Susan Burrell

One Sip at a Time, Blog

The Orange Purse


I needed a distraction.  A reason to get up and get out of the house.  Emotionally, I was on very shaky ground.  Breathing deeply hurt my soul.  My thinking was on a loop of anger, sorrow, shame and blame.  I needed a diversion, something to do.

My car, without my conscious effort, found its way to the mall.  I say it was without any conscious effort because I knew I wasn’t fully in my body as I drove.  I was stuck in the loop in my head, sorting and discarding, in an effort to make the anguish less of a reality, so I wandered aimlessly through the mall, looking but not really seeing.  Listless and agitated by my current misery.

And then something cut through my malaise - something bright and colorful.  An orange purse! 

Now, mind you, being a red head, my mother insisted I looked best in browns and oranges. So, once I reached the age where it dawns on youth they don’t really have to do everything their mother tells them - like always wearing clean underwear in case you get into a car accident - I grew an aversion to brown and orange in any way shape or form.  I had nothing orange in my closet or in my home, yet this orange purse caught my attention. Why orange?  Why now?

I walked away.  I circled back.  I looked for any other kind of purse I might want … I picked up the orange purse … I put it onto my shoulder and wandered down the aisle.  It felt good … but the color - OMG!  I didn’t really need another purse.  Especially an orange one!  So why now??

Internally, I had been working on reclaiming pieces of myself I had given away during my marriage.  Pieces of my true self I had when I entered into the marriage. 

I think often we go back to our past to see where we went wrong so we could re-write our story in order to change the ending.  Was I doing that by being distracted by an orange purse?  Perhaps. I wanted to go back to a time where I was innocent, where I listened to my mother and all her “wisdom.”  Had I listened would I have been so miserable and disempowered in my marriage?  Would I have married at all?  Was that what the color orange was saying to me?  Go back to your youth, to the time before you married when you had more self-esteem and you felt like you were a rising star. 

I never really answered that part for myself.  I do feel like I reclaimed all of the better pieces of myself by navigating my divorce in a conscious and growth-oriented way.  But orange? 

As I strode out of the store having purchased the orange purse, the only reason I could give myself to this day is it made me laugh.  And I really needed a laugh!