My New Symbolic Bag

HPIM1923So it’s been three months now that I’ve been chew/spit free. Hurrah!

And while my split decision to buy a new bag this weekend wasn’t originally intended as a gift to myself for overcoming my battles (rather, it was a total impulse purchase of a bag I fell in love with at the Coach outlet) … I’m using that as my reasoning for the bag now, however illogical it may sound to anyone but me.

I sort of have a shopping problem.

I’m the first to admit it, and I wish I wasn’t so impulsive sometimes. Believe it or not, I’ve been getting much better about it; therapy helped me work on recogizing instant gratification and more often than not, it’s helped curbed one of my favorite past-times.

But sometimes, I just go for it, knowing full-well I could have put the money into savings or could have used it for something else … but just want instant gratification and give in to my little girl ” I want, I want” mode. (Hey, at least I recognize it now)!

Sometimes, I don’t want to wait, or it’s a really good sale I don’t want to pass up, or I won’t be back at this store again (Clearly, I’m a marketer’s dream …).

So now instead of food being the only plague I am dealing with, I sometimes translate the ugly habit of over-doing it with spending.

But here’s the thing. For all my love of designer jeans (the only thing I really am ok with spending money on; I call them my “investment jeans”) I’ve never, ever had an “investment bag.” Sure, I’ve wanted one, but have never sprung for one.

Instead, I always just buy two or three bags a year at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or the Nine West outlet, basically buying what would be the equivalent of one really nice bag which I’d have for years and years.

I’m almost thirty, I’m a working woman with a business on the side (however unfruitful Lia Sophia is for me at the moment — no shows lined up — anyone interested?!), and thought it was high time to at least look for a nice one.

Well, “look” naturally turned into “buy.” For anyone that knows me in real life, you’re probably not surprised by this, but I honestly went in just to look.

At the Coach outlet, I found a gorgeous bag on clearance and it just had to be mine. It reminded me of the fabulous cognac-colored leather bag I got in Florence in 2005 (when hubby and I got engaged), except because this one is much bigger, it’s more practical.

Truth be told, I wish I could sound virtuous and tell you I’d saved up for it intending to buy it (that would make my purchase look a lot better!) … but I didn’t.

It was purely an impulse buy — but doable, now that I’m not wasting $X a week on food I’m not digesting, I’d say this bag pays for itself.

And I don’t regret it for a second, because of how I’m choosing to reframe the purchase in my mind: from “impulse buy” to a “gift to myself.”

(Note: I do realize we’re in a recession, that the money could have been donated to charity, or I could have used it doing something nice for someone else, or put it into savings, or anything else, but that’s neither here nor there in this case today).

After we left the store, I got to thinking of what the buttery, cognac-colored leather bag symbolized to me … unlike my other bags, it’s sturdy, not the hobo-types I’ve been using for the last few seasons.

(Symbolism: I feel sturdier in myself and my DE behaviors now; I’ve nixed c/s and I’m making mucho headway in every other area).

It has various compartments that I know I’ll get use out of, and the color goes with everything.

(Symbolism: a place for everything that belongs; it can be toted with everything — DE doesn’t belong in my life; it goes with nothing).

And while it certainly wasn’t a fortune, it was more than I’d typically spend on a bag — but it was worth it to me … in the moment, and afterwards.

(Symbolism: I’m making an investment into my health now, too — it’s worth it; today and onward).

As I told my husband in the car on our drive back, this is the kind of bag I’ll have forever, and I really mean it. Aside from being a nice bag that ought to last, it’s symbolic to me, as well.

Every time I look at this bag, this material object, I hope to be reminded of how far I’ve come and what I absolutely, certainly don’t want to resort back to. I will care for it, love it … just like I’m trying to do with my own body each and every day.

As in the same way I treasure my little blue stuffed octopus (Octy) my dad gave me the day I was born, I will treasure this grown-up purchase that means so much more than the actual object itself.

How about you? Have you ever bought yourself a gift for accomplishing something/achieving something?

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12 thoughts on “My New Symbolic Bag

  1. Congrats to you! You totally deserve that bag. I splurge on jeans, too 😉 I’ve never really thought to do anything like that as a reward, but I am sure I have done is unconsciously. Three months is awesome.

  2. Awesome bag! I definitely splurge on some big item once in awhile but ONLY if I truly want it and it’s for a special reason otherwise it wouldn’t be as special if I buy everything I see. Rock the bag girl!

  3. DEF better to have spent your money on a bag instead of on food that you just would have spat out!!!!

    also, just wanted to say, I don’t think your shopping habits are anything abnormal – so many women I know (myself included) shop the way you described!

    I go through about a month cycle. I can refrain from buying anything for about 3 weeks and then I will have 2 or 3 days of getting a few new items (and every season I go a little heavy on the spending).

    I too just bought a new leather bag – it’s buttery and delicious!

  4. You deserve it! I love bags and have a few “investment” bags so maybe I am not the best judge 🙂 Jeans and bags are definitely my most expensive clothing purchases. I don’t think you should ever apologize for buying something you really wanted. Not like bills will go unpaid as a result. I have also made some big purchases to “commemorate” or celebrate something and usually go for something lasting like bags or jewelery.
    3 months c/s free is awesome!

  5. Thanks, ladies!! And thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone! And that’s true — it’s not like bills aren’t being paid or something for the bag 🙂

  6. seriously. congrats! i know it must have been really hard (i’ve been through c/s periods as well)

    and i’m SUCH a shopaholic. whenever ED comes to visit, instead of taking solace in food, i shop. like crazy. (and usually impulsively.)

    and yes, i’ve gotten a few items telling myself that it’s for winning X-award, etc. but if you do something that’s good enough to deserve some sort of honor (or a great sense of personal acheivement, in your case), i think you deserve to buy yourself something nice for your trouble.

    that’s how i see it anyway.

  7. I had my eye on that very same bag for quite a while – am so jealous you found it at an outlet center!! And you totally deserve a reward!!

    – Yasmin

  8. thanks! 🙂

    Really Yas? Too funny! Great minds think alike 🙂 I stopped at the matching wallet but I’m meeting Dana for outlet shopping in two weeks and there’s a Coach outlet so … !! ;0) We’ll see!

  9. Same idea, actually, but Kate Spade. I’m a working woman who meets with clients, I’m nearly 30, and I had a cheapish samsonite tote that looked floppy and unprofessional (symbolism: I didn’t feel like I was a real “career woman”-I was a fraud). This weekend, after a great review at work earlier in the week, I realized I’m not a fraud. So I went out and bought myself a sleek, professional looking bag that I’m proud to carry. I look at it and I see what I aspire to see myself as, if that makes sense.

  10. You SO deserve that bag! I’m way jealous – I need a good purse. 🙂

    What you said about how the bag has pretty much paid for itself because you aren’t throwing money away on food, that really hit home. I think about all the money down the toilet (literally, at times – not to be crude!) I’ve spent on food…and this really inspires me to focus on a goal and treat myself to something.

    I love that you’ll always have it as a reminder of what YOU have accomplished. Just think…maybe you can get a new collection of purses?!

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