What a Missoni Dress Taught
Me About Suffering

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As I opened up my luggage after a trip to L.A., I was met with the strong scent of perfume.

That’s when I saw it.

My brand new coral and gold Missoni dress had two dark purple round stains about the size of softballs on the front. I’d only worn once at the French Kiss Life World Tour in L.A.

Underneath the Missoni dress, I found another big blotch on the leather of my adorable white Furla purse I’d purchased in Paris.

It didn’t just stop there. An Italian cream cashmere cardigan that still had the tags still on was also affected.

My favorite perfume bottle had apparently exploded in transit.

All. Over. Everything.

Now, before I finish the story, tell me:

How would you have felt?

Really, feel into it.

Most women would have suffered.

I know the woman I was five years ago would have. I’m sure I would have run the stories about:

  • how careless and stupid I was
  • how much money I’d just wasted
  • how much I’d miss the outfits
  • how I’d probably never find the perfume again (it was bought in Grasse, France).

A Drama Queen’s Miracle.

Instead, here’s what happened:

I didn’t get upset at all.

First, I laughed.

Next, I picked up the Missoni dress and wondered if I could get the stain out.

Knowing my domestic abilities, especially when it comes to laundering, I decided that I needed a professional. I gathered the affected clothes and placed in a bag to take to the dry cleaner.

Then, I got on with my day.

No drama.

I can’t express how shocked and proud I am of my response. I’ve worked hard to style my mind to not suffer needlessly.

Sometimes, I do a fabulous job, such as this incident. Other times, I suffer.

But, I know I’m always the one creating it.

In life, there are facts and there’s fiction.

The fiction, or story we tell, can either free us or shackle us.

In this situation, the facts were:

Perfume had leaked into my luggage and stained my clothing and accessories.

Everything else was fiction.

Drama is not necessary.

You get to choose how you frame the facts of your life, and I’ve learned that it doesn’t serve us to tell a painful story.

In this case, I chose to tell the story of:

No one died.
Nothing of real value has been lost.
These are just material goods.
I’ll see if it can be addressed.

And, with that, I felt relief. I didn’t suffer needlessly.

When you appreciate Buddha and fashion.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I adore my things and want to take excellent care of them.

However, The Buddha said,

“The root of suffering is attachment.”

First of all, I’m tickled that I can talk about a Missoni dress and Buddha in the same article.

Secondly, while I adore my things, I love my inner state of being more. Because of this, I’m learning to be less attached to things and expectations.

When things don’t go my way (and they often don’t), the old me would spiral into despair running to the pantry to find my bag of Cheetos to drown out my problems.

However, I’ve styled my mind to be both excited about what I can create and letting go of the attachment of it having to happen to feel good.

This means …

When the eggs fall on the floor… I clean them up.
When my man is cranky… I offer him a hug.
When I burn dinner… I find something else to eat.

And, when perfume stains my clothes… I take them to the cleaners.

I strive to not waste my energy arguing with reality. That only causes needless suffering.

We’re not in charge of life. Things leak. People are people. Clothes get stained.

But, the good news is that you are in charge of your story.

Tell yourself stories that free you from suffering.

When you French Kiss Life, you understand that suffering is optional.

Without the painful story, there is no drama.
{click to tweet}

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JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: What’s something over which you’ve been unnecessarily suffering? How can you tell a story that offers a bit of relief?

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18 Responses to What a Missoni Dress Taught
Me About Suffering

  1. I sincerely hope you both get the stains out and acquire a new bottle of perfume. Thanks to your blog and MDI, I am now learning that people (those allowed past the Red Velvet rope) are far more important than stuff.

    I will never be a minimalist, however I am finally realising that attachment to an object is simply a way of holding onto a memory or a way of feeding my own feelings of lack.

    Thank you Tonya, as always your posts are both timeous for me and a reminder to “reboot” my thinking.

  2. My lesson learned not to pack liquid perfume with my clothing and I also learned we chose to tell a better story. By making better choices. Fact my son has been discharged from the hospital and didn’t call me. Suffering and unhappiness
    But a better story his wife called. French Kiss

  3. Thank you for sharing this story and insight! Working to FKL through the hard times is the real challenge.

    I’m on month 3 of repairs to my home after some water damage, and late last night I discovered a new water issue. This quote, “I strive to not waste my energy arguing with reality. That only causes needless suffering.” will be my new mantra as I continue to take care of the house.

      • I am amazed at your awesome reaction, hate to say I think I’d have cried 😢. Made me consider my attachments—and suffering. I’ve lost or misplaced two pairs of sunglasses this week—and I’m taking a lesson here. 👍

  4. I love Katie M’s comment above: “I strive to not waste my energy arguing with reality.” Wow. Katie, I am SO stealing that! When I was in my 20s I worked with a woman who was still furious with her ex-husband for leaving her for another woman 22 years earlier. Twenty-two years of anger & hurt had turned her into a bitter, negative person that NO one wanted to be around, including her own children. I think it was watching her destroy her own happiness — it was so clear in every word she spoke & action she took that it was like a text-book lesson in how to NOT live your life — that made me very consciously decide to drop all my drama-queen theatrics & just get on with life. It just makes life so much simpler & more pleasant.

  5. I remember you wearing this beautiful dress at the event here in Los Angeles! Keeping your cool and emotional well-being in this situation is amazing. “To STYLE your mind’: what a great concept!

  6. I feel sad that you only got to wear that dress one time. It looked absolutely spectacular on you that day in LA. I truly hope the cleaner is able to perform a miracle. Even if it is a loss, I like to think that God took that dress because he has an even better one looking for that space in your life. We are so lucky to live in a spot in the world where we have plenty; where our worry is that we have too much to eat instead of too little; where we turn on the tap to receive clean water; where our concerns about being repressed by others is the concern that they might say something mean to us. We are the luckiest humans in the history of this planet, Sometimes it takes looking down the barrel of the loss of something I thought I loved to remind me of that. We can curse God for taking away the thing we loved, or we can thank him for giving it to us and letting us enjoy it. I love that you are the kind of girl that has learned to do the latter. Just one of the many reasons you inspire me. I look forward to telling you about how my trip to Armenia went sometime!

  7. Probably one of the most difficult and multilayered lessons we will ever work through is letting go of “what was” and finding a way to embrace and work with “what is”. There is a gift in even being able to see “what is” in a clear and positive light with the potential to meet our needs. I know it’s been a lifetime process for me and as I detach, I find there is less and less worth attaching my expectations to. Thank you for sharing what could have been your disaster! Big hugs!

  8. Love this, Tonya! Everything is neutral until we attach feelings to it. Know the facts, state the truth 😉 And, perhaps the Universe has something better for us to replace it with anyway! xoxo

  9. Love this Tonya.
    I’ve had similar liquid in luggage disasters! What a mess.
    They’re not very glam, but I don’t travel without them now.
    Ziplock bags! All liquids get zipped in.. All precious clothing or jewlery is sealed into the biggest ones I can find!
    Love how you take common occurrences and turn them into life lessons for us.
    Peace and health,
    Renee

  10. Ruth, there was a day when I would have cried for days over this. I’ve had to do a lot of work to get to this place. And, there are some days I fail miserably. But, on those days, I’m much kinder to myself :).

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