Yesterday, on Hot Mess Monday (my weekly livestream that you need to tune into), I shared how and what I packed for my recent road trip and how I packed for ten days with one pack. Believe it or not, I still didn’t use everything in that bag.
I weighed myself down with far too many vanity items. (There’s a deeper conversation there, but that’s for maybe another day.) I really only needed one-third of what was in my makeup bag. Incidentally, my makeup bag is not really a makeup bag. When traveling, I use a clear 1-gallon plastic zip lock bag for TSA screening purposes. Picture a one gallon plastic bag that you fill up with steaks to put in the freezer. Now picture that same bag filled with makeup, moisturizers, lipsticks, and the like. Not only was it mostly unnecessary, it. was. heavy.
When I was done unloading the backpack on the livestream, I got into the obvious metaphorical deep dive about what we needlessly carry around with us in life. I mentioned the imaginary backpack full of rocks that I previously talked about in my post, Why Women Stay:
“Like a backpack full of rocks, every move I made over the years was like a weight that I've been dragging around, keeping me from doing the simplest of tasks. Some days, I'd pull one or two of those rocks out and beat myself up with them, just for fun. Those days were dark and dismal and I swear I couldn't see the smallest glimmer of light. It was like a depression that I couldn't medicate or meditate my way out of.”
Every week on Hot Mess Monday, we talk about life being a hot mess and how we need to work on cleaning the stuff up. Sometimes, I have someone on with me, like a few weeks ago when I had a therapist on to talk about CoDependency, something that I still, after all this time, struggle with.
I’m not perfect. I’m still practicing what I preach every single day. Some days, I can really feel the weight I carry around. The what if’s and the should haves and preoccupations about the future that can throw my day off, if I let them. That’s the human condition, isn’t it? Looking back and wondering, then looking forward and worrying, when all the time you’re squandering what is happening now… what you can control now… what you can enjoy now.
I try to be mindful when my thoughts start to wander off like a two-year old on sweets. Like on the train ride. I was enjoying myself so much that I found myself wanting to google a future trip while I was on that one. That’s insane! I was already ON a trip, but I wanted to know what OTHER trip I might be able to do later instead of just enjoying the actual trip I was presently experiencing!
My pack is much lighter than it once was, and that is only because I did the work… because I went to the groups… because I showed up to my counseling sessions… because I remembered the lessons… because I try to be more mindful… because I decided to be responsible for my own damn happiness.
And that was the ultimate point of my chat… that we are responsible for our own rocks. Even when someone did something really crappy to you and maybe threw some of those rocks square at your head, it’s still in your backpack. Just like we are responsible for carrying it around or deciding to drop it, we are responsible for our own joy. We are the only ones that can control how we respond to life and what hurts and habits we keep carrying around with us.
So what’s in your backpack? What would it feel like to take a few of those rocks out? It’s a good practice to at least pull them out, turn them over, examine them, and eventually lay them down by the side of the road and move on. It’s not easy, I know. But it makes the road ahead a lot more enjoyable.
If you’re interested, here are Parts 1 and 2 of my packing and unpacking. Facebook was kind enough to interrupt my broadcast just as I was getting to the point above, so if you want to get to skip the practical packing tips, go straight to part 2.