The Change

Lee Ann Sunnyby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown 


I’m going through the change and I hate it. It’s that time that a lot of women look to with dread and anxiety, and I count myself among them.

Change is always hard. It wakes us up to the harsh fact that time is passing. Spring in particular seems to bring these things to light, and we have no choice but to change with the time. This change forces us to come face-to-face with our true selves, not how we wish to be seen, but with the reality of who we are. We might fool most people a lot of the time—we might even be able to fool ourselves for a while, by refusing to acknowledge the evidence—but the truth is, there have been hints all along. We just choose to ignore them. However, the changing seasons of life eventually insist that we take an inventory of ourselves, and then we have to admit that just maybe we are not exactly the people we present ourselves to be. The proof is right there, hidden in the dark recesses of our handbags. Sure, to the outside world we are smart, successful, competent women, and we have the power handbag to prove it. But during the changing out of our winter handbags to the ones we use for spring, our inner lives are forced into the light, revealing us as the imposters we really are. I’m afraid that my handbag is like Dorian Gray’s portrait, that the “real” me will be discovered somewhere within all the contents of my purse.

It’s hard to face the fact that, contrary to all outward appearances, I am really an unorganized mess of undone to-do, grocery, and library book lists; unused and out-of-date coupons; old tissues; loose pieces of gum with fuzz and hair (cat and blonde) stuck to them; single arms to long-lost pairs of glasses; a lens to lost sunglasses; old tubes of Chapstick; empty tubes of hand cream; a pair of those pedicure footies; a pair of my earplugs; a pair of my daughter’s earplugs she asked me to hold for her (even though she has been away at college for this past year); something sharp that sticks my finger every time I lose my phone and shove my hand down in there to find it; broken pencils; and something black and sticky, probably a leaky pen. The thought of all this being a mirror of my life makes me start to feel hot and panicked; and then I remember the most important item of all: a little Xanax pill rolling around somewhere at the bottom of my purse. Although I have never actually had to use it, I panic if I can’t find it, and I can’t find it.

If it weren’t for the time-honored tradition of changing out your handbag with the change of the seasons, I wouldn’t have to face this messy side of myself. I could just go on pretending that I was the same “have it all under control” woman that the outside of my handbag says I am.

However, I relish the opportunity to turn over a new leaf, to once and for all become the woman I know I am, inside and out, the chance to be the handbag. I will first have to shop for a new handbag, because, after all, this is a new me; I can’t very well go back to an old-me handbag (but that is another story for another column.) It’s just a relief to know that I will have a clean, new bag to carry my organized life essentials around with me this spring. After going through a change that challenges us to take stock of things and offers the opportunity to gain more control of our lives, we come out a better version of ourselves, a new and improved version, sort of like a rebirth.

With all of that in mind, I nervously dumped out all of the contents of my old life to sort things out—the good from the bad—and it was such a relief to find that little Xanax rolling around in there. I guess going through the change isn’t going to be so bad after all.

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