I can't believe how many people have asked me about the briefcase. I had no idea that an ugly leather bag could be such a great curiosity for anyone but me. Some have even offered to give it a new home. If you don't know what I'm talking about you and want to know you can read about it here. After a lot of thinking and feeling I have asked my Mom to ship the bag to me, filled with all the art supplies I had stashed in storage in Minnesota.
I had a lot of reasons for asking "Why" on bringing the bag. Aside from all the memories it has for me I have moved to Florence, a city known for it's leather arts. There are schools here that teach nothing but the art of leather craft. Every third store is dedicated to leather purses and suitcases and briefcases and wallets and belts and shoes and anything else you can think of that could possibly be made from leather.
So the totally shallow side of me thought bringing possibly the ugliest bag on the planet to a place known for its beautiful leather would only get me looks of either pity for not being able to replace it with one more beautiful or disdain for daring to own something so tacky and actually bringing it out into the public. That's the shallow end of my pool.
The deeper end feels that if everything about this bag means freedom to me, then it certainly needs to be with me for this part of my journey. After all, if throwing all caution to the winds leaving everything I've known and moving to a foreign country isn't freedom then I don't know what it is.
"Freedom from what?" some people (OK, many) ask. I think I'd have to say freedom from trying to live my life one certain way and hope for a mythical result. That if I stay put and work smart and sacrifice I'll have the kind of life I've been brought up to expect. But I did all those things and life hasn't turned out at all like I expected. I'm not angry about it. I also know that I'm the exception rather than the rule in this situation.
That's why I've started living outside the rules. Living what I'm starting to call my "exceptional life." Moving to Italy is just part of that journey. Allowing myself to fall in love again, when it has rarely turned out as I expected, is another. I think I'll use the bag for yet another part of living my exceptional life...I'm going to use it to carry my art supplies as I wander around the world and pursue an outlet I've denied myself for decades. I'm going to let my inner artist out and let her stay out. And for that she needs an absolutely tried and true bag, one that has experienced freedom and isn't afraid of it. Kinda like me.