The futility of life has weighed heavy on my mind more than ever in the past few weeks, and it won’t be shocking to find that it’s also been on yours.
For those who’ve somehow managed to escape all traces of media these past six months or have been living under a rock somewhere, I’m here to update you that we’re currently living through an unprecedented global health crisis that’s claiming and displacing the lives of millions around the globe. And even in the midst of all this collective trauma, the world hasn’t stopped as we’re still having to say goodbye to our loved ones for a myriad of other reasons.
This year, more than any other, we have collectively consumed eons and eons worth of black trauma, as we frequently mourn members of the black community from Oluwatoyin Salau to Tina Ezekwee to even social figures like rapper Pop Smoke.
I, like many others, have had to deal with the painful realisation that your favorite people could be here one day and gone the very next, no longer to be seen or spoken to or engaged with on the physical plane (there is a case for connecting with them on other levels but take that up with your local medium).
With decreased social interaction during quarantine, there are fewer opportunities to have fulfilling emotional interactions throughout the day and as such I’m having to spend a lot more time with myself. This has inadvertently sparked many humorous conversations with myself and friends, the latest of which covered the ownership of a legally binding will.
To draw you up to speed, last week, I happened to stumble upon a thread calling for young people to draft their wills right now in their twenties, regardless of how long we all think we’re all going to live. At the time, I shrugged it off as another comic one-liner from #thatbirdapp but this week, while surrounded by a multitude of bad news, the thought once again came up: “Do you have a will?”.
Now I’m not sure how much you know about wills, but I don’t know very much about them. This is coming from a law graduate who took Trusts & Equity in her final year of university not up to a year ago. In my defence, those lectures were on a Friday afternoon, and I was either halfway to London for the weekend or laughing with my girl gang in the front row (yes we sat in front mum). So needless to say, I can’t help you with anything technical about wills, but I would assume the starting point is rounding up your valuable possessions and appropriating them to each person in your life close enough to make the list.
The thought of rounding up my most prized possessions for the people in my life is laughable to me, not because the exercise is hilarious in itself, but because when I look around my white-wallpapered room, I fail to see anything of real value that anyone can look forward to accruing when I’m gone. My dreams of being an art collector are still on hold due to a lack of funds, and the only thing of real value seems like it’ll diminish with time.
The thought of what I will pass on to my kids (if I have any) or to my best friends or to my siblings is something that crosses my mind from time to time. As I get older, thoughts of which designer items will I pass on have been replaced with which Black designers, creatives or artists will I be leaving in my wake. But this was not always the case.
You see I grew up in a moderately wealthy home; we went on holidays, we never lacked any of the necessities and life was fairly comfortable. I quickly realised how much my parents strived to provide for my siblings and I, and the fine balance between needs and wants that was established early on. I mean I never grew up owning my first Patek at two years old, but that’s okay because my childhood was filled with honest and loving moments that I will forever cherish.
My mother had a killer collection of designer handbags and shoes and would jokingly tell everyone who would listen that if she were ever to die before her time, the culprits were my sister and I. While she may have been teasing, it was definitely my dream to inherit every single one of those bags and shoes because I mean who wouldn’t want to own vintage Chanel or Jimmy Choo when it’s worth a whole lotta somethings.
But as with everything, as I grew older and learnt more about myself and my personal style, a shift happened. By learning more about sustainable fashion and the importance of championing black designer brands just like we did the white ones, my desire to inherit her collection weaned and gradually paved the way for a new desire: to amass as many Black-made items as possible.
When I think of what I want to leave behind in my valuable collection, I am more interested in carrying my Mowalola mini or owning the iconic Gaia or my SilletbyAsh original or even my very own Telfar bag (and I say that with all sincerity because if they don’t restock soon I might lose all will to exist).
My focus over the years has definitely shifted and I am a lot more intentional with my shopping and the brands that I spend my coins on. While this option is definitely more expensive than my current budget allows, the goal is quality and sustainability rather than the quantity of items in my closet.
Every era has the iconic bag that defined the times, and while there’s no debate that Birkins are definitely an investment in the long run, I think it’s safe to say that the Telfar shopping bag is actually THE bag of this very chaotic era. The brainchild of Liberian-American designer, Telfar Clemens, the undeniable man of the moment who is currently witnessing a noteworthy stir in the fashion world as word of mouth and social media hype have contributed to the iconic shopping bag’s slow and organic rise.
Telfar’s tagline of “Not for you – for everyone” fosters a spirit of inclusivity as it champions a Black-owned, unisex fashion house uniquely primed for younger audiences which explores ideas of explore ideas of identity, ubiquity, homogeneity, and consumerism. And sure enough, it’s caught on massively recently which is why no single item on the site is currently in stock as it’s in the arms of some of your fave celebrities and even some of my friends (you know yourselves!). While we’re all waiting with baited breath for the restock, any brave takers can refer to Depop for alarmingly priced resells. Shalom.
(It’s worth mentioning that while writing this piece, the bags were indeed restocked and we missed out yet again LOL!)
So essentially what I’m really getting at is, putting off your will till much later in life may not be the best option and now, I’m definitely taking active steps to finding out what creating a legally binding one looks like. If this year has taught me anything it’s that death is as sure as anything under the sun so we best be ready when she comes. This is not as grim as it comes across, for one it may not even be our time yet (and I sincerely do hope not) but it’s definitely a worthy cause. And I think it would be a really fun exercise to see how my will continues to grow across the years.
Perhaps we shouldn’t even be talking about wills or Telfars or anything for that matter because it could really all be spongey CAKE as we’re currently coursing through a collective existential crisis that’s disturbingly delicious.
Image Credits: Vogue