had jokingly asked when he was going to marry me. I never expected him to suddenly go down on one knee, pull off his class ring and hand it to me.

The ring remains too big for me to wear and so I wear it on a chain around my neck. I normally keep it on me under my work clothes as a gentle reminder of his commitment to me that day that I try to return as best as I can each and every day. It does make a weird bulge under my shirts though so it almost seems like a third nipple at times, LOL.

Our Pride Pendant

In December 2009 Tobie and I attended the Manila LGBT Pride March for the very first time. And I don't mean attending it as a couple for the first time. I mean it was our very first time to march even as individuals, period. I had always wanted to go but for one reason or another I'd end up not doing so and thus it was a pretty big deal for both us to finally march with the rest of the pink community.

At the end of the march proper while everyone was gathered around the state that had been set up on Orosa-Nakpil, Tobie and I chanced upon one of the stalls that had showed up to sell stuff at the event and saw these lovely pendants. While worn around the neck, at its core it's really a collection of rings in the colors of the rainbow, which you should know to be one of the stronger symbols of the LGBT pride movement. It was a little pricey but given the event and all that it represented, we went for it and got one for each of us.

This was the first item that we had purchased together to act as the symbol for many things. It commemorates our very first Pride March. It represents our own union as a couple. Heck, it even marks the day that we first got tested for HIV (and we are both happily negative). So the pendants tend to follow us along wherever we go - an open symbol of our LGBT nature and our pride in who we are.

Our Commitment Rings

Finally we come back to the present, or at least the present starting December 2010. It was after the Christmas holiday season and Tobie and I were back together after spending time with our respective families. We had decided to get some rather overdue haircuts while at Ali Mall and thankfully I finished first. So while he was preoccupied with the barber I swung over to Silverworks to finally address our not having proper rings. It had been a pretty eventful year and we had gotten past a number of challenges and I definitely felt that we were ready for another step forward in the relationship.

I had narrowed the list of possible rings and so when I picked up Tobie at the barber shop (as he was always suspicious of my absence), I brought him back to Silverworks to look at the rings I had felt were good matches for us. It took a bit of back and forth since Tobie wanted me to be sure that I felt truly "ready" for this, but of course I had (and still don't have) no doubts whatsoever. So we finally found the rings we needed and bought them on the spot and now we were them pretty much everywhere.

While there are no laws that support our saying that we're officially together as partners, I'd like to think that these rings perform that role for now. While the rest of the world continues to get to that point where everyone understands and accepts why same-sex marriage is important and valid, at the very least Tobie and I wear these rings as continued symbols of our commitment to one another.

Grimlock: Ring-Bearer

I hope all of you happily committed queers reading this post get to define your own symbols of commitment and unity as time goes on. Rings are a bit traditional, yes, but then we're still in a world of possibilities where we can pretty much make our own rules and create personal traditions of our own that are most meaningful to us, which is what matters.

Happy Pride to all you lovers out there! Be proud of the love that you share!


  1. Wha-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

    tee hee.
    I love you.

  2. Funny story:
    Previously, I was thinking what commitment emblem if in case J*** and I were ready to get into the relationship. Earrings were the first to come to mind. They're discreet for one and they're always made in pairs.
    When we were talking about our past relationships, he mentioned that his previous one already did the earrings.
    "Pakshet naman. Mag-iisip na naman ako.", was my reaction. We ended up laughing.

  3. Lanchie:
    It's always tricky when you're somewhat "competing" with past partners. If anything, I'll always say its best to focus on what works for the both of you here and now and not burden yourself with what has come before.