Because sometimes you just need to buy yourself a rug with Keanu Reeves’ face on it.
I largely credit one material object with getting me through my first breakup: a notebook. Specifically, a white, spiral-bound legal notebook I found hiding in a cabinet above an old desktop computer at my dad’s house, unused, weeks after my college boyfriend suggested we stop seeing each other. I spent the following months pouring myself into that thing. Every thought I had, from the most strained metaphors to the truly meaningful insights that I gleaned in the aftermath, went straight to the notebook’s lined pages—usually accompanied by the quite literal outpouring of tears.
The notebook came to serve as a tracker for my post-heartbreak recovery progress. During the first few weeks after the breakup, I wrote it in nearly non-stop. Every few minutes, a new thought about the breakup and its inevitability (or in some cases, it’s unnecessity) came to mind, and I hurriedly scrawled a new entry, continuing to write until my hand cramped up or I got too tired to feel things anymore.
But as the weeks passed, I noticed myself writing less and less. While journaling is normally a habit you’re supposed to try to stick with, it was good that I wasn’t, in this case, as it meant I was thinking about my ex less and less. Eventually, my reliance on the notebook faded, leaving me writing in it maybe once or twice a year. Sometimes I revisit it, but mostly it sits on my bedside bookshelf untouched. The notebook was for writing and processing, not reading and revisiting.
Sometimes, inanimate objects can be there for us in a way that people can’t. I felt too needy, or embarrassed, or something, to share every single thought with my friends—probably because I (rightfully) realized that they’d get bored of my endless rehashing pretty quickly. Still, this impulse to turn to material things for comfort intrigues me. For me, it was a notebook. What might it be for someone else?
Here, seven women share photos of the weird, surprising, and totally wonderful things they bought themselves during a breakup.