Bag Lady

For those of you (unfortunate enough to be) following the Echoes Blog, you will know that I was viciously robbed of at least two weeks worth of posts and comments. Obviously I don’t have copies of my lost posts, except for Bag Lady – which I wrote on a flight between Jozi and Cape Town and saved in a MS Word doc.

So, this is a re-post.

I`ve written many posts about the strange, nebulous things concerning relationships and love – my own musings on the human condition, if you will. To that end, people think that I`m neurotic, complex and over-analytical. Fair enough *smile*

Ladies and Gents, I am not any of the above I assure you. I am way too organized, ambitious and A-type personality to leave room for that kind of chaos. But I am by nature an introspective creature. The reason for this is that I encounter situations and people in my life who make such great blogging fodder for this kind of introspective housecleaning. The human condition fascinates me, our resilience and ability to succeed in the face of impossible obstacles astound me and our seemingly limitless ability to inflict pain and despair on our fellow human beings saddens me although it doesn`t shock me. The reason for this intense introspection sometimes, is that I refuse to hold on to anything that is going to hold me back. I ‘aint no Bag Lady and if I was standing in that metaphorical airline check-in counter of life and was asked how many bags I would like to check in, my answer I hope would be a decided, None. Rather than carry around an overstuffed bag of issues, I`d rather discuss it, think about my role in it and then let go of it.

People have a capacity to pick up a lot of baggage, as a result of hurt and disappointment. I know I do. You probably do too. It is how we carry that baggage through life, however, that determines how happy we allow ourselves to be. Some people wear it proudly on their sleeves, like a mantra for their life. I`ve been hurt, which means I am entitled. Entitled to be rude, arrogant, shut-off and a drama queen. Others, however, try their best to see it for what it is and not hold on to it. Hand it over (preferably right back to the person that gave you the baggage in the first place).

I watched the Break Up (Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston) again last night at Kim`s insistence. It was the first time she watched it and she was bitterly disappointed at the ending. Having watched it a second time, I knew what was coming and was completely comfortable with the ending in fact, I found it bittersweet and nostalgic. The reality of the breakdown of a relationship was so vivid it was almost painful and although I couldn`t fully appreciate the extent to which love became loathing (I could never get to the point where I was purposefully hurtful towards my partner no matter how the relationship has degenerated), I could appreciate the last poignant moments of the movie where they meet after a certain time had passed and they speak to each other on the street. Their exchange is uncomfortably comfortable, purely because they`ve moved on. There`s no baggage and everybody`s ok. And there might not be love anymore, but there is certainly respect.

It is really unfortunate that some of us allow ourselves to remain unhappy because the prospect of change or something new just isn`t enough to shake our grip on all that is not right in our lives. We would rather deal with the devils we know, and allow them to control us, rather than learning to control them and even hope for something better in our lives. This goes past love – it has infected the very fiber of our society, which is apathetic and void of hope at best. I think that, while the prospect of finding love certainly brings out the best in us, sometimes it scares us, because being open to it might mean having to part with some of those longtime – and burdensome – bags we`ve grown so used to carrying around with us.

Recently, I was thinking how nice it would be to sit down with someone I was growing rather fond of. Trouble is, he can`t put down his bags long enough to stretch out on the grass beside me. And so here I am, making a decision not to have to deal with that. I cannot (and will not) help him shoulder a burden that he does not have to have. I`m not going to pick up your baggage and take it with me on our journey. *smile* I`m a big girl and big girls make important long-distance packing decisions.

I wish that he was brave enough to let go of the hurt that has become his safety net, that he had it in him to put those bags down for a moment and lift his head to see something good and worthy.

See, I am no Bag Lady…I endeavour never to be. I struggle, I rail and I fight when I get hurt. I analyse and question and search to overcome my fears and insecurities. But all in all I persist…because I am no Bag Lady. Unless it`s of the fine Italian hand-stitched kind.

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