Adherents to religion find comfort in a variety of things. When life is at its most trying, they can pray to their God. They can find comfort in their respective religious symbols. Many Christians weara cross on their neck. When the going gets rough, they can find comfort in that token, for it reminds them that their God is ever-present, a loving Father who watches over His children. But what do agnostics and atheists have?

As an agnostic, I don’t have the luxury of turning to a God when I hit a rough patch in my life. When a priest gets lonely, he can always fill his heart with the glory and love of God Almighty. He can remind himself that he is serving Him, a most glorious and desirable pursuit. When I get lonely, I just feel the emptiness. I have nothing but the cold hard reality of my solitude.

Because I adhere to no particular system of faith, I am on my own when it comes to manufacturing coping mechanisms. I have no symbols to soothe my soul. I decided to find something that I could carry with me every day, something that I could look at or hold in order to fend off my oft mentioned feelings of loneliness. Part of the desire to create a token of personal meaning came from the concept of the totem from Inception: a private little something that grounds you in reality in times of uncertainty. I found it impractical to carry a little piece of lathed metal in my pocket all the time though, so I settled on a ring. Not only would it serve to fulfill my own personal spiritual needs, it would be a fashionable accessory, an addition to my increasingly distinct personal image.I didn’t want a metal ring like the ones that everyone else wears. I wanted something that spoke to me and says a little something about who I am. Though I first found metal rings with black inlays, I soon began to envision a wooden ring instead of a metal one. Wood to me represents life and growth, as opposed to the unchanging and undying nature of metals. Wood is also inherently unique: no two wooden rings can be the same on account of the wood grain. Besides, wood is more mysterious than a garishly flashy metal. Though my unique image inherently draws attention, I do not actively seek it. I felt metals would be inevitably eye catching due to its reflectiveness.Keeping in line with avoiding flash and other attention grabbing details, I knew I wanted a black ring. Upon searching for black rings, I discovered that one worn on the right middle finger is, or at least was at one point, a symbol of asexuality. Not only did I like the color black as it represented my serious nature (amongsta greatmany more things about me), it also happened to identify me as an asexual. However, considering that I am not entirely asexual, I thought that I’d have a little color in the lining of the ring. I wanted a deep red wood for the lining in order to symbolize the passion that lay beneath my surface. Having two colors would also serve to represent my duality.

I also realized that I’d want an inscription. My search for an appropriate word reminded me of an inscription I had on a business card holder I once had: nulla est veritas solas. I’m almost certain that the phrase is simple dog Latin, but it translates to, “there is no single truth”. Anyway, with a flippant penchant for Latin, I somehow found a word that resonated with me: singularis. Though it sounded a little too much like a part of a Harry Potter spell, it was a word that served to comfort me. Among the many different definitions I found on the Internet, it appeared that singularis meant “alone of its kind”. It carried an implication of being alone due to uniqueness: an elegant explanation for my loneliness and a comforting reminder that I need not fret over my solitude, for it is inherently lonely to be a statistical improbability.

Finally, I wanted to integrate black onyx into it. Not only would the black stone match the aesthetic of the ring without drawing too much attention to it, it had some (admittedly silly sounding) implications that I took comfort in: it is supposed to release and defend against negative emotions, as well as centering one’s spirit, amongst many other comforting things. It was a lot of baloney, I was sure, but when one is at one’s wit’s end, one will grasp at just about anything to keep from falling too far.

I could’ve gone to some store at the local mall to pick up a cheap little black ring, sure. But we’re talking about the type of man who doesn’t settle for mediocre. I’ve got to have the best. And so I set out looking for the best ring maker I could find. In time, I settled on finding someone on Etsy. After a consultation and what must’ve been eight weeks, I received my ring (the nice folks at Stout Woodworks took a photo for me before sending it out).

In any case, I admit that it’s a little silly to take any of that gemstone business seriously (I don’t). But when I’ve got nothing to turn to, well, this token of comfort just might serve to remind me of all the things that I know about myself, all of the things that define me. It will be my personal cross. If nothing else, it serves as a conversation piece and as personal statement, fashion rules be damned.