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.