As a kid I asked my mom what my sister did when she was sad. I was told that she went and laid in bed. I tried it, questioning if she really even did this.

My elementary school friends were obsessed with The Series of Unfortunate Events. From what I heard, the story was pretty dark yet funny. Yet when I began high school within similar perimeters, a girl propositioned something not funny at all. I remember she loved horses.

When the girl who loved horses and hated me asked if I was so depressed why wouldn’t I kill myself, I looked around the small, young room of my life and thought this isn’t big enough for me and horses.

Trans-Fixed, Chris Burden, 1974

In college, I was really attracted to performance pieces such as Trans-Fixed by Chris Burden, and Bite by Vito Acconci. Maybe moreso because of how masochistic their performances were while never being trivialized by public psychoanalysis. Burden nailed his hands crucification-style to a Volkswagen and Acconci recorded himself biting various parts of his contorted body. Their work was themselves and their public pain was tolerated, edible, and embraced.

Bite, Vito Acconci, 1970

How are some acts admirable, and some acts committable? I remember reading Tender Is the Night when my server told me about Zelda Fitzgerald, how she practiced ballet up to 8 hours a day, how she wrote great stories, and overall seemed very well-rounded. She was placed in a mental hospital, though her husband, equally if not more expressively ill and suicidal and did not receive help. There is an inappropriate amount of fear in women’s emotions, and an inappropriate tolerance for men’s.

So for now, we have bag culture.

Jane Birkin
Grace Kelly

A photo of Grace Kelly was made public of her hiding her pregnant stomach with her purse, creating The Kelly Bag.

These are the women that society adores. Their legacy is accepted in the form of bags.

Oftentimes I feel for the extra weight women must carry, internally and externally, pregnant and non-pregnant. I’m left wondering what Grace Kelly did when she was sad, what Fitzgerald’s friends responses were when he was sad, and if that girl who loves horses is okay.

Broken Eggs by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1725–1805