Purse

I had it for years. Sandy colour with shiny silver embroidered brand logo on the face. A single popper to keep it shut and a zip down the edge for coins. It opens up with slots for cards. I really, with all honesty, did not know whether to call it a wallet or a purse. The zipper has a material tag on it for zipping the coin pocket shut and so I wouldn’t call that part a wallet. I really find it hard to distinguish the difference.

I didn’t, at the time, have an intended use for it. I bought it because I liked it. I was in Bristol city at the time and I saw it in the shop. I didn’t really need anything new, I already had nondescript material wallet that I’d probably call a life style wallet, I think it was blue, we are talking about eight or ten years ago, but it was probably unisex to some extent. This one though, to me, was all feminine. I remember deciding when I got it home that I would likely keep it for those Hannah days and I couldn’t see me using it for day to day use. There was a hint of terror back then at the mere thought of using it day to day and at the time Hannah days were becoming few and far between – it mostly became comfortable in it’s own bed in the bedside table, not getting used.

I kind of felt sad about it every time I opened the draw realising this purse-come-wallet that I really like was just not getting used. Several years on it was still in perfect condition, its puffiness with the material pleated at the edges and the silver embroidered writing still glistening brightly with feminity. While I might struggle to decide on the word wallet or purse now, thinking back to how I viewed this thing back then, it clearly had the vibrancy of being a purse, only because I associate the word so strongly with feminity.

It doesn’t really seem like it should matter what its defined as but what was important at the time was how I defined it in my own head as it stopping me using it. Using something I really liked. The reality is, though, that I needed not to redefine it as a wallet or something neutral or masculine but to keep the definition of what I thought it was to me and just enjoy using it, not being embarrassed about what other people might think – after all if I change the definition of it in my own head I might just not like it anymore. It might just mean something else to me.

When my last material wallet wore out a few years ago, which was a present and really quite unisex and I enjoyed using it, I opened the bedside draw, rummaged around and pulled it out from between all the underwear, gloves and odd bits of clothing that just didn’t suit being stored anywhere else in the bedroom. It was a bit like that advert from Christmas just gone when the woman puts away her childhood imaginary friend only to go back to the wardrobe later, as an adult, to find the little blue monster was still there hiding between the clothes – we all cried and judged her for putting the monster away in the first place. The purse was still there all crisp and new, hardly used.

Like somethings that get put away and forgotten we usually find them again a bit worn from being pushed around over the years by other objects or the material stained from a leaking pen or smelling of ageing and out of date make up. It thankfully wasn’t and unlike clothes it wasn’t something that I would out-grow.

All this is now a past memory and conflict. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I pulled the purse out of my jacket pocket while standing in the queue in a shop for coins to spray all over the floor where the stitching had come away from the edge and let the coins out of the side. To some extent it was a good piggy bank as at the end of the week I might find several coins in the bottom of my bag or in the pocket of my coat where it had literally leaked money. It is, as you can imagine, very well used now. I use it every day that I need to take it and as the rest of it is still looking so good I carefully stitched up the new slot that had developed alongside the coin pocket so it no longer sprays money at people willingly.

Life is too short to allow pretty little things to get stuck in the draw waiting to be tattooed by incontinent pens or ripped by angry scissors.

Until next time.

Hannah x

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