Suit: H&M
Boots: Shoe Dazzle

I know I've been mentioning almost every day that I'm in the midst of a mission to shop my closet in order to make some room.  Initially, I purged casual dresses that I knew I wouldn't wear again because they were too short.  I am a firm believer that the quickest way to dress inappropriately for your age is to wear a skirt that is too short.  I'm equally a firm believer in the theory that this means the length can vary based upon the wearer.  I know some ladies in their fifties who can pull off the mid-thigh thing, but I, alas, no longer can.  After the initial euphoria at getting rid of five dresses wore off, I realized that I still had a long way to go, and I pondered what should come next.  As my eye was traveling around the closet, I spied all the bags lined up along the bottom which I very rarely use.  I started pulling them out, and immediately gave a black one to A who was complaining that her everyday bag is just too small for her now.  The next one I pulled out was this huge orange monstrosity.

Now this was a tougher sell because it has a lot of sentimental value.  I bought this bag for about $40 at a craft fair.  I was walking down the aisle of vendors, and it caught my eye, but I kept walking.  I went on a few booths before turning around and going back.  I asked the vendor, who had made all the bags in the stall himself, how much the bag cost.  When he told me $40, I know my face fell.  At the time, I was the working mother of a small child, and I hadn't spend $40 in one lump sum on myself for years.  Knowing by my face how much I wanted it, the vendor started listing all it's practical purposes.  "I made it to be a gym bag, but you could use it as an overnighter," he tried.  Since I never went anyplace overnight, this was not going to be the point that pushed me into a sale.  "I actually like really big handbags," I told him.  "I would use it for that, but it's a little pricey for me right now."  "I made it by hand," he replied.  "It's special."  And that's all it took.

But that's not why I'm sentimental about it.  That bag began to symbolize something for me.  I had been letting other people make decisions for me including things like what to do with my money, the money I earned at my job.  Buying that bag probably started the roughest but ultimately most rewarding period of my life.  Buying that bag caused one of the greatest fights of all times, but that fight made me realize that I was not happy with how I was living my life.  I did not wake up the next morning to magically have everything resolved; it took about nine years for me to get everything sorted out and settled, but ten years after buying this bag, I am a completely different person than the one who walked through the booths at that craft fair.  This bag somehow is an emblem of my freedom, of the control I took back of my life.  Whenever times got rough, I pulled out the bag.  It was soft and easy to carry around.  It held all that I could ever want to throw into it.  It's now rough around the edges, and the metal framing is showing through in spots.  It wears its war wounds well, showing that it and I survived the battles.  And you know what, I don't need it anymore.  It did its job.  I wish I could find that vendor to tell him that he was right.  That bag truly was special.

Linked to: Visible Monday

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