Everyone has baggage. Everyone. Some carry bags as small as coin purses; others the size of a dumpster. While I’d like to say mine is wallet size, given a long, complicated life, it’s probably more of a satchel. Of course, I’d have to count make-up, keys with fuzzy pom poms, and all the just-in-case stuff in there, too, but still.
Each piece that piles into our bags, each painful, awkward piece, built our lives one way or the other. Stuff you did – or stuff that was done to you. Unresolved emotional issues, traumas, hurts and habits from growing up or adult years, all shape and mold us. They also add up, if not tended to, and morph into pretty hefty knapsacks we lug around with straps cutting into our shoulders. The weight alone, let alone the memories, trip us into withdrawing, or holding back in relationships that just might expose what the heck we’re carrying. Sometimes, we can’t even remember what is stuffed in that bag — but it remembers us.
When you bring past baggage into the present, it might be a short trip.
If we choose our friends, based on how much baggage they bring to the table, there might be a short list on the invite list. Choosing our partners, based on the skeletons in their backpacks, can be a smart as well as sketchy since it allows us to either dodge a bullet or — a potentially wonderful relationship. Life has a habit of piling a lot of stuff into our humanoid valises and it’s up to us to know the amount of weight we can carry without breaking – as well as if we can help carry another’s.
When cancer decided to drop in before our marriage vows, it grew my husband’s baggage to industrial size proportions. That kind of load can break all the snaps and zippers of budding married life. Luckily, we both just grabbed an end — and kept moving forward. But, that doesn’t work in every situation – nor should it. Just like group travel tours, we’re each in charge of our own suitcase and we’re the ones who have to carry and unpack it. That’s why your tour guide cautions you to travel light.
Everyone has baggage, maybe we should help each other carry it.” Rob Liano
How much does your life weigh? Now there’s a heavy question. Depending on all the ‘stuff’ we jam into it, our bag can be one damn heavy load, certainly too much for puny shoulders to carry for a lifetime. (and this is coming from a chick whose purse alone could use a rollaway wheels.) Unexpressed feelings, long held hurts and bad habits pile one on another. Past baggage weighs down our present.
Relationships can be the city dump of baggage. Sometimes you’ll get a widescreen, technicolor view of a potential partner’s heavy duty baggage; sometimes it’s the unsuspecting moving van of tattered boxes and bins that blindside you. But, then someone offers you an honest inventory of even the most difficult, messy baggage they’ve painfully carried, and it gets your attention — even your heart. When someone is able to identify, unpack, deal with and grow from all the ponderous stuff they’ve been lugging around, ah, that’s a person you can trust and open your heart to. When we’re able to introspectively shake out our own backpack of weighty history and evolve in the process, that’s a trifecta of happy.
If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.
We all carry a tad — or a ton — of stuff culled from the process of living. I sure have my share of awkward baggage; insecurity, grief, divorce all disguised in cute, matching luggage. We may know how our ‘stuff’ got there, but not how not to stop it from growing into a full blown steamer trunk. Mistakes are made, and addictions, bad habits and choices, wrong loves, wrong roads happen. Few, if any, escape filling at least a fanny pack but the size counts less than the weight of even the smallest thing that can sink us like cement shoes. Choices about what to do with all our ‘stuff’ comes either by free will — or tornado.
We all have baggage. It’s how we carry it that defines us. P. Jordan
Baggage is as individual as the person who carries it. Family dysfunction, emotional, physical, verbal abuse can’t be kept unopened in the overhead compartment forever. Sometimes our own baggage just starts opening up on its own. Ooops. That hissy fit you had today? It might simply have been bad day. Then again, when knee jerk reactions happen more than comfortably, listen close and you might hear old tapes playing in your head. Though old experiences, old baggage has little to do with the present, that never stops baggage from replaying them. And when we run current experiences through the lens of past issues, boom!
What you are you will carry with you. Louis L’Amour
Ditch the decrepit, falling apart suitcases. What’s in there won’t help you today. Dumping them out is good start but not a quick fix. Even if you know what you’ve been lugging around and why, it’s not enough to just unload it. We’ve got to figure out how to stop the damn bag from filling up again! Choose whatever works to take the weight off your shoulders, your heart, your mind. Therapy, journaling, meditation, support groups all help keep all the unmanageable junk out of the bag. Some things, like that bulky umbrella or parka are temporary weight; some things never seem to leave the bag. But it doesn’t matter where you start; if unpacked right, it will all sort itself out.
The journey is inevitable. Baggage is optional. Tev Aliage