A catch-all term that describes any emotional pain that someone may be carrying.

A lot more painful that the common garden Samsonite matching luggage (unless it is dropped on you from a great height) but very similar in that it is hard to break. In fact - unreliable scientific tests have shown that both types of baggage need co-ordinated and dedicated effort from a team of close friends to get anywhere near cracking these cases - and even then, splinters are still visible for a very long time.

For some reason I have always been intrigued by the people cursed with this infliction - I don't know why, maybe I think i can help somehow - I've always been told that I am a good listener. Or maybe it's because I have had a taste of what it's like - That characteristic phobia of going down the same road twice (sometimes taken to the ridiculous) I knew my fears were stupid and irrational but that never made them any less real; the long nights sitting thinking "why me? why should I be the one burdened? I've done nothing to deserve it" and above all the loneliness - the total belief that you are the the only one who feels this way.

I was lucky, my pain was only caused by going out with girls carrying their own baggage (a rough ride but I have no regrets). Once I learnt that I managed to pull myself back up. But now I look back at it all, and I compare it to the pain of what some other people must be feeling. I know they have it worse, I know that what happened to me was chicken feed comparatively - but I suppose that is what makes emotional baggage what it is - It makes no difference how bad the event is, it still has the same effect - it still makes you believe that you have been taken to the edge of your tolerance. And it is this that truly hurts.

Everybody has baggage that they carry around with them. Everybody. If you say you don't then you are lying. Some have more baggage than others. It doesn't mean that those with less baggage have less of a reason to feel the weight. Our baggage is just as important to each of us. Each and every one of us deals with the weight in our own way in our own time. Some carry it around longer in the hopes that it will mysteriously get lost in transit. Guess what folks, it doesn't! It always manages to find it's way to you ESPECIALLY when you want it lost.

It's not necessarily bad. Your baggage is what makes you who you are. It shapes your views, it makes you, YOU! How you DEAL with your trunk is the key. You can give up and jump off a bridge (in my view, a copout) or you can learn from it and gain strength from it.

When you're ready you will open that trunk, sort out the stuff and shift the weight so that you can carry it better. It's still your weight to carry.

It's still your baggage. It's still you.

My mother and I are very similar in appearance, voice, and manner. It runs in the family, but she tends to identify me with herself more than I identify with her.

At age 20, I left the country of my birth for the first time 1 for a junior year abroad to Europe. For this, I needed a suitcase. At that time, my family had very few 2, and my choice was between two similar Grasshopper bags. One was steel blue and slightly smelly, and the other had brocade roses and didn’t smell at all.

Further enquiry revealed that the blue (smelly) one had been my father’s suitcase when he went to Stanford in France during college, while the floral (odorless) one was my mother’s at Stanford in Germany. So I approached my mother, asking if I could borrow her old bag for my trip.

Big mistake. Huge. Not that she said no – I only wish she had. “My heir is going to Europe…,” she declaimed. For the next week, all her sentences seemed to start “When I was in Europe…” 3 She made predictions about everything – the friends I would make, the places I would go, the things I would see. Everything was mapped out in terms of her experience. My terra incognita was her beaten track.

I took my father’s suitcase, offered without any comparisons or expectations. 4

  1. Not counting that trip to Tijuana when I was 12
  2. We were more the army surplus canvas backpack types
  3. Flashback 25 years, to her own trip to Europe, during the 1960s. She was in Berlin, at the height of the Cold War. She went hitchhiking around the Continent, leaving no word of her whereabouts, while her mother panicked. Interpol was involved. Was that really the example she was trying to set me?
  4. Then I ended up in hospital in Spain with severe burns. Complicated reasons meant no one at home knew what hospital (or what city) I was in, and my mother panicked. Some destinies are inescapable.

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