No, this isn't a blog about the fact that I'm weird - true though that is. This is a short story. Partly me experimenting (sorry) and partly just getting stuff out of my head about the baggage we all carry and how that holds us back. Well, me, anyway.
You carry fear and memory in suitcases. Some are heavier than others, but you cling to them all. They bind your hands and weigh down your heart. You stumble over them on every path to the future. Yet you refuse to let them go.
Even the earliest fears are there. A pink vinyl baby-bag, tucked into the linen cupboard of your thoughts, dusty beneath neatly-folded trivia.
You begin with trauma and it underpins your life. Remember? From warm, slumberous blackness you push forth into aching brilliance. You seek to return to the safe-dark of ignorance and parasitic security, for the world seems too big, too cold, to bewildering.
You can’t. There are too many cases to carry.
Recognise this tattered backpack, emblazoned with lovehearts in coloured pen and glitter? This one holds hallways echoing with the high-pitched chatter of small, unaware little people, the smell of paper and urine, the tolerant weariness in your teacher’s face. Tiny desks and uncooperative pencils. Sports-time sweat and lunchtime insecurity. The boy you want to impress in fifth grade, but who never sees you. The friend who forsakes you for someone more exciting. A thousand petty slights pile in until your backpack bulges with cherished false beliefs.
No, don’t let those go. You need those. They balance the broken pieces of your parents’ baggage you also carry, doled out like bitter, unbaked cookies, each time you go home to their unmet expectations.
But there’s another bag, isn’t there? What’s in the steel, sequinned purse encasing a slow-beating heart? Ah…It’s all sly, sweet glances and furtive kisses with hot, impatient breaths mingling. Bodies alive and sensitised, desperate and afraid, wanting. The potential for pain multiplies a hundredfold. Now we can be hurt in ways we don’t even understand yet. We’re exposed in body and soul. We’re sharing more than giggled secrets now; we’re sharing the sweetness of our Self. A Self not fully formed or understood; vulnerable to the knives of hateful words, thrown by a precise and angry tongue. Who would have thought the heart could ache so deeply for so long? Let’s snap a silver lock shut around that organ. We’re armoured now. Good.
So here we stand, holding our baby-bag, our backpack, our purse, our brokenness; longing for a life less ordinary, more magical. We haul our luggage along the comfortable path to and from work each day. We live for the weekend, for the relaxation, the precious time to suck up the energy needed to cope with next week’s stress. We watch the flickering screens at night, living vicariously through fictional figures, envying their imaginary lives.
Incremental world-wreckers in our cocoon, we hide the potential to save ourselves in complaints about others. We build walls with our baggage, seeking the safe-dark, keeping the world out.
Wishing, we ‘if only’ our life away.
If only I had time to write that story. If only I could quit work and live off my art. If only I could save the world, change the world, change myself…
But where do I start? Where I spend my time and money reveals my focus. I’m working eight hours and wasting the rest on nothings. Why? I’m afraid to commit myself to loving the world, pain and all. I’m so burdened I’ve stopped moving. These heavy bags have zipped away hurt and passion together.
But I am not my job. Not my pain. I am my creative soul. I am free. If I choose I can release these burdensome cases. I don’t need to quit work to be free. I don’t need to relive every trauma to be a loving adult. I can decide who I want to be, what I hold, what I release, and what I want to create. Then I just have to do it.
In fact, I will.
I leave my luggage to circle endlessly on the conveyor belt of others’ expectations and walk away. Now I have two hands free to embrace the world. My heart is weightless. The darkness is there but I push free of it and shed the cowl of fear hiding my future; face the light, brilliant and painful.
Life cannot be lived backwards
I live in Australia - which tells you I have a sense of humour. We're a self-deprecating people, we Aussies. My aim is to, one day, vanish in a blinding flash of enlightenment. In the mean time, I'm doing my best to learn as many