H. and I finally arrived home Monday afternoon. After I watered the plants and got all the mail in, I tackled unpacking my suitcase, one of my least favorite chores. It’s so much easier to pack than unpack, right? And so much more fun.
What an analogy. Maybe it’s sophomoric for me to use it, but goodness gracious I hate to ignore low-hanging fruit. Okay, I’m not going to develop it, unpack it, explain it — that would make it worse and duh, of course you get it. But I keep thinking of those Ziploc bags I keep my toiletries in (yes, I’ve been doing that for years because too many spills in my suitcase made me realize that buying nice bags for my potions and liquids was an amateur move) and how, when I was emptying them, I realized how many things I drag around just in case. I replace the Ziplocs at the beginning of every trip so they’re fresh and they close properly, and I also like to give everything a thorough look — to make sure I have enough of everything, to make sure nothing is leaking, to make sure I have enough sheet masks and eye gels to apply to my face when I have free time in the hotel room (yeah, right) to pamper myself. I like to have everything I need and want, but I also require (and demand of myself) that things to be tidy. But it’s hard to be neat when you’re over-stuffed.
I know few people who aren’t over packers. I’ve certainly gotten better about it — I am not the chronic what-iffer that I was when I was twenty-six, or thirty, or thirty-four — but I still usually end up back at home when the trip is over with a few unworn garments or a book still languishing in my suitcase or carry-on that I never got the chance to crack open. That’s the thing about hyper-vigilant people — we’re always preparing for the sky to fall — I used to even put a small travel umbrella in my suitcase which is a good idea in theory but… lordy, I pity myself for that one — so we make our lists, organize optimally, but still drag around a lot of things we don’t need in preparation for all of the things that might occur or really, if I’m honest, the disaster that will surely befall us.
My therapist tells me, when I talk to her about my constant wish to shed the inessential, that I’m reaching for freedom, that I’m starting to recognize that some of those steamer trunks of defense mechanisms that I complain about that yes, also served me well at times in my life, are not needed now. Aren’t they? Does she mean I don’t need to be suspicious, that I don’t need to check behind everyone to make sure they’re doing right, that I don’t need to do everything myself, that I don’t need to be afraid to ask for help, that I can put my feet on the floor in the mornings and walk to the kitchen to make coffee and breakfast without my fear of abandonment accompanying me? Wait, wouldn’t that mean that I might be easier to be around? That I might be more open to the world, to love, and might find the way back to my essence before I gathered all of this heavy shit that clouds the filter through which I see? Does she mean that I’m in a place in my life where everything is sort of okay? Yes, there are problems and there always will be, but relatively speaking, I can drop my shield. Huh?
What would it be like to go through life without my hands full of things to protect me against the unknown? What if I left that extra t-shirt or yet another pair of black jeans at home and trusted that if I need something, it will be provided in whatever way that it is? What if I decided to believe (light as a feather) instead of doubt (heavy like a shroud)? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my lesson this time around is to learn to trust, and the first thing I have to trust is that I won’t let myself down, that I won’t forget, and that if I do, I’ll figure it out.
Visions of my struggling and sometimes under-prepared Mama float through my mind — I compare myself to her, and I see that how I live is in many ways the converse of how I was raised — I feel compassion for both of us. I remind myself that where I was is not where I am.
Presence, awareness, acuity. Prayer, mantra, grace. Black motorcycle jacket, killer shoes, two of my favorite black dresses. Cortisone cream for a probable eczema flareup on my left hand, mascara, hairspray. Guitar, book, laptop.
I am packing again today for a ten day trip. My challenge is to fill my one suitcase in a way that allows the handle to pull up with ease instead of stuffing it so that it doesn’t want to. Why do I make myself struggle with a suitcase handle? The truth is, I’m sort of sick of hauling around so many unneeded objects. It feels better to be light, in all the ways, and if the sky falls, I’ll ask someone if I can borrow their umbrella. Someone will have one, won’t they…
Peace and love and see y’all on the road.