When travelling we pack our bags and take our luggage with us. The light and easy items we take with us into the body of the plane. This is our hand luggage. However, if we have large amounts of things they go into the hold, often thrown in - sometimes without the slightest modicum of care - by the baggage handlers (but that is another story I’m sure everyone has a tale to tell on that score). We are always moving with something as we travel through life. Something from the past constantly accompanies us as we move forward to the next destination. Be it in the overhead compartment, within easy reach, or in the hold, for retrieval at a later stage, our stuff goes with us.
Sheryl Crow said earlier this month “hey, at my age, [she’s 48] everyone comes with baggage. It’s the baggage that makes it interesting.”
Marie Claire readers have been told that baggage is emotional turmoil caused by some issue in a person’s past. This baggage can pressurise or damage a relationship from the start, so says the wisdom of the Rich Santos writing about sex and the single guy in this magazine. Rich Santos describes many types of baggage such as the ‘white whale baggage’ (Moby Dick reference), the ‘family baggage’ (obviously related to family issues), and the catch all type ‘mystery baggage’. This final grouping is for when you are not sure how to define the irrational behaviour that you are experiencing in your relationship partner. When this type of baggage is foremost in the relationship the advice is that it is easier to dismiss the person and move on because they “have too much baggage.”
Sheryl Crow says that being a 48 year old single mother of two children is seen by some people as a lot of baggage – I see it as a mother with two children: that’s it, nothing else. But then I would say that as a single mother of a similar age with one child, wouldn’t I? I don’t see the single status as baggage, I don’t see parenthood as baggage, and I definitely don’t see children as baggage. I know some people prefer to have less complicated relationships without children involved, but hey, they are part and parcel of people’s lives. To me there is no option not to have them: they are already there. Just like there is no option that people have their own life experiences and memories (aka baggage), just like there is no option that people have their personal relationship history (also known as baggage). What may simply have been defined as personal history in an earlier part of life suddenly, after the age of thirty becomes described as baggage. How strange.
Baggage, as it is commonly known, is not optional in life or relationships. Baggage is part of the tapestry of life. Baggage is life.
I have a family history, I have an emotional history, I have a child, I have life. These things about me are not optional. What I have is not “too much baggage” it is life. However others may view us, I know that we are not baggage.