“Don’t worry miss, we all got this kind of baggage.”

via WeHeartIt.com

I am talking about toothbrushes and towels.

She is talking about misguided directions and failed friendships.

We are both talking about baggage and so we resolve to meet somewhere in the middle amidst a tangle of toiletries, Heavy Feelings and carry-on items.

The decision. To either focus on the tangible things: the items that will soon be packed up in my New York-bound suitcases along with the “necessities” that I will load into a clutch for a night out. Yes, those easy things: the lip gloss, the passport, the camera.  Or the real baggage. The Sometimes Clunky Stuff That No One Wants To Admit To Carrying.

I sometimes wonder how it would feel to be surveyed for this kind of baggage in the airport. “Excuse me, Miss” the security guard would say as I walked through the metal detector only to encounter a shrill beeping. “Please empty your pockets or anything on you that might be causing the alarm.

Out come a few stray pieces of a heart. A couple melodies sunken deep in my pockets. A few battered conversations that I tried so hard to forget. A pack of unexamined decisions. Too many stories that are missing their endings.

The security guard might stare at me, shake his head and turn away, but I like to think that he would be human. He would say, “Don’t worry miss, we all got this kind of baggage.”

I used to pack the most illegitimate stuff into my suitcases. Books that I had not picked up for years, but might find the time to during this vacation. Love letters that did not need my eyes to scan them one more time, especially while laying out by a poolside. Stuffed animals even when I had long outgrown the need to have one at night. All this baggage that served me no purpose and no longer reflected who I was as a person. And Yet I Clutched It.

You see, my baggage does a poor, poor job of reflecting who I am as a person today.

Yes, the pain and joy and wonder of some relationships and happenings in our lives make us who we are, but there is no need to keep carrying the stuff much long after it provides us with a new piece of our character.  Oh, we could carry these conversations in our hearts forever. We could wake up every single morning and trace the syllables and examine the ways in which we swear that “goodbye” was an inadequate sense of closure, but those are some Heavy Sentences. Those Are The Hard Rocks  at the Bottom of Our Suitcases. Those are the instances in our lives when we realize that punctuation does serve a radical purpose. Commas are good. Semi colons are better. But Periods Are Best… in some cases that is.

I sat down to tea with a good friend last week. Three cups of tea to be precise. And we engaged in sharing stories to bridge the time we had spent apart from one another. And as I geared up to tell her a story that she had been waiting to hear I realized how tired I was of telling it. My tongue grew tied before the words even left my mouth. My head began pounding before even reaching the beginning, never mind the climax. And so I resolved to tell the story one last time and never let it touch another ear again. Because that is the truth to some stories: They are not fit to define us. We should stick with the ones that never tailored us to be Too Small.

Oh goodness, can you see them coming? They are just over the horizon and they are carrying capital letters in their arms. They are people just waiting to begin a new story with us in mind. And I already know I don’t want to reach out my hand and leave the crumbs of old stories and hard lessons learned in their palms. I want them to know the version of myself that came out of those stories. I want them to know that some trashcan somewhere holds the memories and some dump yard elsewhere holds the pain. And that I took the resolutions and I walked.

Walked away.

I want them to know that I learned a valuable lesson in elementary school. That I never forgot what existed on the chalkboard as when I was a knobby-kneed second grader folded up in Aesop’s Fables: To take the moral of a story but to leave the rest. To pack the towels but to leave the mess.

21 thoughts on ““Don’t worry miss, we all got this kind of baggage.”

  1. Leaving the heavy baggage behind is especially useful in times of light traveling and luggage restrictions on airplanes 😉

    This is so true though. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, NYC! In August.. I am so very excited.

      And jeepers, I really do hope that I pack light and then leave with even less stuff.. actually, scratch that. I am never leaving!


      Hannah Katy

  2. Does your genius ever overwhelm you?

    I hate those good stories, the stories with substance, that are told so often they lose their meaning or their power. I struggle with that as well. I do not like repeating the same story and I do not like hearing the same one on a regular basis.

    You are correct (surprise, surprise) again. We all have baggage. Some pack much lighter than others, but we all have something.

    Keep writing, opening minds and changing worlds.

    1. Well thank you for the incentive to do so.. Your comments always always always push me to keep writing.

      And I don’t think I would call this genius ha ha. Though that is a pretty handsome compliment (thank you). I think I am more so overwhelmed by the abundance of ignorance in the world today and lack of internal journeys that I see no other option but to write and hopefully turn a few heads… Because sitting around and watching the world today.. that, my friend, is the overwhelming part. How does that sound? ha ha.


      Hannah Katy

  3. “Yes, the pain and joy and wonder of some relationships and happenings in our lives make us who we are, but there is no need to keep carrying the stuff much long after it provides us with a new piece of our character.”

    This is absolutely perfect. I think there is a lot to be said for using the past to shape our future selves, but once we get there, we don’t need to hang on to it. Very well said 🙂

    1. I am actually reflecting on this very quote today, even though I wrote it! Ha ha, I actually let it spill onto the keypad yesterday and I said out loud, “Oh my goodness, I get it now..” Isn’t it great how we can reach such profound revelations just by trying to write in a way that others relate to us? I think a lot of us could learn this lesson.


      Hannah Katy

  4. As I’ve matured into a wise old lady of 30, my baggage has lessened. Actually that is not true, I’ve just gotten better at carrying it. It is all there, but it is lighter, more manageable, and just like all I need for a trip abroad or a week in the country, it all fits in my aero-dynamic carry-on suitcase.

    1. I really like the way you put that, “I have gotten better at carrying it.” Touche.

      And I am in the process of doing just that, making it all more manageable- organizing, balancing and compacting.


      Hannah Katy

  5. ash – “to pack the towels but to leave the mess.”

    i agree with the comment above me (emily jane). but i really like that last line. fantastic imagery.

  6. It’s so tough to leave our baggage behind as we move onto new parts of our life. We want to have a fresh start, but our past will always stay with us wherever we go.

    I hope you can let your past go as you move onto your fabulous future in NYC.


    1. Oh I think it is quite manageable! Thank you love. It is a comfort to know that our pasts stay with us sometimes.. They are part of the portfolio that make us who we are.


      Hannah Katy

  7. You are wonderful at creating imagery for a concept… this was so beautifully put. There is one particular time in my life that I knew I should put a period at the end of the memory, but I never seemed to be able to. After letting an event shape us, sometimes it is better to leave behind in the past. I was finally able to do it, and it was one of the best feelings to finally “beat” it.

    1. So happy to hear that.. Isn’t that the best when we can finally close a door? And thank you for the sweet compliment, I am sucker for imagery.. I love to play with it.


      Hannah Katy

  8. I LOVE THE WAY YOU WRITE! I say this in every comment but I can’t get over how talented you are at this craft. I can picture every single word you write. Amazing.

    I’ve been feeling this way a little bit, lately, like I’m holding onto my past because I’m too afraid what letting it go might lead to. It would mean change, big change, and that scares me. But I think it might be time to just let go, have a little faith, and see where it leads me to.

    Thanks so much for blessing me with your writing.

    1. Stephany: You never fail to make me stumble of your comments.. Thank you so much for the continued support and kind feedback. It means the world. And I think you are on the right track– I feel like I am in a similar spot alongside you. Understanding what should be let go but also seeing the change that could come out of it.. But I have been making some strides even in just this past week and I feel like a new person for doing so. I encourage you to embrace the change.. embrace leaving the baggage behind. I know you have such good stuff waiting in the future for you.. Why not make the trip towards with an even lighter load?


      Hannah Katy

  9. Your words leave me speechless every single time. I am going to have a serious problem if writing is not a HUGE part of your future. To be honest, a lot of blogs lose my attention,. I get bored and move on. But every one of your posts keeps me reading to the end. I really think you have a gift. Don’t lose it.

    I struggle a lot with baggage too. I often never realize I am carrying so much until someone else points it out to me. Harsh wake up calls.

    xoxo Lole

  10. oh my goodness – the line about telling the story so many times that even you’re over hearing it leave your mouth is so true.

    what a great piece – i related to every single word and am currently trying to let go of my baggage and the part where you write about not wanting to have crumbs for the new people in your life is amazing imagery that i will actually be using as motivation to move on!!

    thrilled to have found your blog!

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