“Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.”
Or help you carry the damn thing.
Regardless, this quote is truly insightful and inspiring.
Whether it’s a dysfunctional upbringing, growing up in a frowned-upon postcode, lack of financial means, being bullied, a string of unhealthy relationships, a poor outlook in life, etc, we all carry a combination of insecurities that we tend to mask when we meet people. We parade around like there is nothing wrong and that we are holding everything together.
Or are we?
Am I the only one who’s barely holding it together? Despite my independence and achievements, am I the only one who struggles to juggle everything life throws at me on top of all the emotions and uncertainties that I have to deal with?
Let’s get real here. If you’ve never had to carry a burden in your life, then that makes me wonder if you’ve ever lived at all. How else would you know if your mental and emotional muscles work and how strong they are? Surely you have existed, but living and existing are two very different things. Quoting the celebrated novelist, Charles Bukowski, “some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
What truly horrible lives they must lead. Such a profound conjecture. And one that I strongly agree with. I almost feel sorry for people who claim to have been smoothly sailing through life without encountering storms that could have potentially sharpened their compass that would help them navigate their deeper thoughts. I feel sorry for people who have never had to carry their own weight, having depended on everyone else around them at every opportunity. I feel sorry for people who blindly concede to societal norms to be accepted. Society has evolved to preach that suffocating feelings, insecurities, individuality and the truth are synonymous to being hip. To being cool. To belonging.
I feel sorry for people who have never accumulated baggage throughout their lives because it means they have never really traveled. They have never truly experienced the vast expanse of life and have just chosen to remain stuck in the comfort of their “home” waiting for validation and acceptance. But an empty baggage, in this case, means scarcity in life experiences that could have stretched horizons further had they chosen to take leaps and opened themselves up to the world.
Give me madness and baggage any day. At least that is real. As a matter of fact, I would rather learn about someone’s madness and baggage from the get-go instead of being strung along by their inauthenticity then I get hit by some painful truth at a point of no return. Upon learning about their madness, we can then decide if it is something we can live with or not. But you have to admit that respect is immanent in this process because we appreciate the honesty and openness regardless of the result. Think of all the time we save and the frustration we avoid if we all stay true to ourselves and present our true selves to others. A point emphasised by the acclaimed philosopher, Alain de Botton, “going into a relationship is just deciding what madness we are willing to put up with.”
Managing our baggage is all about learning how to carry it. Sometimes, it feels as though we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders and we’re about to keel over. But sometimes, we just have to find wheels that we could prop that baggage on to make things easier. The metaphorical wheel could be a friend, a partner, a family member, healthy thoughts, proper coping mechanisms, a therapist – you choose. There are plenty at our disposal.
So to my dear reader, I hope you find your set of wheels that will prevent you from dragging your heavy load around so you can finally straighten up and breathe properly again. So you can get your chin up and see life for what it is again. I hope that from carrying around your baggage for too long, you finally have newfound strength that you could share with the world. I hope your strength encourages others to be vulnerable and unpack. I hope your sharing of your baggage with the world will in turn, slowly but surely, help others get real and share theirs also.