I went diamond-shopping this weekend. Last year I received a corporate pat on the back with a financial award. Someone suggested that I spend it on jewellery instead of frittering it away on clothes, books and shoes. It took me months but I finally agreed. I step out, Madonna’s Material Girl playing in my head. But this time, no boys are lining up to pay.
It’s not even the first major purchase I made, even for jewellery. I saved up on my first job and bought my father a new cellphone and my mother, a diamond ring. That was a funny feeling. A memorable feeling, a funny one and one I’ll treasure all my life…the exhilarating thrill that comes from being able to buy something for the people you love, who have provided for you all your life.
A few years later, I’m going big-purchase-shopping again. But it just is different. A different kind of different.
I think in my head, despite all the wonderful freedom of financial independence and mental release, my liberatedness has a few gaps in it. Like little stitches still binding me to old ways of being, long after I’ve snipped away the life I want to wear.
Diamonds are usually received as gifts, not bought for oneself. Gifted by a man..a father, a brother, a lover, a husband. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, it’s because those sparkly stones carry the monetary value that they were bought for, but also the power of being cherished and indulged by men.
Diamonds have been symbolic for years and they continue to be so. Only my diamonds don’t list out the men who will lavish their affections on me. They remind me of everything that I’ve worked for and achieved. The power to buy a diamond as well as the right to wear one that is truly my own. It’s just odd how long it took me to accept the feeling. Not feel guilty about lavishing it on me, not feel obligated to spend it on someone else or something more important/intelligent, not wonder if brandishing my economic power made me seem like even more of a man-hating feminist than people usually accuse me of being. It took me a long time to accept that it was okay to buy a diamond for myself and feel good about it.