Dragging Baggage

18f8d6bbabeadaf291971b7c3a5dd3edIt is all too often true we carry all our baggage with us everywhere we go, dragging it behind on wheels run down and bare from all the use they have seen.  If we reach any age at all, with any experience at all we have baggage it is impossible for any of us too get through life without it. What we do with all that luggage though, how we handle it that is an entirely different issue.

Fundamentally, I am a good person. I am kind, generous and loving to my family and friends.

That is how I would like to think of myself most of the time. My life hasn’t always been simple, nor has it always been easy. It has left me a bit banged up, physically and emotionally. I have a just a few scars; some of them are very visible, left on my body so every single time I look in the mirror I see them. When I see those scars, when I look at them in the mirror, my first reaction is to close my eyes, turn away as I think others would do when first gazing on them. Other scars, they aren’t so visible left on my heart and soul, though sometimes I think when I look in the mirror I see them too.

My reality is I am frequently less than secure about both my physical appearance and how lovable or deserving of love I am.

Recently I had to confront some of my baggage. One of the problems I have is acknowledging that anyone would be interested in what is on my mind, what might be truly bothering me and why anyone would care. For so long, for most of my life, my needs and concerns have taken a backseat to everyone else’s and I have been the caretaker. I have taken care of everyone else, I have been the breadwinner, the responsible one the person who had to be ‘strong’, even when I was the one injured I had to be strong for everyone around me. I got use to never asking for help. It became ingrained in me too not show weakness, not give in to fear and not talk about my feelings or ask for what I needed.

I learned I did not matter. I think what I learned is ‘I’ did not exist except to make other people’s lives easier.060410-travel1-kristen

That is a terrible lesson; it is a very hard truth to drag behind you on wobbly wheels with a bent frame. This is especially true when as a human being the natural instinct is to reject that lesson, to fight the loss of ‘I’, to want to be seen and heard, even when we might not know how to raise our hand or our voice. My instinct when something is wrong? To retreat into my head, if asked give half answers or no answer at all safe in the knowledge no one is interested, instead, they are asking just to be polite. Until very recently, this has been mostly the case. Conversations, even with friends and family have tilted toward one of two types. Either competitive ‘my pain is worse than yours’ where no matter what I said it always ended up about them, their pain, their sadness, their hardships. The other style is always the fixer, the person who listens to half of what I say and tells me how to fix it, in the process blames me for the problem. In both cases of course, they don’t really hear me aren’t really listening and clearly don’t really give two tinkers damn about how I feel, thus over the years I have learned it is far easier to simply live inside my head.

When we love, we offer our whole selves even the baggage. What we hope for is we can explain why it exists and that someone will help us drag it along behind us.

What is unexpected is, someone who loves us back and enough to say drop the baggage I am not your past or your bellhop; forcing us to confront our history and examine our behaviors in new light.

Our luggage often includes insecurities, bad behaviors and false fronts. If we are forced to lay down our baggage, open it up and throw out all the old ratty stuff we have packed away it can be a painful experience, even while we are lightening our load. We are not our insecurities, though they may have made up the extra weight they are not who we are at the core, they are simply what was added over the years by others. This was one of my hard lessons recently, I don’t know that it is entirely learned I am still insecure. I am still me, my history still lives firmly in my head and the voices still whisper, ‘not worthy, not lovable’. Nevertheless, I am learning slowly those voices are my history not my present and they are liars. I am learning also it is okay to be afraid, to show some weakness and to say I am both I am learning I don’t have to always be strong, I think this one is even harder to learn for me. I have spent so many years guarded, so many years not crossing emotional lines; I am still finding my way through this one.

dance

When I started this blog, I did so to give myself a release valve, for my thinking, my feelings, my history even. What I found was so much more, including the potential of love. Now I just have to learn to let my history go, let myself be loved and let my demons dance the way they deserve without the impediment of baggage.

Comments

  1. Such a beautiful reflection. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. ❤

  2. If we were to ever be roommates, we’d need a HUGE house, because there would need to be lots of room for all the luggage. I’ve got several matching sets worth. And a few mismatched sets as well. And a couple of old steamer trunks.

    And a little makeup case, but that’s another story for another time

  3. Heartwarming advice and empathy on the baggage issue . The load can be backbreaking.

  4. “let my demons dance the way they deserve without the impediment of baggage…”
    Bravo. Sounds freeing. Yes! ❤ ❤ Go for it. It's time.

  5. Although all of us carry baggage, another important aspect is how others view that baggage. Whereas someone may not be able to let go of their baggage, others chose to focus on it … then again, there are some who can see past it.

  6. Good post, Val. We all have baggage, especially at this age. It’s how we choose to live with it that matters, and whether we let all those suitcases define us, inundate us or take a back seat. I try to keep mine in the trunk so they don’t overrule my life.

  7. Val, I’m often left speechless after reading your eloquent posts, searching desperately to reply with some sense of intelligence but often unable to put two words together. Nevertheless I will feebly attempt by saying we seek validation to our own and others “baggage”.
    You are remarkable person!
    Sincerely,
    Nancy

    • Thank you Nancy. I often sit and noodle these for days, trying to express myself in terms I hope will let others see into my head, but will also allow others to relate to their own heart as well. I am always grateful when something I write touches people.

      As for baggage, I think the best any of us can hope for from lovers and friends is not that our luggage matches but that we can get matching luggage tags.

      Val

      • You have an impressive noodle. Your posts without a doubt have given me reason to reflect upon my own decisions for this I’m grateful.
        Better to light one candle, than too curse the darkness.

  8. Everyone carries some private baggage, even the seemingly most favoured. But there are some who have had to drag themselves up by their boot straps in order to confront that baggage. Your post will be an encouragement to those who feel it impossible to escape their bad stuff in life.

  9. Beautiful, beautiful post, Valentine. You are truly amazing for sharing this and I assure you that people most definitely care to hear your thoughts and both the wisdom and vulnerabilities/fears you’ve faced. That is what makes you a strong woman — not only because you pull yourself up and are strong for others when you may not feel that way — but because you CAN speak out on “the baggage”, the insecurities, the frustrations that we all certainly carry with us. Maybe this is your “safe” place to do that, but I hope you’ve been encouraged by the support you’ve received here to know it’s okay to let down your guard and reach out to people when you need it 🙂 xoxo

    • It is indeed my safe place and I have received an enormous amount of support and love here, teaching me there is a greater world than the one I had allowed to define me.

      As for asking in the world beyond this one, I am trying and I am learning. I don’t know if I am there yet but trying hard.

      XX

  10. Valentine, I read your post and felt your softness, searching, and strength. Yes, you might not realize it, but just letting out your feelings and allowing some vulnerability to show through with your thoughtful words, shows the strength of who you are. The old saying, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Allow it; enjoy it. Kick up your heels and toe-kick those bags of luggage. 🙂

    • I am trying hard to ‘enjoy’ it. The luggage on the other hand, I think I will simply work hard to unpack it.

      • Keep trying. It looks like you’re headed in the right direction. It took a long time to get to this point; it won’t take a short time to reach your goal, but, you’re working towards it. We all support you. And, with your strength of mind, you will make it. Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Sheez, if I let my baggage go there are gonna be a lot of people stubbing their toes on an enormous train wreck…. just saying.

    Baggage is all fun and games until you have to board a plane with it 🙂

  12. Yeah, in time, we all have to be baggage handlers. You know, we can’t let it hang out the sides all willy nilly. Some folk build walls with their bags, unfortunately.

  13. For some of us, showing weakness is difficult, and as a result we learn to keep the conversation focused on others rather than ourselves. We don’t want others to think there’s something we, too, might need. We can’t bear the vulnerability that comes with such a confession, so instead, we project a stronger outside than what might be lurking on the inside.

    Wonderful post as always, Valentine.

  14. I think this is a clear-headed look at baggage, Val. It’s unavoidable over time, but yeah, to move forward you have to learn to let go of it, and that is much harder to do than to accumulate it. The same principle applies to gaining weight. That’s when tuning into self-awareness is so essential. I think you’re onto that so you’re heading in the right direction.

    • It is somewhat like cleaning out the closet, moving the fat clothes to one side and the skinny clothes to the other. Then there are those between sizes, the ones we wear when nothing else fits.

      I don’t know, I think we all drag stuff around maybe we can’t help ourselves. It is what we do with it, how we offer it up.

  15. Beautifully written, Val. Your note about loving ourselves, including the baggage, is something I hope more women embrace. We all have our pasts and it makes us who we are today. HUGS!

  16. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  17. Not to be redundant. That was beautiful, good for you…you are worthy…

  18. What a beautiful thing to find. ❤ You are very loved, and you deserve every single scintilla of it. xxx

  19. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Beautiful …. we all have baggage!! Very well said ….

%d bloggers like this: