Yesterday, the day I bought a $500 handbag, I said these words, As of today, I’m officially done with shitty stuff. Up until that moment, I’d been carrying my wallet, notebook, pencil case, lipstick and keys around in a tattered tote bag from a conference I went to earlier in the year. Sure, the tote has a Beyonce quote on the side, but also: a small tear at the seam from going through the wash.
Picture it: a wrinkled canvas tote bag. In other words, straight-up super-shitty stuff.
Those days are over.
That end has been coming for a while. I've been immersed all year in a different sort of environment for me, quite deliberately, through the Mastermind group I'm in. This year I've paid up to have the VIP experience. I've flown First Class. I've hired a private car to the airport. I've availed myself of the services of a personal stylist. I have loved every moment of those experiences: the feeling of them. And I've resisted making them too much a part of my day-to-day, reserving all that goodness for special occasions. Travel. Big life events.
Lately, though, the contrast has become too sharp for me. We were in a restaurant near our house a few weeks ago, and I was so rankled by the poor service, that I realized I'd rather be home, eating something, almost anything, of my own making, than find myself instead the object of so very little caring. I actually felt bad being in a place where the servers so clearly didn't give a shit, where there was no concerted, observable effort to create a good, fun, delicious experience for the diners, that I started to question why I put myself in those situations. Do I think I don't deserve more than that, better than that?
I tell you what: I'll never go to that place again.
Because I'm officially done with shitty stuff.
These VIP experiences I've had this year have been putting increasing strain on all of my "regular" experiences and interactions, by shining a light. Now that I really know what's possible, that I've let myself have a taste of what's possible -- great service, genial professional assistance, excellent quality products -- it's harder and harder to settle for everything else, anything less. Everything else that wasn't a big deal for me before. Because I had this idea that I didn't care. I had this idea that it was beneath me to give a shit, to pay more, to focus on the material.
But that was just so much bullshit.
Nice stuff is, well, NICE.
That's part of the reason why I was carrying around that sorry-ass tote. I do have purses at home, but nothing that I love. A few months ago I picked up a second-hand bag for a song, but stopped using it. Too big, not quite right, too many tassels. Bags are, like boots for me, a perennial obsession. I just never seem to have one that suits me, that I really and truly love. It's two-fold: I don't ever see something that I wholeheartedly love and even so, I resist spending the money. So I end up with a whole bunch of shitty stuff that I don’t actually like and can’t commit to. And then, because I want to not care, I throw my stuff into the first tattered tote bag I can find, and off I go.
Things change. Sometimes imperceptibly, and then BAM.
Yesterday, though, I was coming off my second experience of working with a personal stylist at Nordstrom. On the heels of one super-efficient hour of playing with dresses and color and possibility, I was smiling to myself as I made my way out of the store, knowing I'd just locked down the perfect look for my upcoming Mother of the Groom gig. I breezed past make-up, not interested enough to stop and look at MAC colors, content. I kept walking and found myself in handbags where, on a table, was the bag I fell in love with. Right size. Right color (not black in other words). Gorgeous smell of leather. Gorgeous.
I dug around inside the bag, looking for the price. Couldn't find it. I took the bag to the register to asked the good woman working there to check on it for me. She said the number, and I didn't talk myself out of it. It was love. I just said Yes. Let's Do This. Yes.
I'm about beautiful.
Now when I look at this bag -- it's sitting on my desk -- when I handle it, when I smell its fine leather-smell, I realize how for so long in my life I was doing it wrong. I had this backwards idea: that I didn't want a nice handbag because I didn't need my value shored up somehow by a status item. But that's not it at all. When I look at this gorgeous buttery-soft sweet-smelling Chloe handbag, I think, instead: that's what I'm like -- fine, quality, enduring, gorgeous. I see an externalization of everything awesome about me, like the purse on my arm is telegraphing to everyone around me: lookee here, here comes some fabulous.
I want to feel good about the things I own. I want them, like this handbag, to reflect what I care about, what I love, what I value: beautiful things made well. Beautiful things.
And just like that, I feel I've turned a significant corner. I feel clearer. I look at my handbag, and love it, and I am sure: totally done with shitty stuff. Bring on the beautiful.