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Rated: E · Essay · Biographical · #2193526
Prompt: “What’s in Your Wallet/Purse – 6.17.19”
The first day of sixth grade was stressful enough without the sudden realization that I had missed a critical note on what exactly a sixth grade female was required to have as an essential survival accessory: a purse.

I remember rushing home and telling my mom that it was finally time. Time I grow up and start carrying my very own purse – and with this revelation came incessant begging to be brought to the mall to spend my weekly allowance on something to put my weekly allowance in.

At the mall, I went to the only logical place a 13 year old girl would go to find her very first purse – Claire’s Boutique. I knew they had a whole wall devoted to all sizes, shapes, and styles. My perfect accessory would most certainly be waiting for me there.

After what felt like hours of scrutinizing, I settled on a two-toned, pearlescent, baby blue and buffed silver, cross body bag. It would fit my school planner perfectly and still have room for the other things I now knew were required to be inside a purse – a spare scrunchie, a compact, and at least five Bonne Bell lip glosses.

Truth be told, I hated carrying it. It felt clunky and awkward as it lay across my body. The way the strap cut across my chest accentuated the far-too-developed parts of my body my thirteen your old self had spent a lot of effort trying to play down. It hit my hips every time I walked with a ‘bump bump bump’ feeling that made me feel like I was being followed. Not to mention, my logical mind felt this item was actually kind of redundant, given my backpack could really serve the same purpose…

But I had to fit in. I had to carry it. I could swallow my discomfort if it meant being cool.

It didn’t take long before I ditched the purse and went back to my backpack. It’s soft, army green, well-worn sink felt so much more like me; so much more functional.

Years later, I tried again with a black and white Skechers purse that quickly found its way to the bottom of my closet, never to be seen again.

In college, it was a pocket chain. A grommet-edged beauty on the Hot Topic sale shelf called my name like a siren and I listened. I didn’t need a purse – I had pockets… and lots of them. My bell-bottomed cargo pants could carry anything my wallet couldn’t. I know my mother hated that pocket chain, but at the time I was a concert goer. Keeping your goods secured meant you were less likely to be pick-pocketed when you rushed the stage. It was just common sense!

When I started carrying a notebook with my everywhere, I tried one last time to carry a purse. Having spent a lifetime with cargo pants and backpacks, I’ve settled happily in with the satchel. Still cross-body, but plenty of room for my books, pens, tarot cards, and a wallet. Now, the only real requirement of any bag I purchase is that it must fit my book and a journal. If those two boxes are not checked, the relationship between me and the bag in question is just not meant to be.

I still have a drawer of purses that were bought and discarded in failed attempts to be trendy and in. When I think of the money I wasted over the years trying to fit in, it makes me sad for the person I was. An army green, cross-body, pin and patch covered bag will always be my essential survival accessory, no matter what anyone else says.
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