Packing and its metaphors for life

I really, really hate packing. Always have, for as long as I can remember. I barely thought about packing for my first year of college until the week I left. I didn’t start packing for study abroad until the day before I boarded my plane. Now as I sit in my room with clothes strewn about and stacks of books and stuff everywhere, I circle back to those moments with a question in mind:

Why? Why the resistance to packing, to getting organized (something I usually love) and moving forward?

Well, for starters, there’s the physical and emotional baggage that comes with packing. I never really thought about it until today, how often I try to avoid my past. They don’t call it baggage for nothing – many times I stuff things from my past deep down and carry them with me, bearing their unresolved and unacknowledged weight for so long I forget what life is like without them.

Packing brings all of that to the surface. There’s that scarf he bought me that I put in the back of the closet when we broke up – now I’m forced to take it out, examine both the scarf and my feelings, and pack it up properly. There’s the card she wrote me before we drifted apart – now I read the words and feel strange, like I’m eavesdropping on a conversation.

I avoid packing just like I avoid conflict and sadness – they’re painful to address and even though it’s childish, I always hope if I ignore them long enough they’ll disappear. It never works, and instead adds to the ever-growing pile of things I’ll “deal with later.” Then the pile gets so big it topples over and I have no choice but to deal, because I’m learning there’s never a good time to deal with anything. It’s easier to face life head on, pains and all, instead of dodging one bullet and getting pummeled by a semi-automatic later on.

This isn’t to say I’ve given up my childish ways. Clearly I haven’t – you should see my room right now. It’s so symbolic of all the emotional baggage I have yet to work through. But I feel like this connection of emotional and literal baggage is a step in the right direction. Acknowledging (and not hating) where I am (literally and figuratively) is the first step, and making a game plan from there is the next one.

So this is me, taking a deep breath and acknowledging where I’m at – lots to go through and deal with – and hoping that soon I’ll know how to proceed from here.

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3 responses to “Packing and its metaphors for life

  1. You know what you need to do. You need to go through your stuff and get rid of whatever makes you sad. It’ll be hard, but my god you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders.

    I love packing… I think it’s because you are condensing everything important into such a tiny space. I like the feeling of being able to pick that bag/suitcase up and leave, knowing I have everything important. I suppose it’s a bit like freedom.

    Unpacking, though, is a completely different story. I would rather live out of a bag on my bedroom floor for three weeks than unpack immediately.

  2. “now I read the words and feel strange, like I’m eavesdropping on a conversation”

    I LOVE this line.

    • Thank you! I was so bad about checking the blog for a while (obviously) but I really appreciate you saying that.

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