How often do you feel as though you have to hide your baggage?
If your answer is more often than not, welcome to the club. We walk around day by day hiding our painfully beautiful baggage. We hide it in our hidden coat pocket, under the dirty car mats, under our baggy boyfriend jeans, under the rug that needs vacuumed because it now just looks like a pile of dog hair, under our over-sized sweater, under the stove along with many other old crusty crumbs, in the hidden pocket of the dryer- you know, the one that steals all of your socks. We have found plenty of great hiding spots to stick our junk, and I am not talking physical junk, I am talking deep emotional junk. The hard stuff.
We are told to be responsible for what kind of energy we are bringing to the table, and I agree, we can’t walk around being a constant Debbie Downer. That being said, we also shouldn’t have to feel the need to hide from the reality of our lives.
Having the courage to be yourself doesn’t always mean having the courage to follow your dreams, or share your passions with the world around you. Having the courage to be you is just as much about embracing who you are in the moments when things are great as it is about embracing who you are in the moments when ‘the ceiling is falling’.
My name is Krista Jordan, Scare Your Soul courage challenge participant, and I have had many of ‘the ceiling is falling’ moments. Let me start by telling you one of my biggest- I lost a very good friend to cancer over a year ago — she was a true light in my life. When I lost her, I felt as though my light was dimmed. I got myself together and didn’t lead anyone to believe I was any different, or so I thought. One day I sat in a hospital room of another friend of mine battling cancer, we began to talk about how I got where I was in life. We began to talk about my father’s fight against cancer and when it came time to talk about my most recent journey with a friend battling, I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I kept trying to rinse down the ugly of the situation with my lemon water and only talk about the times of butterflies and roses. My friend sitting on the other side of the table knew better though; she told me that it indeed was okay to cry and so, I bawled. I put all of my sh*^ on the table. The sadness, the tears, the fear, the hurt, the loss of faith. I laid it all out in the middle of the table and just as my friend embraced me in her arms in this moment- she also embraced my baggage.
Often times the reason we don’t open our hearts- and hidden coat pockets — in this way is because we fear what others are going to think, say, or do. So we slap some concealer on the dark circles and pretend we have gotten great sleep opposed to the contrary, which is that we haven’t slept in days for we just lost a close friend and we aren’t sure life will ever be the same without them. We are falling apart, yet we hold it together, because that is all we have ever known.
When we take a step back and look at our life, our friendships, our lost relationships, etc. how many times can we honestly say that being true to who we are has gotten us anywhere except exactly where we are meant to be? If you are thinking of a moment, you haven’t arrived at your final destination yet, I can promise you this. Stay on the train.
Bringing your baggage to the table may seem like an impossible task, you’re not even sure that you could fit it all in a landfill let alone a table. It is not going to be any easy task, I am not going to lie to you. Your friends may look at you weird the first time you say the words, ‘I am not okay’ and that is okay, too. Maybe instead of starting with the rotten shriveled up banana that has been in your trunk for over a year causing your entire car to smell like bananas, you start with the snotty tissue that missed the trash can. In other words, baby steps.
I have begun emptying my hidden coat pockets, at dinner parties, at happy hour, at half price sushi, at brunch, at family game night. At first it was always with an adult beverage in hand; wine, Bloody Mary, Christmas Ale. Until one day it wasn’t (although sometimes it still is). I was able to say, “my life’s in shambles right now because I am falling for the best friend of the guy I am supposed to be seeing, and I need you to drive me to the cemetery and stop on the way to pick up Miller Lite’s.” And you know what, my best friend did just that. She gave me a helping hand and together we drug, what felt to be overflowing, trash bags filled with sh*^ to the cemetery. We then sat on top of the sh^*, sorted through it, and left there with less of a mountain to carry around.
I didn’t have all the answers because I was courageous enough to be real with those around me, but I did have an authentic connection with someone I loved.
Life is about connection, the one we have with ourselves, as well as the one we have with others. It is about connecting in a way that isn’t “all is well and the dogs are good.” Although some days all is going to be well and the dogs are going to be good, there is no reason to rely on this ideal view of perfection as the best way to connect with those around us. As much as it may surprise you, you will not be the only one pulling the snotty tissue out of your pocket. You are in a world of snotty tissues and year old rotten banana’s, I promise, you are not alone. The next step, to emptying your hidden coat pockets, is not get the urge continue binge stuffing and emptying them.
You know you have the courage, so don’t hide it with your baby blankets in the attic. Courage is a practice, just as life is. Each day is a practice of what works and what does not. Today you may figure out how to put together a bookshelf and tomorrow you may learn that you’re not supposed to let your car go a year without an oil change. It’s a process, and it takes a village. So don’t go forgetting that you indeed are not alone.
Courage doesn’t happen overnight, take the baby steps with me and bring your sh*^ to the table via Scare Your Soul. http://www.scareyoursoul.com/
Originally published at medium.com