Closet Confessionals

An Update from Closet Confessor XIII

Nearly five years later, we're checking back in with one of our earliest confessors

Five years ago (almost exactly to the day!), we introduced you to a new weekly column, Closet Confessionals. Born out of the idea of giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most taboo topics of the luxury industry, how handbag lovers afford their passion, we’ve since brought you nearly 200 unique stories. These anonymous confessionals have offered us a rare glimpse into the minds of PurseBlog readers and TPF members from around the world, covering a wide spectrum of income levels, careers, upbringings, and more.

Typically, the columns go live, and it’s on to the next. Rarely do we hear back from a previous confessor, but early in 2022, one of our earliest confessors, Closet Confessionals XIII reached out with an idea. She wanted to provide us with an update. Of course, we were happy to hear it, and it took our lucky number 13 over a year of reflection to send us the update.

Lucky Number 13: a Summary

You can read CC 13 in its entirety, but to summarize, in 2018, CC 13 was a 37-Year-Old nursing administrator with a collection of bags worth around $11,000. She bravely admitted to suffering from a shopping addiction in her 20s as a way to cope with depression and PTSD. Her out-of-control shopping led to her abusing credit cards and spending excessive amounts of money on items and beauty treatments that would portray a wealthy lifestyle. Years later, CC 13 admitted to still paying off that debt and expressed how important therapy was in helping her develop skills like discipline, self-sacrifice, and good financial habits.

The post racked in 55 comments, and CC 13 stated that she “read every single comment posted on my confession, some of them were very hurtful and judgmental, and some were very kind and compassionate.”

Keep reading to hear what’s changed in CC 13’s life over the last 4+ years.

Closet Confessionals XIII: The Update

It’s been really rough for me doing all the work to fix my relationship with money, with myself, which affected how I spent my money on luxury goods (a.k.a. designer bags, SLGs, accessories). But I’ve had more success in fixing my problems with money and with myself.

After reflecting on the comments posted on my confessional (Closet Confessionals XIII: The 37-Year-Old Who’s Cleaned Up Her Destructive Shopping Habits Oct 18, 2018), I decided that I needed to continue my journey to change and fix myself.

The comments about my PTSD, depression, anxiety, and bad money management have been very hurtful, however, I’m grateful that they’ve verbalized what I’ve been silently telling myself for the longest time.

I needed to stop and be honest with myself as to why I’m buying luxury items. I admit that I had been lying to myself about what I can truly afford to buy.

Anyway, I’ve sold most of the bags/SLGs/Accessories that were listed in my original confessional and saved that money so that I can pay off the remaining credit card debts I have.

What I did was go into therapy in order to go to the root cause of my problem with spending and keeping up appearances. The root cause is shame (among other things). For the longest time, I had been ashamed that I’m not as financially successful as the people I used to hang out with, who were high-earners and were able to spend their money like water. They were not bad people, they were just not the right people to be friends with. I only made $55,000 a year at the time (of the confession), so I really had no business going shopping for luxury goods and spending money on dinners out with wine twice a week while living in a high-cost-of-living city.

I still have the one designer handbag that I’m keeping as some kind of reminder to what not to do again.

As of this year, I’m completely debt-free. I don’t really wear my designer accessories anymore or carry my 1 remaining designer bag. I’ve decided that I want to live an honest life for myself so that I’m financially protecting myself. I also made friends who I can be honest with and spend time with without having to use shopping or eating out at expensive places just to bond. I’m more comfortable with myself and don’t feel the need to try hard to impress others.

While I’m not 100% perfect, I make smarter decisions these days. I’m still living in the same HCOL city, but I noticed that I have more money in my savings now, and I don’t have the burden of living paycheck to paycheck or any anxiety about what other people would think if I’m not wearing anything designer or expensive. I’m also making a bit more money this year (because of a new job and a raise) and practicing more frugal ways with my money.

I no longer spend time on TPF in the bag forums; I mostly lurk in the celebrity forums and finance forums these days. I also have a detached feeling for new releases from designer brands. They don’t appeal to me anymore. I don’t follow any influencers, designer brands, or even other TPFers on social media anymore.

I still enjoy the remaining luxury items I already have, but how I feel about them has changed, too. I feel like they’re another pair of shoes or a scarf—there’s really nothing special about them aside from being made in Italy, France, etc., by craftspeople/having a famous designer name like Louis Vuitton or Hermès.

Sometimes, I miss the designer bags/SLGs/accessories that I let go, but those feelings are few and far in between.

What I feel these days is relief and a sense of peace.

Thank you so much for providing the space for many people who appreciate designer/luxury items. It was a very fun community to be part of in the past.

Sincerely,
Closet Confessionals XIII

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petunia
petunia
11 months ago

I’ve never commented in past closet confessionals but I have to applaud your courage in openly discussing your struggles and the strength it took to overcome them. Social media in my opinion is a big part to blame for our over consumption, wanting to fit in mentality. Always chasing after something, showcasing our “perfect” beautiful lives. I myself fall into that trap. When is it enough; I wonder. As I get older I realize there’s no point to it. Someone is always going to be more richer, prettier, slimmer than I am. What I can do is be happy with what I have..and what I have a is a healthy, happy family.

Thank you for being so honest and now I too will reflect on my own shopping journey and hope to find that inner peace.

lalarey
lalarey
11 months ago

I hope this post is a reminder to us all that these confessionals, and our comments, represent real humans with real feelings, and that when we write nasty comments or snarky lines that we think are funny or insightful, they can be super hurtful. I hope this post and all its comments will inspire us to take care as a community that has a shared love of bags and acknowledge that we come from so many difference places- in life, in the world. We can be kind and supportive AND insightful and funny.

Antonia
Antonia
11 months ago

Bravo-I commend you for posting this! You must feel such a sense of calm…not having to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ and living your real life! There’s no shame in that!!

kpj
kpj
11 months ago

That’s a happy ending right there.

Slim
Slim
11 months ago

This is one of the best confessionals ever! I so agree with you on every point. Thank you, thank you!

Anon
Anon
11 months ago

I’m so happy to hear that you are in a better place and thank you for sharing that with us. 🙂

BagHagmomma
BagHagmomma
11 months ago

Hello,
Been a PB reader for about 7-8 yrs now; contented with reading closet confessionals since. Never had the urge to post a comment till today. Kudos, CCXIII!
Your first confession took a whole lot of courage but I feel have honestly resonated with baghags, even those without a bag-shopping compulsion. Makes us take an honest stock on how many REALLY is enough. I myself am still determining that but THANK YOU for making me pause.
All the best to you & I sincerely wish you joy through the people, events & things that truly matter.

SlurmLoco
SlurmLoco
11 months ago

Despite the rough awakening, I’m glad you had it and were able to overcome the hurdles you had. It’s very hard to look in the mirror and realize you need to get help, but it’s also an act of self love. Congrats on your journey and success. And thank you for sharing your story.

Terri
Terri
11 months ago

Sense of peace is one of the best feelings in the world. Kudos to you, Closet Confessionals XIII!

Lala
Lala
11 months ago

Freedom from living up to social standards is priceless! Sounds like you are doing wonderfully now, congrats!

Blythe
Blythe
11 months ago

It’s a difficult thing to “keep up with the Jones”, but it’s also a temporary high that leads to a crushing low with all the money spent. I’ve been there too many times to admit. Like OP, I’ve sold a lot of bags with more to sell. I’m happy to finally get off the never ending wheel of highs and lows that for me, was like a drug.

KKS
KKS
11 months ago

This was an awesome read and something I very much needed to see for myself. You’re doing great things, CC13! Thanks for the financial health reminder and good luck to you!

Darvionne Givhan
Darvionne Givhan
10 months ago

Congratulations on being debt free!!! That is truly an inspiring and amazing thing you’ve done. I hope that you will allow yourself to enjoy the bag that you kept; it is yours after all. Bravo on being released from the pressure of living up to others’ expectations and standards and focusing more on what makes YOU happy!!! I’m sorry that past posters posted rude and insensitive comments on your original post- that’s not a good look…

psny15
psny15
10 months ago

Thank you for your honesty and bravo for your courage!

Emily
Emily
10 months ago

I really relate to your original post and update. People will probably judge me as well, but as someone who has dealt with debilitating depression and anxiety and received intensive treatment for it, the “high” from buying is definitely real.
In addition to having experience with my own mental health, I also work in the field. With true depression, the anhedonia and lack of serotonin and dopamine is so real, that anything you can do to feel a bit “better” is addicting. Some people turn to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and spending, it doesn’t matter as long as you get that dopamine rush. When everything feels flat and horrible, that “activity” is the only thing that brings you joy. I too turned to shopping when I was depressed, and then of course had a lot of shame around it.
It’s hard to admit and I’m impressed that you are working your way through it. You were doing the best you could at that time and coping how you knew (even if it wasn’t a healthy coping skill). Now you’re looking back and developing much better coping skills and I applaud you for it.
People can judge you all you want, but they haven’t been in your shoes and everyone makes mistakes.
I guarantee you these people have also made shitty financial decisions at one point in their life, it’s part of being human! Some of my friends buy lattes every day (which people loveeee to say is a ‘shitty’ financial decision), but I’m not better than them just because I don’t and I choose to spend that $1000 on a purse. Or my friends with expensive gym memberships (also not a ‘necessity’ technically) when I’d rather run or work out at home for free, I’m going to spend my money on a purse. I’m not better than them, and a lot of people who read this site need to recognize and remember that.

Janaki Subramanyam
Janaki Subramanyam
10 months ago

Wow, congratulations & thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Sabrina
Sabrina
11 months ago

This is a reminder that unless your household income is >500,000 USD a year, you have no business buying luxury goods. Whichever way you swing it, it isn’t financially a good decision. You may be a doctor making 100-300k a year and a $3000 bag may seem like something you can afford, but ignore the temptation. All you’re doing is setting yourself up for heartache because the more you have, the further the greed and addiction develops. A chanel bag may make you appear rich to weak status obsessed people but a healthy body and mind is the greatest wealth you can have.

Emily
Emily
10 months ago
Reply to  Sabrina

lol why are you on a purse forum if you don’t believe the vast majority of the population doesn’t “deserve” luxury goods? That’s also such a ridiculous judgment, What if your income is less but you don’t have any children? My friends spend thousands of dollars on their children, but I’m perfectly happy with my cats, never want kids, and would definitely rather spend it on beautiful luxury goods that I use almost every day!

HeatherTweedy
HeatherTweedy
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Seriously. The comment above sounds like someone who resents when a person who isn’t her version of “rich” buys the bags she likes because then these status symbols mean less. In turn that makes her own status seeking behavior worth less.

If the money is discretionary, it doesn’t matter what you choose to spend it on. We’re here because we love fashion and designer bags and this is what we choose to spend out money on.

Also, not everyone gets into some weird greed cycle when it comes to beautiful bags. The concern about an addiction developing sounds like projection more than anything else.