Whose Baggage is it Anyway?

My 2018 ended softly, with my eyes drooping and struggling to open. I was surrounded by family: the people I care most about in the world. We all counted down from 10, gave each other a hug and a kiss and promptly went to bed. There were no midnight kisses from new and exciting loves for this gal, only warm sentiments from the tried and true treasures. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The entire year felt like a whirlwind from start to finish. It will take more than one blog post to explain all that has transpired. Most importantly, I have taken more steps in the lifelong journey of self love and self actualization.

When my ex-husband and I split, I felt as though I had raked in some excess baggage. New hurts, toxic perceptions of myself and ton of self-doubt were all shoved into a few suitcases. I pick them up and took them with me, because they were mine, right?

I unpacked the suitcases and fashioned myself with an entire new wardrobe: dresses of desperation, skirts of selfishness, mumus of manipulation. It was all there – every negative aspect of myself as told to me by my former partner. And like most women with new clothes, I couldn’t help but try them on for size – because they’re my clothes right?

I didn’t like what was inside the suitcases. Was this who I was? Am I really a terrible person? I lamented over every mistake I had made in my relationship and poured myself into proving that he was wrong, I wasn’t the girl he thought I was. I knew he trash talked me to his friends, I knew that to them I was an awful bitch. I knew his parents had their misgivings. Soon, I couldn’t help but to start believing the contents of my excess baggage – if the shoe fits, right?

Anyone who has lugged more than one suitcase on a plane knows that they’re heavy. They’re awkwardly shaped. They slow you down. You sweat like an asshole as you’re dragging them through the airport. Everyone seems to be staring at you in judgement. Then you wait for – what seems like – an eternity at the luggage carousel.

In the same way, living one’s life with trunks full of negative self-worth is an uphill battle. Having to truck it with me was making moving forward a pained process. Every date, therapy appointment, makeout session etc. becomes bombarded with the excess. Eventually, I’d add one failed attempt at love after another to the cases.

CassElle suggested to me that I write a letter to my ex and pour out every thought in my head and feeling in my heart onto the page. Then store it away – never sending it. It wasn’t until I sat down to write the letter that I realized something very important about my baggage: it wasn’t actually mine.

His negative opinions, his parent’s qualms,  the trash talk – every wounding word thrown into the suitcase wasn’t mine for the taking. I chose to bring them with me, simply because they seemed to be addressed to me. However, they contain only a small sampling of someone else’s opinions. They don’t have to be my own.

Why should his cynicism be worth more than the encouragement of my friends? Why should his poison be more potent than my family’s love? There is a circle of people who love me as I am and inspire me to rise to more possibilities. If the criticism is not constructive, then it truly has no place in my house.

I could spend a lifetime trying to live down every bad thing he’s ever said about me – or, I could simply “return to sender, postage due.”

I am still working on sending everything back. When you unpack and integrate an entire package of lies into your world, it takes time to gather all the rogue pieces and send them on their way. However, it isn’t important that I am fast and furious in my cleansing, only that I am thorough and detail oriented.

Little by little, I am making emotional shipments. The clutter is getting less and less. Soon, I will have room for an entire new collection: dresses of dreams fulfilled, pants of possibilities, shoes of self love and much more wonderful things to carry with me wherever I may go.

 

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