I carry with me a very large, horribly stained bag. It is unbearably heavy – every muscle in my body strains from the weight of it. It is ugly and filthy. I do not want to carry it everywhere I go. I don’t like it. This bag certainly does not match the life I am building for myself. I wish I could just take it off, leave it where it drops and continue on without it. But I can’t.
My ugly, filthy, heavy bag holds all of my insecurities, fears, doubts and shame. It feels like it is permanently affixed to my soul.
Recently, my partner expressed concern about “the bag”. Although, his words were kind and loving when he referred to it as “your past trauma”. It has also been called, “the root of the issue” or “the real reason this upsets you”. The bag has a lot of control over me. I hate the bag.
I carry a lot of shame in not being good enough. Throughout my childhood I never felt that I was listened to. My ideas were not valued, which in turn left me feeling like I was not valued. As an adult, I don’t think that was ever true. I know that my parents loved me and treasured me – but the damage was done. I accept that not everyone is going to hop on the idea train and fully embrace what I think. I am okay with having conversations, debates and sometimes heated arguments regarding opinions/wants/dreams. But when I feel like I am not even listened to, taken into consideration or worse, looked past – my bag starts to shake and wiggle and grow into this thing that overcomes me. And that looks like shame, anger, frustration. For me, feeling overlooked is a hard one.
Another fun fact about my bag is that it likes to make me feel critique in the deepest parts of me. If someone finds fault in something I do or say, even with the best of intentions, I blow. I am working on this, understanding that I am far from perfect (hence the name of the blog!). But it is slow going, it is emotional and I slip a lot. My partner is most loving, and does his best to live with this part of me that at times can be even uglier and smellier and far more distasteful than the bag. I think he might be a saint.
Did I mention yet that I hate my bag?
I know I cannot fix this by willing it to be, but I can make some promises to myself to hopefully aide in my journey of healthy living.
One – I am going to very consciously put that bag aside. Take out the trash so to speak. Or in my case, write down my triggers and light them on fire, while enjoying a rare glass or two of wine. I am going to verbally banish the contents of my bag into the smoke.
Two – When I am feeling left out/overlooked I will vocalize that. Even if it is as simple as a code word for my partner, or being brave and saying “This matters to me, could you please listen?”. I will advocate for me.
Three – When I get criticism I will endeavor to consider the intention instead of the interaction. Most times, when I do mention a “bag reaction incident” the person has no clue they came across as being critical. Funny, how things can be misunderstood so easily.
Four – I am writing on my mirror “I AM HERE. I AM NOT OVERLOOKED. I AM LOVED”. Daily affirmations. I hear they work wonders.
And lastly, I am going to practice gifting myself the grace I extend to others. I am quick to forgive those I love – it is high time I forgive myself.
So, I am going to take active steps to begin to bid adieu to my shitty old smelly bag of baggage – and lighten my load.