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The Key to Collecting

Some girls buy shoes and handbags to feel better. I buy art. My husband thinks I’m a shopaholic in need of help. I beg to differ. If I were to attend a 12 step meeting I’d raise my hand high and state my name followed by “I have a problem. I need more wall space!”


Compulsive buying “is experienced as an irresistible–uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive, expensive and time-consuming retail activity [that is] typically prompted by negative affectivity” and results in “gross social, personal and/or financial difficulties”.

Although often fueled by an irresistible urge, my art purchases are rarely extravagant and are prompted by positive affect not depression or as a quick fix for filling a larger void.

Surrounding myself with things created my someone else’s hand elevates my mood and leaves me feeling connected to the hugeness of our world. I like paying witness to and honoring another person’s story. That’s what a good therapist does. And that’s the kind of gal I strive to be. To my friends, family and the occasional stranger.

I recently received a key with the words kind and loving engraved on each side. The key was made by an artist who recently lost her battle with cancer. Her best friend sent it to me as a gift for donating to her memorial fund. I never met either woman. I gave simply because her story touched me as a mother and human being. Now each time I hold that key in my hand, we are instantly connected. Seeing it peacefully resting on my vanity I am reminded each day how lucky I am to watch my boys grow.

I collect art to expand my worldview. Now if only I had more wall space?

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