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Monday, December 12, 2011

Baggage Claim...

A common metaphor is "life is a journey".   And for any journey we make, we have to take along our luggage.  How we carry those bags makes a difference in how well we enjoy the trip!

Have you ever people-watched at the airport?  I love to watch people.  There are those experienced travelers who wheel a single bag through the airport, looking calm and collected.  There are those who have flown a few times but still over-pack and struggle with that heavy carry-on.  And then there are those who either have never flown or who fly so infrequently that they forget.  You know them by their matching three-piece luggage set and flustered look on their faces as they drag their heavy bags to the ticket counter.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my former fiance.  He's already deep in a relationship, (I broke up with him at the beginning of September and he met her by the month's end) and at first, I was crushed by the news--not because I want him back, but because to me, his rushing into another relationship seemed to invalidate the importance of our relationship.  I say at first, because I've had time to mull it over.  That's his baggage--not mine.  He and I were both damaged--and I think we did the best we could with the time we had together.  He had been honest with me when he told me he didn't think he could be attracted to me if I lost weight--I saw a picture of his new woman, and she's much larger than I was.  I told him yesterday that his attraction to larger women was one of his bags--he was badly hurt by a very thin woman when he was younger.  He wasn't sure he agreed, but to me, it makes perfect sense.  It also explains why we spent so much time eating when we were together--and why he didn't throw away the junk food I asked him to discard when I was in the hospital having my surgery.  But like I said, that's his baggage--not mine!

How we carry our emotional baggage affects how we make this journey called life.  As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have had huge trunks of emotional damage with me every step of the trip.  It made me distrustful, skeptical, hard.  I used so much energy hauling those bags that I didn't have time for myself.  I used so much energy on my emotional baggage that I didn't give myself fully to my relationships.  I've been so weighed down that I haven't lived--not really.  Not until now.

I am no longer weighed down with that emotional baggage.  I still have it with me--because my baggage has made me who I am today.  However, I no longer struggle with it--instead, I've sent a few bags on ahead and have learned to be an efficient packer.  I carry the bag--as light as it is--with grace today, grateful for the chance to continue this journey--lighter physically and emotionally.

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