Wednesday, October 22, 2008

......BAG LADY......


"You don't want to be the type of girl who has a lot of baggage."

People always use that term; BAGGAGE. We tell people to stay away from the guy with the crazy ex-girlfriend cause of the "baggage" or a man shudders when he finds out that his object of desire has "Daddy issues" because that means more, "baggage." Any type of spawn, leaching family member, stalking ex, emotional damage or bitterness = baggage. And really, the list can go on, baggage comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Friends warn us, steer clear O' the baggage.

It's like we're all supposed to somehow avoid having bags.

Before my trip I stood in front of my suitcase and stared at it for about 20 minutes, trying to visualize what it would look like to roll my clothing into such tiny balls that it'd actually fit into my pea sized suitcase. First off, I suck at visualization, mental images have no room in my brain full of rantings. When the suitcase was finally full, it was amazing how much I could actually FIT into a carry-on suitcase, that's smaller than my torso. In one tiny bag, I had enough to last me over a month and enough that from one sweater change to the next could completely change "my look." What's in our bags (both literally and figuratively) can be a wide range of things that express different parts of you...and your story thus far.

Then, the other night when I was having wine with a girlfriend she mentioned "baggage." Having it, not wanting it, not having it, whatever....the whole thing became this discussion about;

is having baggage avoidable??

For instance, sure I could have gone to Europe without my carry-on and I could have rocked one outfit the whole time, but bringing my yellow hat and my checkered scarf gave me some character. Whatever was in my bag wasn't a NECESSITY, in fact, most things aren't. The things in my suitcase were just little expressions of ME....and essentially, isn't that part of what baggage is??? A handy way to carry around those "extras."

None of us want to carry around a bag full of bricks, that's simply too exhausting. But to say you have, at one time, carried around a bag full of bricks....doesn't that add to your character as a person now? Can't you see the strength in your arms and feel the occasional pinch in your back because of that "silly bag of bricks." Your back aches and your stories from carrying that piece of luggage around made you, just a bit stronger in mind and in body.

We ALL have baggage. In some form. We've each carried around different shapes, different colors, different varieties of baggage and somewhere along the line we've lost a bag, traded a bag or "emptied the load."

Having baggage isn't the problem, it's simply how you deal with it.


In my bags I have a long, lengthy and tumultuous heartbreak. I have a piece of LA and a piece of New York. I've let friends hop in and take a ride, I've zipped them up and carried them around, then let them go when it was time. Sometimes the bags were empty, just for show- for flair. Sometimes they were heavy, they bruised my legs each time I carried them up the stairs, pressed against my thigh and sometimes, they were light as a feather.

In my bag I have carried feathers and I've carried boulders. I've appreciated when they were light but knew that if I ever had to carry something else I'd be able to, because I'd done it before and there was nothing too heavy that I wasn't able to handle.

Part of living our lives is learning that no matter how "heavy", burdensome....or inconvenient something is; it's only temporary, and part of our lesson is learning how to carry on whatever it is that we're lugging around and do it gracefully. People don't always need to know how heavy things are getting and sometimes you may need to take a rest, unzip and let some things GO.

My bags are my accessories, I'm unashamed and drag them about proudly. I mean, imagine how boring it'd be if we didn't HAVE any bags?......I like knowing I can open one up and look over it's contents, then choose whether or not I want to bring any of them out.

So tell me, what are you carrying around in YOUR "baggage"??

32 comments:

emaura15 said...

In my bags I carry a fire fighter I keep trying to forget and his maybe-someday bride. I have my best friend and her maybe-cheating boyfriend. I have sorority drama. I have best friends and old friends. Mostly, I have family. While I may be an over-sharer, I'm not an over-packer! I can eliminate what isn't important.

What is important right now is taking care of said BFF and making sure I have as much fun as possible, whenever possible! It's baggage I don't mind carrying around.

discotrash said...

You know its strange my boyfriend while awesome and amazing is almost devoid of bags and it makes me... nervous. either he's the zen master or he doenst care about anything.

nicoleantoinette said...

I have family stuff that I don't really deal with, and probably a hell of a lot of other stuff that I don't deal with as well.

sid said...

Hmmm well I have decided that whatever comes my way I won't allow it to make me bitter. If I don't get the dream job, my husband cheats on me etc. I'll cry as much as I need to but I won't hang onto the pain. I'll try to dust myself off and learn something from it.

wee-h said...

Mine are packed away in an attic most of the time, at times of insecurity tho, the hatch seems to pop open and they fall down all dusty. Ex's, friends, family and generally feeling like im losing out in life are all packed away up there whilst i keep a happy smily face to the world. Thats my baggage.

jaime. said...

I adore your blog and writing style! The way you allowed literal and figurative baggage to intertwine and explain and supplement one another is phenom ;) I have to think about what's in my baggage because I generally like to just stuff it away under the bed or something adaptive like that.

Essentially Me said...

Shoes, shoes and more shoes. Oh, and handbags.

Wait, that's what you meant right? :P

cessie said...

Not an answer to your question, but I love how you look at it. :) It's not what you carry, it's HOW you carry it... and I guess learning the right time to open up the bag or not.

As for me, the concept of baggage as a psychological unavoidability is funny, because in my experience, we seem desperately afraid of losing our luggage as we go along, too...

This metaphor came at a serendiptious time, I have to say. I'm off to Rome tonight... :) And in my luggage is mostly stuff I feel comfortable in.

cessie said...

Oh hey. what IS the difference between baggage and luggage, anyway? I just realized that I interchanged the words... :)

Herding Cats said...

My baggage consists of:
- 2 major heartbreaks, 3 or 4 minor ones, my father's stroke and concurrent life with a disability, an angry brother, a worn out mother, and the 300 or so students I've had the privelege to teach (and pick up on THEIR baggage). But you are right. It's how we carry our baggage. I'd like to think my baggage is in a large, sturdy suitcase....red too. You write beautifully by the way!

Hillbilly Duhn said...

Very well said.

With that, I carry around an ex husband, and family issues. Though, I always try to look on the brighter side of things. Sometimes though, whether it's a feather or a boulder, you drop it. That's just the way it is. And you're 100% correct in saying "It's all in how you deal with it."

Again, well said.

Trixie Firecracker said...

Enough issues to keep every therapist in the country employed for the next few years.

Steph said...

What a great post and it is so true. People shouldn't be ashamed of their "baggage". It is how you deal with your baggage that makes you the person you are today. I really got a lot out of this post.

Jem1896 said...

Two words: STUDENT LOANS. For seven years of education that was supposed to mean I would make more money. Not heavy emotional baggage, but financially? It can weigh a girl down.

schemaloo said...

You definately have a way with words. I have noticed that some people just can't get those bags zipped,or once zipped can't get them unzipped. I think therein lies the problem.

Bring Your Own Baggage said...

Hey Chelsea

I have tons of baggage that I'm proud to wear as my accessories. They have made me a bolder and stronger person for sure.

One piece of baggage that still seems to weigh me down though is that I let guys affect me too much. I used to be really bad and would tend hang out with my boyfriend or a guy I liked over my friends or let it affect my moods etc. I have stopped most of that outward behavior, but it still happens a lot inside and I just don't show anybody. I don't change my behavior as much as I used to, but I still want to.

Sometimes though, I still change just a little bit, to the point that no one notices. Its like if no one notices, than I wont get in trouble, but deep down, its still there and it bothers me. Its like that old blanket or ugly teddy bear that you know you don't need anymore, but you still hide in your suitcase and take it out when you're feeling weak and vulnerable.

Too bad I never admit that ever. Oye.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Bring your own baggage- Ah yes the ugly teddy bear or old blanket....I understand, I have a few of those as well that I pull out when I'm feeling a bit lonely....vulnerable. I think everyone has had or HAS one of those....

Kim said...

I love this post. It's so true, and its timing in my life absolutely perfect.

Lynn said...

I don't let the baggage weigh me down as much as I used to. I think I used to weird guys out with the amount of baggage (usually from past boyfriends, crazy mother issue etc), now its quite the opposite. I think its how you handle it that matters most.

just me said...

All my baggage is designer.

Kyla Bea said...

I care about people a lot - so a lot of my baggage is hand me down or second hand. I'm carrying my own but also other peoples', something I have to try to stop doing.

My bags also carry around my high school boyfriend, but I make sure that the image of him I have with me is when he was sweet and young before things turned. If I have to carry him with me, it might as well be the version of him I liked.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I try to avoid baggage like the plague.

Surfergrrl said...

I try not to think of it as baggage, just a whole of experience. :)

Sara Jane said...

I love this post Chelsea. It's so true. Everyone has things from their past that stay with them. It's what makes us who we are.

Fabulously Broke said...

It's so true. Our past makes us who we are.

Alexis M. said...

I've been too busy to check and see for a while...

:)

Greta said...

"Baggage" is only a state of mind.

One persons baggage can be another persons desire.

Don't you think?

Michelle said...

Oh, the baggage! Thank you for posting this Chelsea! I am fresh out of my most recent heartbreak and looking into online dating. The number of guys that mention "baggage" or "drama" makes me uncomfortable. It's because of everything you said. Yes, I have baggage, but at 32- WHO DOESN'T?? It's unavoidable and what happens when we LIVE and LOVE. So, thanks for this. I am going to have to refer people to this post when they comment about baggage in the future. Beautifully written, as always.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Michelle- Cheers to your new singledom lady, wear your baggage proudly ;) And thank you :)

JK said...

Beautiful Post.

I'm carrying my ex who slept with my roommate, my mom and her baggage, a song to match every heartbreak and the shoes and haircut I bought each time as well!

Rebekah said...

Baggage? Heehee.

Ex-fiance. Many ex-boyfriends, including hitters, cheaters, liars, lovers. Certain health conditions. Chemical dependency. Too many coats?

But as we say over at SGB... Carrying it around only makes me stronger.

Sassy Molassy said...

My baggage is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of men and commitment and relationships. Fear of getting too close and losing my independence. And ultimately, fear that this fear of losing my independence will allow me to be alone, forever.

 
ss_blog_claim=1c43e45eb4927c96edea5f154138fe95