There’s a scene in a movie that I can’t place (maybe you can help me here). An older woman dumps out the purse of a younger woman. The younger woman is hoping to become the older woman’s mentee or perhaps employee. The older/more experienced woman says, “If I had found wrappers in your purse, I would have sent you home.”
I try to never have empty wrappers in my bag.
Every once in while, I re-read Laura Goode’s article Stay Gold on The Rumpus. In it, Goode eulogizes her twenties and writes, “I will tell you that I have lived them like an endless conversation, like a depth charge, like a rapprochement or discord with the self, like the way you dance alone with your roommate in her bedroom or yours, like one big sensory buffet, like whole-body-shaking laughter and notebooks, notebooks, notebooks.”
In my early twenties, I tried to destroy myself. When I stopped trying to destroy myself, I thought I knew who I was and who I wanted to be.
So it surprised me when I recently decided that I needed to have a purse.
It surprised me that I wanted this purse to say, “I am a woman.”
My purses must be able to fit a book. Now they must fit at least two books. They must hold my water bottle. They must have a cross body strap in addition to handles that can also be pulled to the shoulder. The purse must say how graceful I am. They must help me look older. They must fit my lunch. They must fit the bag I keep inside all of my bags with all of the loose ends. Band-aids, Chapstick, nail clippers, ibuprofen, floss. The list goes on.
It was brought to my attention that I have many purses. And indeed, I have more purses than pairs of shoes. Totes, clutches…the kinds of purses exceed my knowledge. One for every occasion; however, I have always found it disconcerting that each purse says something different. I have never been able to settle into one “kind” of purse and have always felt that this inability represents my inability to define myself. I am somewhere in between the tom-boy and the simple girl that does not know how to dress herself.