What is Luxury?

There is a Woman I follow on Tumblr who has an absolutely profound and evocative way with words. Two, in fact, but the one I want to focus on is the Tumblr User AnExpansionLikeGold.

She speaks regularly about various topics. Most of the time it comes in small rants about how people treat her, the ways in which she has fought tooth and nail for the status she has achieved in life, and so much more… And as a woman herself who has gone to great lengths to have what she has today, her words often resonate with me- though I have admittedly had an easier go of it than she has from what little that I know.

In many of these cases, however, her words are often taken out of context and misinterpreted. It happens so regularly that I question the general ability of individuals to read what is written on the internet- and one such case happened just today: She created a personal post about the condescension of the Upper Middle Class towards those viewed as lesser (a valid critique and problem) and received [a] [series] of [asks] in which those words were misinterpreted and skewed to horrendous levels- as is unfortunately usual now a days on social media.

But she, as always, is rather eloquent in her response; her writing often gives me chills and- in this instance, in two responses alone- completely obliterates my idea of the world; my idea of luxury,  which has for so long been shaped by (you guessed it) the upper middle class ideology: That Luxury is the frivolous, unnecessary goods which we have for our own selfish pleasure- afforded only to those of status and wealth who can afford extravagant and often ridiculous items which are often hard to obtain and exorbitant in price.

And yet she obliterates this in one particular part of her response to cruel people:

No, true luxury is self respect. True luxury is the ability to recognize vulgarity at any wealth level. The meteor shower I saw after I threw myself to my knees and sobbed and prayed and sang to god for light, any light, and then: starlight. True luxury is prayer, Isaiah’s burning coal, the deep recesses of the earth; true luxury was when I looked out the window of my plane and saw the cloud bank, the city shaped like a moon shining up through it like a holy icon, and thought of my friend who I was soon be able to hold and laugh and drink with. I don’t know what you’re going on about, but when I talk about luxury I mean: the ability to dismiss that which does not further my goals.

What I find here is more than just her words. I find an implication unlike any I have ever seen: The inadvertent and potentially unintentional insinuation that Luxury is not the presence or obtainment of these items themselves, but is in and of itself the experience of things… And maybe I am misconstruing her words like so many others… Maybe this was not an intentional insinuation, or was one which even- in any way- fell into the realm of what she meant. Maybe I am reading too far into it, taking it out of context, or realigning it into my own world view… But I hope my takeaway does her words justice none the less, because it was still something that shattered me on an indescribable level as so much of her writing often does.

It is the personal realization that Luxury is the (maybe even selfish) pursuit of the experience of new and even old things… Some which one might otherwise never have an opportunity to obtain again, others which one may have had to fight for socially or financially or otherwise, and on and on… And also that Luxury is the emotional and psychological impact that it has on you; the profoundness when you realize that this experience, this moment in time, may never occur again no matter how many times it realistically reoccurs… One which makes you appreciate the profoundness of that single experience, and the true beauty and uniqueness of it.

That it is not the fact that you can obtain Champagne Gummy Bears ever so slightly brushed with Gold Leafing…But that you are lucky enough to, even for a short while, experience it in the first place; the taste of them, the smell of them, their feeling, their temporarity.

That it is not the fact that you can purchase a Transcontinental plane flight for whatever reasons- be they business or pleasure… But the experience of viewing the world from so high up; the sun glinting across the clouds, the sight of the perfectly plowed fields and age old trees and rivers and lakes below, and so much more.

That it is not the fact that you can obtain a rare flower for your garden… But the experience of watching it bloom- and the temporary and unique beauty that you get to experience when it does.

That true Luxury is experience– whether it be for selfish or practical reasons, and whether it be from completely mundane items or those deemed truly Luxuries by society… And in that view, I have lived a life of amazing Luxury.

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