The Baggage Claim

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The bottom line is, we all have baggage.
It took a long time for me to be able to group myself into that category, to stand up and say, “Hey, I have a load I carry around from my past, too” because my world has always been, “Feel things, just don’t be dramatic about it.” But baggage is inevitable in a world where people need other people.

When was the last time you were at the baggage claim at an airport?
The gears underneath that worn and torn conveyer belt creak as luggage turns the corner. Passengers flock towards the sound, their sagging eyes, messy hair, and popping ears screaming “I’m just ready to go home,” while everyone else’s baggage keeps them there just a little bit longer.

Everyone’s baggage is different:
Sometimes people bundle everything up in pretty, hot pink zebra luggage. If you want to get really fancy, you’ll go the extra mile— Louis Vuitton.
But other people sloppily pile their things into ugly, army green suitcases covered in awkward stains from spilt shampoo or make-up.
Passengers study the baggage on the conveyor belt, waiting for their own, judging what passes by, when in reality it’s all just a nice show to cover up the same junk they all have tucked away behind the suitcase zipper.
It doesn’t matter how you wrap it all up, baggage is baggage.
Baggage is the thing that you have to unload through the tedious luggage check; people you’ve never met will watch your personal items pop up on a screen as your baggage goes through a scanner, and they’ll be the judge as to whether or not they think what you’re carrying is safe enough to make it to your next destination.
Baggage is the heavy load on wheels behind you that will slow you down when you’re running late to your gate.
Most of your baggage will be packed away beneath the cabin for your journey, while one or two “allowed carry on’s” will be hiding beneath your seat, the baggage you just can’t part with for even a short flight.

The word “baggage” comes with such a negative connotation. Heart aches, mistakes, the countless times we’ve been stabbed in the back— the baggage weighs us down and, if we let it, can rob us of our happiness in the present along with the potential of our future.
So we’re bitter, and we swear we’ll never love again with huge duffle bags hanging on our arms that shriek,

• My mom walked out on us
• He said he loved me, but then he slept with my best friend
• My dad died when I was twelve, my family has been unraveling in the ugliest way ever since
• My best friends screwed me over, and now I’m all alone.
• Everything was fine for the first few months, and then she just stopped talking to me.

We quickly forget that all that baggage we are carrying around was actually once a joy in our life that simply became a lesson. And in reality, we still need that baggage if we want to go anywhere in life. Whether you’re flying to New York City or just taking a quick road trip to Panama City Beach for Spring Break, you carry some form of baggage with you. Because you need what’s inside.
Take time to decipher which baggage is meant to be tucked away below the cabin and which baggage is meant to be a carry on. And never be ashamed of the things you carry, because other people will without a doubt be at the baggage claim waiting with you for their own bags.
The pain we carry in suitcases on our arms and backs—all that baggage—was meant to make us stronger, not keep us from the flight that will take us to our next destination.

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3 thoughts on “The Baggage Claim

  1. Wow Jenna! You really know how to send a “message on life”. I think you have a great talent for this kind of writing. Looking forward to your next!!

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