sometimes, i like to forget what i carry. it’s almost purposeful, this forgetting - and it takes a rude awakening or a jumpstart of memory to bring me back to reality. the baggage i trip over is so often my own, and i’m finally starting to stop long enough to look at it.
i carry with me a journal filled with words i’m just now beginning to trust. i carry with me the pages of others - stories of pain and redemption and darkness and love. i carry with me a deep-seated love of music, of moving with the beat and letting myself go. i carry laughing until tears stream down my face and crying freely and loving quickly.
i carry with me family.
the cowboy hats and the smell of leather mixed with sourdough. the scent of mountains and riding bareback through fields. i carry sleepless nights in trailers and bathroom breaks shivering in the dry early morning air and sagebrush and crickets as big as my thumb. i carry the generational pull of a name - the story of young love and a hope for something better.
i carry with me secrets.
front porches on summer nights and swing sets with friends in their back yard and the rush of wind against my hair riding down steep driveways. i carry with me first curse words and escaping to the closet and quiet music sweeping through my room in the late night hours when i’d find myself written out on pages in my journal. i carry with me dark rooms and whispers against the night. i carry expectations of beauty and the failure of not meeting them.
i carry with me stories.
the one where i held my sisters’ hands as we closed our eyes tight against the huffing and pawing of a bear outside our tent. the one where i caught my friend’s seizing body in the jungle of haiti only to experience an angel’s touch of peace. the one where i skipped down the path of the slum holding the hand of an orphan who would change my life forever. the one where a single name brought a feeling of dread so powerful i ran and hid behind the outhouse to breathe deep once...twice...three times. even after i shook my head against the pulsating doubt, the tingling pull of memory took me under.
i carry with me doubt.
the question of what happened and do i really want to remember and the knowledge of something deep - something dark - something just around the corner waiting. i wonder if they will believe and i wonder if it will cause friction. i run from the thoughts of their disbelief proving me wrong - the rooted fear of not being heard and understood. i push away the knowledge of awakening truth: seeing others in new eyes and feeling my stomach turn against the deception.
but most of all, i carry with me hope.
one day, my relationships won’t carry the stain of abandonment. one day, i won’t fear the Beauty inside - one day the healing will be complete and i’ll be able to take these things i carry and see them for what they really are: scars that reveal i survived.
i'm writing imperfect prose with emily today. join us?