The handbag

As I have mentioned before, I do struggle with a bit of shopping addiction or what I phrase as “compulsive love for acquiring new things”. Thank God that I chose a profession that is able to finance this unfortunate habit or I would have been bankrupt by now. A week before I found the ill-fated lump in my axilla, I was online browsing hand bags on Macy’s website. There was but of course a sale. Now who passes up a good sale? And  there it was in rich blue, leathery and soft, a bag I so wanted.It seemed like a gift from the heavens, the object of my desire and for sure other women’s envy.

I looked at the price and fought mentally with the image of my closet and the other bags that hang in there. I appealed to the humane side of my self and asked do I really need this when there is so much poverty, so much need. The defiant part of me chimed in, “but you have earned it”, “you worked hard to get to where you are and you can afford it”. The rational mind tried to engage me,” you dont even have room to keep it, how does having this bag will make you happy or a better person”. Of course it wouldn’t but its so beautiful. The consumer inside me won since it appealed to my grandiosity and I hastily clicked the “submit order” button. The decision had been made.

Two days later I found the lump in my arm pit, realities of life took up all my mental space. There was no room left for anything else. Biopsies, imaging, tests and appointments. Getting “worked up” was the order of the day.
Life had suddenly re-framed for me what I really wanted and what I thought I really wanted. Now I wanted to be well. I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be disease free. What I wanted now wasn’t available at Macy’s or any other place.

Sadness, grief , disappointment came in waves crashing into me and returning with more ferocity.

A week later, a box arrived in the mail with a characteristic red star on it, I knew what was in there. I tossed it in a corner of the living room. It sat there for weeks until one day my housekeeper asked me, “What’s in it?””Its a hand bag” I said.The handbag that was supposed to make me happy, the handbag I so wanted, the handbag I so needed. Such is life…..

I occasionally carry that bag when I really need to remind myself what is important in life and when someone remarks how beautiful the bag is , I count the lessons I have learnt in the last year.


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