I have carried a purse for 27 years. Small purses. Clutches. Different colors. Some borrowed, some traded. Some I saved for because I just had to have it! But, you have to understand something. My mother was always Old Hollywood Glam.
My mother was snatched before I really knew what that word would be. She carried a purse, so I wanted to carry one. When I got my first one at 10, this tortoise patterned crossbody Cherokee bag? That was IT! I would go around looking for stuff to put in my purse. MY purse.
It was simple stuff at first for little girls: mirror, lip balm, pen, candy and some money (my father insisted that as a young lady, I always needed to have some money on me). But as I grew up, I looked at small bags with suspicion! Like, I need stuff!
My best friend, Marissa, and I are of the age now where to carry a purse is to have lives in your bag. I am oft quoted saying, “I am suspicious of women that carry small bags.” Which Marissa often responds, while smoking, “Right! Like women need stuff! Where is your stuff?!”
Indeed, where is your stuff!
Call it a transference: from a teddy to a tote. There are things that I carry on a day to day basis that I couldn’t be without, But, that anxiety, as it were came when I was a girl. When I would get picked up with my Dad from school, my siblings and I wouldn’t get home until late! I started carrying snacks to keep from being hungry; my snacks in my purse. I started carrying a pen or pencil with me so I could do my homework while waiting on my Dad to finish a meeting. I started carrying a book with me when I didn’t have homework. With my allowance, I would look for a bigger bag to keep my stuff. I needed a hairbrush. Gum. A calculator. Emergency Always pads. Having these things with me made me feel more prepared, more in control of my day!
In high school, during my Sophomore year, these plastic/pleather totes were popular. Every girl had one–probably because every girl’s mom shopped at JCPenney. with this tote, I had all the stuff I needed with me. No matter what was going on, I had something for it!
Now as a mother, wife and writer, totes are my go to. Not for security anymore, but for practicality! I need a bag that can keep with calendars, keys and kids! I need to know if I through something in this bag, that it’s there! I need to know can a bag I carry handle all I have to do on a day-to-day basis! Like, can it carry 2 cell phones; a tablet; makeup bag with brushes; pencil bag and random papers? That’s on light days!
So, to the girls that grew up watching their mother’s carry purses, and now have found their own sense of style and self, allow me to say this.
As a woman, the world will make you take on what you don’t need. It will try and strip you of the things you do.
Women need stuff.
I need to be able to build everyday. I hustle on a day to day basis. Every woman I know in my immediate circle carries something with her everyday that reminds her of the business, brand or vision she is chasing.
My totes in my closets, strewn on the floor of my bedroom, remind me of the things I carry. Why I carry it, and when I need to clean it all out. As I move through the world, I need stuff. I need to be able to have access to stuff! No ambitious woman that I know carries a small bag everyday!
Their balls don’t fit.
[images from iOffer, AliExpress, wells.blogs.nytimes.com]