I was pretty much a dork.
At least that's what the kids called it when I was in school. Mine was a fate tainted by errant genetics and immature taste. My head was topped by a kinky mass of haystack blonde hair - or as I lovingly call it, "White Girl Afro." The hair was so bad that my grandmother used to ask my aunt in private why my mom gave me, "all those awful permanents."
My aunt reluctantly replied that a perm wasn't at fault for the freak of nature north of my forehead.
The second facet of that plague was my incessant interest in any clothing that completely deviated from the acceptable norms of junior high fashion sense circa 1990. Most girls in 8th grade were infatuated with those peg leg Guess? jeans with the little gold zippers on the ankles. I was infatuated with baggy, red checked Esprit pants. I suppose I got the brand right, but the material looked like it was ripped off a table at the neighborhood Kountry Kitchen.
Yeah, I wasn't quite a fashion plate back in the day.
But all that changed once I got out on my own and started earning my own money.
My first investment purchase was a $250 Coach purse I bought a month after I graduated from college. It's a beautiful, black leather bag that I still carry around all these years later. My mom thought I was insane at the time for spending so much money on a handbag. Why does a 22-year-old unemployed girl need such a nice purse? I can still hear it in my head today. But I look back on the day I bought that purse and I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt when spending my own hard earned money on something so beautiful. So luxurious. So rich.
I still carry that bag to job interviews, the theatre, social occasions, professional functions and the neighborhood bar - and it still looks great. So I guess the 250 dollar investment breaks down to almost 25 bucks a year when you consider how long I've carried the purse.
Well worth it, in my opinion, and way better than a bunch of cheapie handbags.
Ever since I graduated from college, I've had a firm resolve to buy nothing but the best. The best purses, the best shoes, the best jewelry - the best that money can buy - because I remember the bitter, second-rate feeling I endured in grade school.
Don't get me wrong. I'm the first to admit - clothes don't make the (wo)man. The same goes for expensive clothes. I am tickled when I find a pair of $150 shoes on sale for 40 bucks. I am equally happy when I find a quality made good, whether it be a shoe, a lamp or a bottle of wine, at the neighborhood Big Box Store.
But all these years later, I have a strong resolve - I am entitled to nothing but the best, because I've worked hard, I've waited long and I've suffered much to get to where I am today.