Author, speaker, and teacher, Rosie Molinary, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, she teaches body image at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and facilitates transformative workshops and retreats for women. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
“You should get it,” my husband said me.
I shook my head no. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of buying something so impractical at that price.
“I can’t,” I told him. “I just can’t spend that money on it.”
It was a handcrafted artisan bag, crafted out of silk and dark denim with embroidered tropical birds and flowers that flirted with me in a small boutique in my native Puerto Rico years ago. It sounds awful. I swear it’s not. The price tag, however, was another story. It was a couple hundred dollars. I don’t spend a couple hundred dollars on an outfit so I certainly couldn’t spend it on a bag. I left the store.
Later, my husband went back.
“You never get excited about anything,” he explained when he gave me the bag. “I just wanted you to have it since you liked it so much.”
In my hands, the bag felt like pressure, kryptonite. Now, I owned this beautiful piece, and it was my job to keep it beautiful. Me, who looks down half-way through the day and can tell from the stains on my clothes what color pen I was using, what I had for lunch, and what color lipstick whoever I hugged was wearing.
I smiled and thanked my husband profusely and then carried the bag gingerly back to our hotel room.
“Don’t ruin it,” I told myself. Miraculously, I carried it onto the plane (I couldn’t bear the idea of crushing it in my luggage) and off again without anything landing on the silk. Back home, I slide it back into its protective sleeve and then I shelved it. Where it has remained ever since except for one brave day in 2007 when I took it out for about an hour and then panicked and returned home with it, relieved that it had survived an hour out of the house.
I am as far from a helicopter parent as it comes, and, yet, I am a helicopter bag owner. I live in so much fear of what could happen to this bag that nothing happens to it. No one even sees it. It’s almost a sketch from theater of the absurd happening live in my own house. And the thing is I know I am not alone.
How many of us have that prized possession that we covet so much that we just can’t bear to enjoy it because enjoying it just might shorten its lifespan? And, yet, the possession itself says so much about us or brings us so much joy that we’re denying ourselves a bit of pleasure with our resistance to it. Maybe it is our father’s watch, our mother’s wrap, our grandmother’s cameo. Maybe it’s a beautiful piece of clothing we bought on vacation or a gift of jewelry that seems irreplaceable if it were to be lost. Maybe it’s something you bought for a special occasion and, yet, the occasion special enough for it has never come. Let’s make an effort to delight rather than to deny. Rather than living in fear that we will ruin something, let’s enjoy what we have.