"A symbol of my new marriage to myself and my soul, it is a commitment to me, a token of my strength, my horses and my home state. It’s my past, my present and my now hopeful future."
On a particularly dark day in the beginning stages of my divorce, I blindly surfed
Etsy in a bit of a daze looking for a ring to make my finger feel less naked. I had become accustomed to feeling the weight of my wedding band and engagement ring gently wrap my finger. I searched “gold ring”, “horse ring”, “power ring” then finally angrily typed “divorce ring”. The North Star of Cynthia’s ring was the first listing with a horse engraved on the inside. Divine intervention of the universe!
Tucker “Zips Just kidn” is my American Quarter Horse. He is a 12-year-old dark bay gelding and the most incredibly graceful/powerful beast. Tucker is feisty, fiery, gentle, loving, powerful, resilient and confident. When you look into his giant dark eyes you really do feel his soul. When I stand in my very dark black pasture at night to look at the stars, he silently appears without making a sound. There is something incredible about such a massive animal silently appearing out of the darkness with a presence indescribable by words.
Cecelia is my smaller wilder mixed breed with an entirely unknown history. We found each other in June of 2018, which was shortly after my husband moved out. When we met, she was a fearful scared horse; we made eye contact and understood we needed each other, as I was equally terrified by my entire chaotic existence. Tucker is our fearless powerful rock. Through him, Cecelia and I have grown together and worked through our healing.
Designing My Divorce Ring
Cynthia’s story is very different from my own; I do not have children and our divorces were different. However, her ability to survive, find strength and thrive gave me immediate inspiration. She is a beautiful woman and her son is quite clearly a beacon in her life. She described her son saying that “In life, a north star comes in different shapes, sizes, and even forms, but regardless, it stands with you and lights the dark sky, showing you the way, and my north star does just that”. In the description of Cynthia's custom ring it also describes that “the horse was intentionally engraved inside...so that Cynthia can always remember her strength and story, but in a way that is known to her alone.”
In my ring I wanted Tucker and Cecelia engraved on the outside since they are a physical presence in my daily life. I wake up to them looking in my bedroom window, they watch me cooking from my kitchen window and they meet me at my gate when I come home from work. Saddling Tucker is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. Tucker is unfazed by my physical body and LOVES riding. He genuinely enjoys carrying me and bonds deeper with me through every ride. This takes on a whole new meaning now that I have experienced days in which carrying myself felt too heavy.
I moved to Texas in 2010 by myself from Anchorage, AK (my home town where my family still lives). In the Alaska flag song we sing:
Eight stars of gold on a field of blue, Alaska's flag, may it mean to you, The blue of the sea, the evening sky, The mountain lakes and the flowers nearby, The gold of the early sourdough's dreams, The precious gold of the hills and streams,The brilliant stars in the northern sky, The "Bear," the "Dipper," and shining high, The great North Star with its steady light, O'er land and sea a beacon bright, Alaska's flag to Alaskans dear, The simple flag of a last frontier.
I chose gold for my ring for my home state, where the gold rush built the early days of Alaska. People left their own home towns from all over the country to seek gold. I didn’t move to Texas for “gold” per se, but I did want a homestead and a small farm, a feat I have now accomplished.
I chose a black diamond over the traditional white for my North Star as I wanted to always remember how dark and alone I have felt, but how the light has always crept back in. It’s part of me and the entirely new identity I am finding.
The final but very important detail is the hand engraved brand inside of my ring. My brand registers my horses under my name with the state of Texas. It is freeze branded on them, it keeps them protected and traceable in the event we are separated. It’s a very personal and powerful symbol, being a kind heart with “RFZ” for Rebecca Frances Zacher, my full birth name in the center. This brand is on my farm truck, my fencing and now my ring.
How Divorce Changes You
No one can ever warn you what your grief will feel like or how long it will take you to heal. You will also encounter judgement and hurtful words even from unexpected directions. Your friendships will change, your whole everything will change. I've personally experienced all the stages of grief in what I call “The Divorce Rollercoaster”. I've cried (sobbed), screamed, drank, walled off, begged, lost hope, pretended none of it was real, felt energetic and hopeful, then cried, gave up, painted my house, started exercising again and wearing makeup right back to anger and so on (rinse and repeat). Messy. I feel as if my husband died, but that who I was before he ever came into my life preceded his "death".
"I didn’t marry my husband to get divorced, I didn’t purchase our home to live in it alone, I never built our small ranch to homestead it alone, I didn’t take his name to have to figure out how to reclaim my own. If anyone had warned me someday I would be 30, divorced and living in Texas with two horses, I'd have laughed and said, “Well at least I have horses."
Quite honestly I am 30 and divorced BUT I do have horses, BEAUTIFUL horses. I have a pack of rescue dogs and cats along with a small flock of chickens and a very entertaining turkey named Walter. I have a lovely brick home on a solid foundation and a small but cozy ranch that I am homesteading not “alone”, but on my own. The light keeps coming back in little by little every day.
This brings me to Stacey - her kindness, her open heart, her story and her artistic ability. I’ve never met her in person, but I will forever feel like our souls know each other. Her story is inspirational; she is a survivor, a free spirit, a fierce mother and now a full-time business owner. “I am woman, hear me roar”.
Stacey is a healer and an incredible artist. This project has been deeply healing and close to my heart. Building my version of Cynthia’s ring with her is a symbol of my new marriage to myself and my soul, it is a commitment to me, a token of my strength, my horses and my home state. It’s my past, my present and my now hopeful future.