I found my old facade in a Kate Spade purse


Kiera Kemppainen

A corner of my newly cleaned room where I feel like I’m finally picking up the pieces.

I cleaned out my strawberry-patterned Kate Spade purse this week. I found a small picture that brought back memories as fast as a flash flood. 

I was taken back to a night in a wood-paneled kitchen in the middle of the woods. I cut out the photo from a preview of my friend’s school photo. We’re not quite friends anymore. All the memories between that fateful night and the day that I took that photo out of my phone case and placed it into my purse overwhelmed my brain.

The late nights in that same kitchen felt like eating store-bought cookie dough that I half-hated but ate just because it was there. The kitchen memories are as sweet as the sprinkles I would put on my ice cream there. Even when I remember the sizzling pizza from their oven, the kitchen still tastes sugary.

I know I’ll never be the girl I was before that time period, so I am slowly finding my way to who I am meant to be now instead of who I was then.

I feel nostalgic until my “One Year Ago Today” Snapchat memories show up. I find selfies with stupid filters in the kitchen that make my skin crawl. I remember how it felt to try to be a different person just to fit with the others in that photo. In these photos, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Photos from the fair with them in summer could not be more different. With my personality, my appearance changed too.

I found mirror selfies from my Snapchat story that make me want to cry. The mirror is too round and the background is too teal to not be reminded of it when I look at my own mirror. Now, when I look at my teal vanity with a round mirror, I get brought back to dying hair flaming red in a bathroom thirty minutes from my own. I’ll remember being ready to stand in the shower and drench my clothes to get the dye out of my friend’s hair.

In that way, I haven’t changed at all.

I would still jump in a shower and flood my sweatshirt for a friend. Even if my personality was a barrier for protection in those photos, my actions brought me through. Most of the time, I hate that I had to pretend to be someone else to keep friends, but in the end, I am grateful. 

I am thankful for a friendship ending in tears that brought me back to the people I pushed away but never had to make a facade for. I am grateful for the genuine laughs even if I wasn’t genuinely myself. I am not upset with the petty fights and late-night talks that changed me into who I am now. 

I know I’ll never be the girl I was before that time period, so I am slowly finding my way to who I am meant to be now instead of who I was then.

Her clothes are in a bag in my basement waiting to be sold. Her books are being retired from my bookshelf. Her mess of a room is being cleaned. Her tidy mind is here no more, but my mess of a mind will figure it all out.

I’m not meant to be the person I once was or tried to be, so I clean my room’s inanimate inhabitants and welcome the memories that come for closure.