Delight rather than deny

“You should get it,” BF 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 few hundred dollars.  I don’t spend a few hundred dollars on a few outfits so I certainly couldn’t spend it on one bag.  I left the store.

Later, BF 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 BF 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.

These days, I am making an effort to delight rather than to deny.  Rather than live in fear that I will ruin something, I am going to try to  enjoy what I have.  These past few years have been dark for many of us and full of plenty of deprivation.  While I certainly can’t go out and buy a fancy handbag anytime I want, I can certainly choose to enjoy what I have because surely dust is far worse for silk than fresh air.

How about you?  Do you have a case of denying yourself delight?  What do you want to delight in?  How can you begin?

Or, on the other hand, are you great at delighting? What are you most delighting in these days?

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3 responses to “Delight rather than deny”

  1. Heather Kelly

    Girl Please, you take that beautiful (and it is beautiful!) handbag and you march right out of the house and go wherever you were planning to go today. You deserve that lovely bag and it deserves to see the light of day, even if it is the florescent light of Costco. After my dad died I had a mental paradigm shift. These are my nice things that I worked hard for or was given by those who love me. I deserve to use them and they deserve to be used. Someone put a lot of love and work into creating that bag. Show it to the world. You can’t take it with you when you are gone!

  2. Cecile

    I’m quite good at enjoying material goods such as the “good dishes” on a normal day, the crystal glass from my grandma to keep makeup and so on.

    But for some months, I realized (thanks to Beautiful You) that I deprived myself of the pleasure of using my “little treasures”.

    Let me explain: I love to collect beautiful little somethings such as little pieces of fabric, or ribbons – things that anybody else would probably throw away. One day, I would use them to create a great artwork, yes a masterpiece. Too bad that I have no knowledge and experience so far. But one day, for sure… And in the meanwhile, I can’t allow myself to work with them. I would ruin them, for sure, as I don’t have experience….

    A vicious circle, based on my perfectionism. How can I ever learn if I don’t allow myself to “ruin” some material? Does it really matter if my first “masterpieces” aren’t perfectly perfect? What are handicrafts for, if not for enjoying the process?

    As so often, becoming aware of my struggles was all I needed to solve them. From time to time, when I try something new, I still find myself “braking” again – and I take a deep breath and jump in. I deserve to feel this joyce of creating!

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