When it comes to bags, I will passionately defend the use of totes, even when I have to carry around an impractical amount of stuff (being a tote bag lover and a chronic over-packer has its downsides). In my bag, you will usually find…
1. My AirPods (in a pink case, of course). I use these to listen to Hozier on repeat.
2. Polar Ice Extra gum. I always seem to want gum when I don’t have any, so now I keep it in my bag. Funnily enough, I hardly ever want it anymore.
3. Moisturizer. I’m on Accutane. Need I say more?
4. A snack. Pictured are freeze-dried strawberries, but my other favorites are pretzels. At one point it was a full-sized pizza bagel from my school’s dining hall.
5. My claw clip. My hair is too thick for most claw clips, so I’ve been obsessed with this XL one ever since I found it.
6. My water bottle. This thing goes with me absolutely everywhere, no matter how heavy it makes my bag. Do I ever drink enough water out of it? That’s debatable. But I love its presence.
7. An extra mask. I’ve lost too many masks during this pandemic to not carry extras. At least I’m self-aware.
8. A nose ring receipt. Honestly, I threw this in my bag when I got my nose ring switched out a week ago and forgot about it. I need to clean this thing out more often.
9. My dorm key and chapstick. I keep these on a carabiner so I can clip them onto my jeans (if the key is physically attached to me, I can’t lose it). As far as the chapstick goes — thank you, Accutane.
10. My umbrella. My hair does not handle the rain well, so I am always prepared.
11. My wallet. This one is self-explanatory, although half of the gift cards in there are used.
12. A portable charger. I forget to charge this up before leaving my dorm most of the time, but I like to think it has saved the day once or twice.
To some extent, representing myself in a catalog of the stuff in my bag is a form of writing. Writing, at its core, exists to share ideas and stories, and this photo does exactly that — if someone were to look at the photo without context, I think they could get a decent surface-level idea of who I am (I can accept the fact that the contents scream “basic college girl”). Even if the items in my bag were to leave someone unsure, the design on the bag itself fits my personality. However, I believe the story of this photo is enhanced by traditional story-telling, whether in physical writing or verbal communication. If you want to truly get to know someone, you need to swap ideas and stories with them rather than just looking at what they lug around with them all day, whether it’s discussing the story behind each item or a completely different topic.
To make this assignment, I chose the things I carry around with me most often. These items — in addition to a few others, such as my laptop — float around between my favorite tote bag and my school backpack, so I had to decide which ones were the most important to showcase. I then laid everything out on my dorm floor, making sure the objects were arranged in a way that brought attention to the design of my bag. Honestly, this was the most difficult decision I made during this assignment because while I don’t find the carpet to be an appealing background, it was the only viable option in my tiny room. Lastly, I annotated the photo on my iPad to add a personal touch.