In Which I Lose My Money and My Identity

I didn’t write about this while I was abroad so I wouldn’t freak you out. While even the dullest day in Italy seemed glitzy at the time, some days proved to be more challenging than others. Like the day I was pick-pocketed.

After I applied to study abroad, everyone I knew instantly became an expert on being safe in a foreign country. While they all had the best intentions, I received every crazy bit of advice, from avoiding babies at all costs to staying away from blue-eyed cats. And as the girl that’s even too afraid to use cruise control, you better believe I stayed true to every single one of them.

Except no one warned me about teenage girls in H&M. But little miss Polly PickPocket, I’ve got to give you credit for the idea. If there’s anywhere in the world my guard is down, it’s in a 4 story palace of cheap Italian clothes. I wish I was kidding.

I bent down to try on a pair of shoes, my crossbody purse almost touching the floor. The girl next to me, who I assumed was equally obsessed with H&M’s new line of shoes, seemed to get abnormally close, but being in a new culture, I thought nothing of it. I stood up straight, immediately feeling the lightness of my bag and looked down to see it unzipped, wallet gone. 

I wasn’t even scared, just mad. How could someone, someone my age or younger, take that away from me? How could I let them?

But really, don’t I do that all the time? Maybe not in the form of money or passports, but in joy and confidence? It only takes one judgmental remark or one condescending look to send my self-esteem whirring recklessly. One second and my entire concept of self is full of untruths.

In the middle of my stress abroad, I took a moment, looked around me, and remembered what was true. While contemplating my next move, I remembered a scenario a friend had encountered only nights before: her wallet had been taken, but the thief searched it for cash, then tossed it, feet away from where it had been lost.

When someone steals my happy, I should search for what is true in the same way. Instead of replaying the situation, ridding me of joy even more so, I can repeat what I know to be true about myself. I am loved, cherished, redeemed, being fought for, safe and chosen.

The remembrance of my friend’s story allowed me to think clearly and search for my wallet in the store. And what do you know, there it was, hanging on a jewelry rack, everything in tact. About 20 feet away from where it was taken from me.

Joy is always just as close. Don’t allow it to be in a position to be taken. Renew your mind of what is consistently true, and live like it is. If it is taken, confront it with the Truth. And go buy those shoes once you get it back;)

Hey, you! Fill this box with joy. (And comments)


  1. Helen says

    Love this, and the way in which you turned the event into a beautiful story!