August 5, 2013

Excess and Dust Covers

I think dust covers are to blame.

Well, more the need for dust covers. Or really the thought that we need dust covers.
I met a group of ladies who included me in their "Group" a few years ago. Later on, I was thrilled to learn I was upgraded to the "Core Group" which included only 7 of us. I deeply wanted to belong, to fit in, and continue to be accepted. What this caused me to do was assimilate and behave like the others in the group to continue to fit in. More and more of my individuality fell away as time went on.

"TINA! Oh my God! Don't do/say/act like that!"

This was often the admonishment I got from "D" for my outrageous comments.

"D" was the self imposed leader and authority on appropriate behavior, often criticizing the acts of each member, either privately with that member or to others in the group, to manipulate a particular outcome. "D" was also the quintessential victim, usually horrified by the terrible way someone would repay her friendship with betrayal. Of course to "D", betrayal came in the form of stepping out of the predetermined mold and bucking assimilation.

When "D" received her designer handbag as a gift from her place of employment as a reward for her long service, I was envious. I wanted a designer handbag so bad I ached inside. All of the other girls had designer sunglasses, handbags, shoes and clothing. Not an overwhelming amount, but they all had more than I did. I had nothing made by a designer, nor had I any shot at getting any. My husband was tight with money and very selfish. Couple that with the fact that he made very little and didn't want me to work full time, it left us pitifully broke all of the time. Designer items were simply out of reach for me, leaving me feeling unlike the other girls. I did so want to fit in, for fear of being rejected and removed from the "Core Group".

As time went on I finally did "disappoint and betray" our leader "D" and was shunned by many in the group. A few of my real friends stayed, making a point of coming to my home to let me know they weren't swayed by the pressure being put on them. It felt wonderful to have those few ladies stand by me, but the hurt from being dismissed so easily simply killed me. I still carry that hurt inside and it causes me to distrust others. I've made many, many wonderful friends since and I'm a much happier person now because of this incident, but I find that pain of rejection never really goes away.

After my divorce I started making my own money and bought many beautiful things for myself, including an expensive designer handbag. When it arrived I noticed it came with a dust cover and I reveled in the concept of this. I could have more than one beautiful, leather, designer handbag and keep them all just as pretty and fresh as new, stored safely in my closet when I wasn't using them. It seemed this is what I was supposed to do! Why would it come with a dust cover if it wasn't intended to be stored? Why not buy another?

I did the same with shoes, which also came with dust covers. Our tiny apartment in San Diego had a good sized closet that was filled to the ceiling with gorgeous shoes and handbags, lovely clothing, and trendy jewelry. Being a fan of fashion didn't help this wanton need for "MORE" stuff. I would stand in the closet and revel in my bounty, finally being the subject of envy rather than being filled with it.

What this need for acceptance caused me to do was be wasteful, consuming, excessive and frivolous. No one needs 85 pairs of shoes, 7 designer handbags, along with other non-designer bags, or enough clothes to outfit a small village.

On the road I realize how little I need. Leaving behind all of my pretty things was hard, but I knew deep inside I needed to take a break and gain some perspective. I brought only bare essentials, including a very basic black handbag provided by a sponsor of the trip. Not designer, not special, just small and practical. After deciding that we would continue this road trip for a longer time, I decided I would like to have a nicer handbag and dispose of my already worn out one. I still appreciate fine things, but now I don't need an excessive amount. When the handbag arrived today it came with a dust cover. I laughed to myself, realizing I have no use for such things any longer.

Perspective is exactly what I've found on the grey ribbon of golden striped reality. Did I really have to ride my motorcycle for so many miles and so many weeks to realize how silly it all was to compete, fit in, be accepted, and belong? I guess so. I guess I had to travel to places where I always felt like an outsider to find that I don't need to belong, that I like who I am inside, whether anyone else does or not.

I think the problem was really the dust covers.



  1. I am not into designer anything but my textile saddlebags came with dust/waterproof covers - does that count?

    I am sorely lacking in the fashion sense department and I suppose that is a good thing as it keeps purchases to a minimum.

    I am firmly in the "don't give a crap what people think" and "don't need to fit in" camp but it has taken many many years to arrive here.

  2. I don't know why, but I think at our core most of us have a desire to "belong". Maybe we are truly social creatures that need the acceptance of others to feel good about ourselves. I know I've felt this way in the past and even today struggle with a desire to be liked by be accepted. Sometimes I feel as though I've lost touch with who I am and who I want to be as a result of trying to fit in.

    One of the reasons I enjoy riding is it gives me the opportunity to be in my own head and sort out my thoughts. It puts a smile on my face and makes me feel good about being me. Thanks for reminding us that freedom isn't about conformance. ~Curt


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