[Or, "USE MORE."]
I couldn’t afford this when I bought it. But I bought it anyway. And as it turns out, I’m a Gucci-lover’s worst nightmare.
This, the only luxury product I own, has been repeatedly dropped in parking lots, dumped indiscriminately onto soiled surfaces, spilled on, stepped on, and once, it was drunkenly thrown off a 4th floor balcony, where it hit somebody’s head before falling into the street below.
It’s tattered, stained, dingy, and unraveling.
And I love it.
A “Better Woman” with pearls and a coral pencil skirt might be horrified if I removed this beast from my purse to purchase a fancy coffee. Maybe she’d burst into laughter at the expense of the irresponsible 28-year-old child standing in front of her with no socks on and shorts with a grass stain on the side and smeared hangover eyeliner that makes her look like a crazed raccoon. Maybe she’d think that I’ve desecrated an item that was too good for me to begin with.
But, hold on.
Isn’t the reason I made this completely luxurious and ridiculously unnecessary purchase so that I could use it?
The idea that I’ve somehow wasted upwards some 400-something dollars by pushing this piece of leather and fabric to its physical limit seems… not like a waste at all.
This tank of a pocketbook came with me everywhere I went for 7 solid years. It was with me through 9 apartments, 4 cities, 2 continents, and about a hundred thousand cruddy bar bathrooms (rough estimate). I loved this thing hard, and it loved me back.
And when it finally came time to retire its number, I felt satisfied that I squeezed every ounce of usableness from its dapper leather soul.
Still, I get caught up in the stuff-worship cycle. My iPhone screen was exposed to Earth air for approximately 15 seconds before I suffocated it in a screen-like protective sleeve. I hesitate before cracking the spine of a brand new book, or before setting a pen down on the blank pages of a freshly purchased notebook.
But then, I think about my little Gucci wallet, or my favorite book, all tattered and torn, or those awesome lived-in designer jeans I got purple paint all over, and I know that there’s nothing more satisfying than bringing an item into your life and loving it beyond recognition.
Our instinct is often to hoard the new. To keep that new car smell or to keep the pages of a brand new book un-dogeared.
To save our best ideas for a rainy day, for when we’re older, for when we’re ready.
But if my best stuff never sees the light of day, does it even exist in the world outside my head at all? Did I even get to use it? Or enjoy it? Or live it? If my best idea never gets executed, is it even mine to own?
When I was 8, I had this idea that I thought would make me famous. I was convinced that people would eat this idea up, be moved to tears, and then, I’d be famous like Connie Chung and I would buy the most amazing pog collection in the world.
And 20 years have now gone by, and my idea’s been done and done well, without me ever speaking a word of it to anybody.
I’m determined to never let a good idea go to waste anymore. Never to let something I invested time, money, or effort into sit on a shelf, hidden from the world.
So, take the plastic wrap off the remote control, pull the tags off that swanky new outfit, and hit the publish button on your new website — then, use these things to their maximum useableness. Until you can’t possibly squeeze a single more day, a single more use, a single more iteration out of it.
Wear the stains, the failed attempts, and the broken pieces as a badge of honor. A tribute to where you’ve been, how hard you’ve lived, and where you’re going next.
But for fuck’s sake, leave the screen protector on your iPhone — I’ve seen one of those things protect a screen from the teeth of a snowplow.