I don’t want to wait for a change. For a change, I don’t want to wait for a change — I want to create it. I want to make it, because I must make it — in life. Too long! It has been too long of a wait: for a change.
I had been carrying my suffering like a sentimental load inside tattered baggage I must’ve borrowed from the top shelf of my parents’ closet. When I was initially packing it up, back in the most formative years of my youth, curiously my father looked over my shoulder, handing me my items with one hand and patting the crown of my head with the other:
“You sure you’re gonna need all of this, little sparrow?” he would ask repeatedly, yet still contribute to my baggage, a handful of issues at a time.
I would get hold of his items, twirl them in my hand; sniff, taste, measure: “Hmm. Dunno!” I would say. “Might need it later.”
My youthful impatience, my childish wrath would prevent me from weighing my future load against my strength. Instead, I would get inventive at digging up some forgotten familial issues from the corners of my motha’s drawers. And with my father as my shadow, I would wander around the home I was leaving — out of my stubbornness, not my self-esteem — and take a few things off the walls and, with his help, reach for the highest, forgotten shelves of our bookcases. Instead of testing the baggage with an occasional test run, I kept on stuffing it.
“Might need it later,” I kept thinking, not even knowing that it was way too much pressure to place onto one’s “later”.
On the day of my departure for what I thought would be a better life — a better “later” — I even managed to look under all the carpets and rugs of our familial home, swooping up a few more microscopic particles into the side pockets of my baggage: Might need those later, as well.
“Oh, and don’t forget this!” motha would shove a few more things into my baggage on my way out. She would see me off at the threshold of our familial home; and every time I turned in a lapse of courage, she would wave her kitchen towel at me: A flag of Don’t Ever Surrender!
The journey would turn out to be more epic than even my youthful imagination could think up; and it would be so magnificent at times — better than I thought when I thought of my “later”. I would never come to regret the steps I had taken back then, in the most formative years of my youth; and I wouldn’t despise the directions I had chosen to follow — mostly out of stubbornness, not necessarily my self-esteem. Because in the end, it would’ve all been worth it: My life — my “later” — would be my own creation. My choice.
Along the way, I would continue to pick up a few more issues for my loaded baggage: Might need those later. And it would take the initial thrill of the journey to settle down before I would become aware of the compromised lightness of my step, the increasing calluses and the now chronic backaches.
“Am I really gonna need all this stuff later?” I would wonder for a moment, but then carry on carrying, mostly out of stubbornness — NOT my self-esteem.
And when another youthful thing would pass me with a lighter baggage on her back, secretly I would admire her step; and I would wonder about our difference. Must be a familial thing, I would conclude, then rummage through my baggage in search of an issue I could blame it on. For a moment, the blame would soothe the envy, but the weight would not let up. And I would spend more stretches of my journey in anticipation of the next rest stop.
Yes, I was getting tired. I needed more stops, more time to get up; more courage to summon that stubbornness I had been confusing for self-esteem. The load would begin to affect my choices: I would start looking for shortcuts. Better yet, I would ask other travelers for their evaluation of the course ahead.
“It’s just that… I have all this baggage,” I would explain, introducing the heavy load on my back as some alter-ego of mine.
I would begin to doubt my choices, to question if my “later” was still worth the pains. Suddenly, I would find myself wasting time on indecisiveness — a quality that tarnished my self-esteem.
It would be thrilling, though, when for a while I would be accompanied by a love. He would offer me a helping hand, and although I would accept it reluctantly, I had to notice how much easier it was to travel without baggage. Quickly, I would get addicted, if not to that same helping hand, but at least to the illusionary promise of it. But still committed to my baggage, I wouldn’t notice the burden it would be causing to my love. And when that love would depart, sometimes, I would ask to carry some of his load as well: Might need it later.
It would take a few more loves — loves that were in love with their own baggage of suffering — before I would wonder:
“Perhaps, it is time — for a change.”
Gradually, at first, I began leaving some issues at my rest stops or pretending to forget about them when they were carried by a love. And then, a new habit kicked in: Once twirled in my hands for the last time, an item would be disposed. Because rarely did my baggage prove itself worthy of my “later”.
And for a change, I began wanting to change. Not waiting for it: Not rummaging in my baggage for promises of closures or resolutions. Instead, I’ve gotten into a new habit of letting go — for the sake of change.
So, enough now! It’s time to let go, time to unload. It’s time — to change, for a change.