I am one of those women who almost never carries a purse. It wasn’t always that way, though I am thankful to find myself in that category at this point in my life, particularly after listening to the soul-scarring humiliation of being the owner of a messy handbag in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” a book turned play I had the joy of attending this week in the small cultural oasis I call home.
This comic tale has deep bouts of sentimentalism and sadness as it weaves through a woman’s life story with pivotal moments remembered by the dresses she wore. Alongside this tale of three marriages, multiple motherhood and the death of a child are comic interludes that portray the humiliation of bra shopping, the familiar feeling of having nothing to wear, the wounding words of a mother.
Why do I share this with you today?
The evening was poignant. Not only did the play uproot and make light of the judgements and double standards we all experience as women trying to find our own sense of self, but I’ve never seen such animated discussion go on in a room of 100 women for so long following a play.
The girlfriends around me asked questions of their own relationships with their mothers, fathers, husbands and bosses--telling stories of how those cultural norms and personal critics got passed down to generations, starting early with questioning how to dress a 2 year old grandchild (“We can’t go out with her dressed like that.”)
It made me think of you all--of my journey as a mom, of my girlfriends from college, of my enduring friendships with the women in my life--of our search for the simple life.