I am pretty well aware of my own baggage that I bring with me – baggage that can have an impact on how I react to situations or how I am. Baggage that whoever is with me gets the pleasure of getting to know. But lately, I am finding the time bombs I didn’t realize were in there too. Much to the dismay of those around me including me.
So, I decided maybe its time to make my own baggage inventory – the list of things that make me who I am and mark my reaction to them.
1. The Tomboy Makeup Case – When you are friends with guys, they stop seeing you as a girl – and only have eyes for you as a friend. While there are definitely some perks to it, it creates a hard situation for me when I am finding play partners and the like. Why? I want to be seen as a sexy grrl sometimes. And I need to be treated like a grrrl sometimes. When you are in “friend” space, that all starts being left by the wayside. I am too direct for someone, but not direct enough for others. Both have chased guys away. If I go after what I want, I’m too pushy and driven which chases more guys away. It has taken me years to get over it – and see myself for who I am. But, that tomboy who was too smart for her own good sometimes creeps back in – and old fears accompany her.
2. The Trust Trunk – “Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.” is a quotation by Michelangelo. I take this one a bit too seriously. I am used to relying on myself and having people rely on me. I have found over the years that few people are worthy of my trust. Rather cynical, isn’t it? I’m not proud of this fact. Trust is a hard thing for me to give as I have had it used against me on many occasions. I have had people I love hurt me in ways that I didn’t see coming. So, I go into the situation eyes wide open. I don’t trust they will do the right things because if I expect the worst, then I can’t be hurt, right? Right?? Hello? Yeah, never works like that. So, instead, I hold back. If I hold by emotionally, then maybe I’m more protected from myself. It’s funny because I have gotten better over the years giving trust to people. It has been hard for me to take that risk, but I realized that trust is not an on/off switch. It’s a dimmer. This is the bag that often has the bombs in it as I’m finding. Especially if I care about the person. Wonder if there is a dog specially trained to help me find and defuse them in the future?
3. The Giver Coin Purse – I was raised by a guy who would give anyone anything they needed. He would never take for himself. I used to joke that we always knew what to get him for presents – it was the stuff he would refuse to replace – shoes, jeans, shirts. He would always view it as something he could do without for a while longer. So he would make sure everyone else was take care of first. This extended beyond stuff. He always was there for his friends and acquaintances and family. When someone had a crisis, they would be there seeking council over a drink with my dad. If the phone rang in the middle of the night, it was someone needing help and my dad was on it. And he never EVER kept track of what he was giving or who owed him. But, he always gave back to those who gave to him. I am the same way. I don’t keep track. I don’t count who owes me. And if someone I care about is hurting, I’m there. I’m there without even a second thought as to if it is the right thing to do. While this may seem like a good thing, those who are with me need to understand that I don’t replenish myself enough – so those around me need to make sure I take care of me too.
4. The Control Clutch – To know me is to know I like to control as much of my life as possible. This clutch matches the trunk but is its own bag, that is for sure. What can I say? I know how things should work. Things would be better if people would just listen to me. Seriously though, I like knowing what the end is going to be quickly. I like seeing a clear path. I don’t like not knowing what will be. Goes back to the life is what you make of it, not what happens to you philosophy. There are times and people that I will give up my control with, but trust is critical. I don’t hand it over to just anyone. In certain aspects, I am getting better with that. It’s a growth opportunity, but it is far from easy.
5. The Flight Backpack – I will fight, but when I am at my limits, I flee the situation. Or, as I often say, I’ll be over there for a while. Some of it is knowing my limits. But most of it is controlling the situation by taking action first. When I’m feeling vulnerable, my first inclination is to leave. To walk away. This is always a gut reaction. Sometimes I will do it for a long time. Other times I will do it for a short time until I can exhale and jump back into the fight. The flight reaction does have some good points about it when I need to breath. But I have to fight myself to not flee because I want to hurt because I feel hurt. For hurting people, I have my….
6. The re-Action Duffle – This bag would be filled of the evil things that come to mind when I’m feeling hurt. It is filled with the things I want to say. It is filled with the ways I can hurt that person back. It is filled with an arsenal really. Rarely do I use it as I have gotten older. At this point, I use it to “kill people with my words” as my kids would say. Not that they would have any idea of how I could really do that – but they know how cutting and sharp my words can be when I’m angry or disappointment or hurt. This duffle sits in my closet most of the time as I have gotten wiser. I do carry it along though and stash what I don’t say into it. And who knows when it will be appropriate to use it. Can’t help but be prepared. I really need to burn this one as this one is a volatile bag that only results in profuse apologies and more hurt.
7. The Knitting Bag – Reserved for my mom issues. I don’t have many – don’t get me wrong. But she did give me some doozies. Matches the makeup case up there. I was never a “good enough girl”. Yes, you read that correctly. Since I was a tomboy, I shattered her dreams of having a girlie girl. She would get so frustrated with me that I was constantly being compared to other daughters. This one is prettier because she does her hair a certain way. Look at the dress this other girl went and bought with her mom. All girls were prettier, skinnier, and more put together than her geeky, tomboy of a daughter. Is it any wonder why I never wanted to spend time with her? I made concessions when I got older. I learned to knit. We watched horror movies. I read what she gave me as we both were bookworms. Despite the fact that about 15 years ago she issued her form of an apology for all of that including a long written letter about how she admired me, I still have those thing creep into my mind at times. I think it is probably why I compare myself to others (and drive myself nuts). But, it is also my reminder to honor and respect who my girls are. To let them become who they intend to be – and simply guide them along versus trying to make them be who they are not.
Those are my bags that I know about. With self awareness also comes the awareness of what is being brought along as I go into relationships and travel through life. I also feel awareness is how I am going to start shedding them – or at least stashing them in the basement along with the other mementos of the past.
I also think this is why relationships are hard. Everyone brings bags with them. My goal is to carry my own bags. I’ll let people help me shed them, but I will never let them carry them. Those bags are my own to, well, own. Some are getting lighter or I’ve had to trade down for smaller bags simply because people have given me perspective that has allowed me to see that I don’t need to lug around that much stuff. I just hope that the trend continues. That my awareness continues. Because, to be honest, that are way too many bags to still have around – or at least, they seem like it now that I’ve done an inventory of the ones I know of.
What bags are you carrying with you?