Like a lot of women, I carry a purse around with me everywhere. It holds some of my most essential belongings: ID, cash, keys. And again, like a lot of women, it winds up housing some real non-essentials, too: a bunch of Meijer receipts crumpled up into fist-sized balls, a pair of mismatched no-show socks, a sh!t ton of pennies, and apparently all the cords I own, tangled into a huge white nest.      

My current bag is a large, solid black tote, with no real external markings, and no real features on the inside, either – just one enormous opening.  Out to dinner the other night, digging through the abyss while trying to uncover my wallet, our server, waiting patiently, mentioned that it was “quite the purse.”  I realized how ridiculous I probably looked with my head half inside it, rummaging around with both hands.      

Today, if I stashed my bag under a table for some stranger to discover, they’d probably take one look inside and be, all at once, curious to explore a little deeper inside the cave, and terrified by the obvious carelessness taken in choosing what was allowed entry. If they dumped it out, they’d find the standard purse stuff, along with some unexpected treasures. And if they took an inventory, they’d probably determine that the collection belonged to some weirdo who’d clearly never considered ditching items that didn’t “spark joy.” I can’t really argue with that.      

When it comes to my bag and its contents, it’s true – a peak inside can point you in the right direction toward unearthing some of my more personal habits and hobbies. But, there are some crucial bits missing from the puzzle. There are no transcripts from my long phone calls with friends detailing hours of complaining about roommates and muffin tops. No pictures, postcards or passports tracking departures and arrivals. No mixed tapes cataloging the soundtracks to my long car rides and late nights. I carry those things around with me everywhere, too, just not in my purse.

Post by Molly Fitz Henry