few weeks ago I posted this photo on Instagram. I wrote about what I had began to delve into here last week when I talked about sitting on the porch just wondering about life… I will write about the second half of the caption from this picture.
Not only has this past winter been rough for myself, but many of my friends have been in the dark trying to find their “happy place.” While I am a particularly stoic individual my heart goes out to them all. I write and tell my story for others to gain insight about their own lives by looking through the lens of mine. It can be to relate, to be entertained, gain insight/perspective, or even just to be distracted by good drama.
Looking back at this picture I was able to realize why I am able to talk and write about my own darkness so casually: it’s how I look at my own baggage. Next year I will be 30. At this point in life everyone I know has their own story that is filled with its own hurt and burdens. We take our thoughts, pain, and mess that is cluttered all around, stuff it into baggage, and it just sits somewhere in our hippocampus until something triggers thoughts that remind of them. It’s human nature to do this.
We all have baggage. How we handle our baggage is what separates us. The first mistake that people make is by thinking that they can get rid of it. You can’t. Accept that. Your brain doesn’t un-remember things. They stay with you and how one deals with it is the difference in things staying in our active memory or truly becoming something in our past that we forget about.
With that said, our luggage is only going to accumulate and get heavier. At times it gets too heavy and overwhelming. We often don’t want to deal with the hurt so our personal belongings weigh us down. Why? Because we don’t keep it moving. We don’t exercise.
The best way to handle our burdensome luggage is look at it like a bag on your back. The reason I am able to effortlessly carry my daughter on my shoulders for miles traveling to and from soccer is because all of last summer and fall everyday I carried a book bag that contained five pound weights, bags of beans, and liquor bottles filled with water weighing about fifty lbs. I’d walk around with it all day. Do chores, pick Cydney up, sit with it while I’m watching TV so that when I got up I’d have to lug it, and I’d walk a good three or four miles a day. It was kind of heavy at first, but eventually it felt natural. I felt like I could run and jump to the moon when I took it off. When it would get too light I would fill up more liquor bottles and continue.
After accepting that your baggage doesn’t go anywhere, the next step is to keep it moving. The more we walk around and exercise with our cases on our backs the lighter it becomes. It gets lighter and becomes a part of us. You may have started off with just walking around with it for five minutes, and in a time interval that works best for us we do so for longer. Soon you can run and jump with it. Eventually you don’t even notice that there is weight on your back. You are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready to take on more weight.
On the other hand, if one just sits there and lets the baggage accumulate. It will get too heavy and continue to accumulate. There is no movement on one’s behalf working with it. It gets too heavy and becomes a burden. This can be alleviated by simply just walking around with it–or working it out. We all have times where we do this. We need to just sit with our thoughts and adverse moments. Grieve (this is the part that I don’t do), and proceed to keep going. You can’t get stronger without pushing your body, mind or spirit to its limit. Your brain and body is able to handle much more than you can imagine. There is no such thing as baggage being too heavy that you can’t handle….Just know that you can do it.
When one’s cases get too heavy don’t be afraid to reach out or be receptive to those who want to help. Maybe they see one struggling and want to help hold the bags up while it is too heavy. Kinda like being a spotter, personal trainer, or just company to run with because they too are overwhelmed. Since everyone has their own issues you can help each other by keeping each other motivated. Fuck all of that “doing it by yourself” shit. Individual improvement and bereavement should never be a solo project. I know this all too well.
This in fact is why I am able to write about my hurt and talk about it effortlessly. My past is a part of me. It’s not going anywhere. I keep it moving. My flaw is not knowing my own strength…