All my life, I dreamed that one day I would own a Louis Vuitton bag. In this fantasy, I would, of course, be wildly successful, walk into a fancy store with gold walls and pick out the one I loved most. In fact, I dare say I equated success with the very ability to buy said Louis bag.
And this is what I learned I wanted as a girl. Reinforced by women more sophisticated than I, they had to know what they were talking about right? I would watch women with designer logos draped across their shoulders and think, this is what I want. Growing up watching Sex & The City, I was absolutely in awe of Carrie’s shoe closet and her confidence to wander into a store and buy some Jimmy Choos on any given day.
Then, my godmother came along for a visit. She had just treated herself to the most gorgeous Louis, personalized and monogrammed and all. It was hers. And she deserved one.
Days later, this very same godmother, after having watched me admire the bag, and after me having done something nice for her, decided out of the blue that she was going to buy me one. WHAT?
And just like that, a glorious package was shipped to my door with a bow on it. It arrived in an ever so elegant box, and I must admit, I felt like a goddamn princess opening it up.
And that was it.
This, easily a $2500 bag, how much was it really worth? Online, I’m told it costs the manufacturers a hundred or so to make, nothing more. But how many girls like me have determined that their value in this life would be their ability to get one?
The sad thing about material items is that the magic of it fades from the moment it is in your hands. It was only ever special because I didn’t have one, and now I did. With one just given to me, the allure of the object itself faded.
I know now that this realization was actually the gift. My godmother, who is truly a saint and one of the most selfless people I know, has given me the veil of materialism lifted. While I knew this already conceptually, I now felt the reality of it, as something beyond my means still dwindled. It’s just a bag and the essence of you is exactly the same with one in your hands, as you are with one out of your hands.
It is not success. And Carrie was almost always maxed out on credit cards to maintain the illusion that is was.
My goal now is not to buy one for myself, but to buy one to gift to someone else, just like my godmother did. So that they can see that it is not everything. That they were already everything without it.
My goal now is to contribute something beautiful to the world, that is more valuable when it is in your hands than when it isn’t. Or maybe it will be something that can never be in your hands at all. But something that will connect you deeper to the part of yourself that will always and forever be beyond the material world.
I still love the bag. But it is special because of how, why and who gave it to me. And I am not special because I have one.