Wednesday, 24 February 2010
What's your bag?
Kate tagged me to divulge what is in my handbag and I agreed because I think it’s more than a random set of ‘things’ – a woman’s bag is a mirror of her personality.
A friend of mine looks askance at my bag. Hers is small – immaculate on the outside, pristine on the inside. In it she keeps a (clean, pressed) hankie, a purse, a small diary and her reading glasses. That’s it. I say ‘friend’ but if I’m honest we’ll never be ‘real’ close tell-it-all over several bottles of wine friends because we are just too different. Her life is neat, compartmentalised, ordered. Mine, on the other hand, lurches from chaos to calamity. She's not the kind of friend who would understand that you're feeling down/overwhelmed/teary/a bit bonkers. She'd look puzzled and suggest you need more sleep or a bout of gardening.
My dear late (and hugely lamented) friend Sarah Dening always said that to dream of a handbag was to dream about your identity, what defines you as a woman. If you dream of a handbag she suggests you ask yourself these questions:
• Has a change of circumstances undermined my sense of identity?
• Am I afraid of losing my worth as a woman?
• Am I trying to model myself on someone else?
Interesting questions, one and all (and, if I'm honest, it's probably a YES to all three). Let’s see what my handbag and its contents reveals about me and my life (both outer and inner).
My bag is soft brown leather with a vivid pink lining. It was a present from my mother when she was very ill, not long before she died and so it is hugely precious. It came from a little shop just down the road and is a very non-prententious, very non-designer bag. It's always been slouchy but once it was relatively smart. Now the leather is scuffed, the lining is torn...it’s been well-used and has a few years’ use left in it yet. So it feels very much a symbol for how I feel as a middle-aged, madly juggling, generally worn out, slumped in a corner woman.
In it, you will find right now:
• A bright pink Prada purse. Real Prada. Bought for me by my dear friend Jane who knows that the only time I get the real thing is when she buys it for me. ‘Every woman needs a bit of Prada’ she said. I love it but never quite feel it’s ‘me’.
• An iPod. My son’s. Can’t use it, haven’t a clue. Makes me feel stupid every time I look at it.
• My Moleskine notebook. Goes everywhere with me. I find inspiration hits, not when I’m sitting at my desk but everywhere else. My memory is shot so I carry it round with me.
• Several pens. I live in mortal terror of not having a writing implement.
• Diary. Never look at it but hey, it’s there.
• A book, if not two. At the moment it’s a YA novel called Shiver.
• A small torch. We still can’t get into The Bonkers House by the front door (there be monsters) so we have to navigate steep and uneven and winding steps up into the garden. A torch avoids (hopefully) broken legs.
• Glasses case. Never has glasses in it.
• Sunglasses. Ray Bans (Wayfarer Dekko) I bought at Miami airport over twenty years ago. Happy memories of a wonderful press trip to Grand Bahama.
• Memory stick.
• Rescue remedy; arnica; lip salve
• Hand cream (La Compagnie de Provences, lavender)
• Fingerless mittens, in nubbly blue wool, knitted by Pipany
• Several small grey model soldiers. Used to decorate a cake for James back in November and now bivvied in my mobile phone pocket. Note: mobile phone NOT in bag. Never is. Never know where it is.
• Gum shield (spare for James)
• Tampons in metal container and loose
• Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin cologne. Cheers me up.
• A scrunchie. Why? No idea.
• Several shopping lists, receipts, business cards, flyers
• A layer of dust.
That’s it. What does it say about me? I guess that I’m just another working mother: a bit disorganised, a bit haphazard; trying hard to be prepared for all eventualities (so maybe a bit anxious); phobic of phones; desperately wanting to write and be creative; too lazy to have a turnout; not particularly vain (note the lack of makeup and mirror) or is that just plain given up?
So, over to you. What is in your handbag? And (if you fancy) what do you think it says about you?
I reckon if you like this one, just go for it. But, in the spirit of tagging, I would love to know the innards of the bags of: