These are the things I carry.
There are physical things, though not many that stick with me to any level of consistency. My phone. (Every day, everywhere.) My wallet. (When I remember it.) My iPad. (Most places.) A hair tie. (On my wrist or in my hair.) Lately, I’ve been carrying a journal.
There are non-objects that I carry as well. Memories, ideas, dreams, literal and figurative scars and all of the people and places of my past. Memories from school, memories from my marriage, memories of my son, memories of my past experiences. Ideas for stories, ideas for who I want to be. The dreams that I used to have that I will never achieve, and the dreams that I have now that I hope to achieve some day. The scars on my body; the scars on my insides. And people. WAY too many people.
I carry these things because I can’t let them go. I carry the phone because it’s how I stay connected to the few people I care to stay connected to; it lets me pretend that I know more people than I actually do, and that I know more about their lives. I carry the journal so that I can write in it all of the things that are too personal to blog. But the non-objects? The scars, the experiences, the people, the memories? I carry these things because it would hurt too much to put them down. But what I don’t consider often is the fact that it also hurts to hold on to them.
Marya Hornbacher, the author of my favorite memoir “Wasted,” wrote, “You never come back, not all the way. Always there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier thin as the glass of a mirror, you never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and no one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad.” This is true. I think that there ARE some people who do not come back from negative garbage. I won’t be one of them.
In my life, I have come to realize that there is more to be gained by doing my best to drop the barrier and step through that invisible wall. It is more advantageous to be on the side with everyone else than to be on the side all by yourself. Life hurts, yes. But it hurts less when you have friends. And I have friends who like me for the person that I am and will stick by me, despite everything.
I think that I would rather stick with them than be alone. Plus, it’s easier to carry things with a buddy over trying to carry them alone.
(And I’ll admit it. I stole this topic idea from a writing prompt.) 🙂