How are you today? When was the last time you seriously asked yourself that? Keep that thought in mind—I’m coming back to it.
I got home from work Friday and sat in my car for a second. I grabbed my purse, laptop bag; workout bag and both cell phones. I refused to make two trips back to the car and chose to carry everything at once. I struggled. It became even more difficult when I insisted on answering an email on my Blackberry while opening the door. Once I stepped in, I flung my load onto the couch and exhaled a sigh of relief. I turned my IPOD on and the first song that played was Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady. It tripped me out for a second.
I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. I began thinking about me and my bags. Bags full of Issues. Some of them don’t even belong to me. Some of them, I didn’t ask for. They were left on my doorstep. They were someone else’s and I chose to carry them for them. They were now all of my bags. And to make matters worse, the heavy load from the bags was wearing me down and turning me into a bitch. A bitch with a mean bag collection.
Maybe it has something to do with my folks robbing me of a gang of money or my cousin being murdered or the reality that no matter how hard I work, I can’t save my family from themselves, I can’t fly my friends around the world popping bottles and I can’t make the man I love speak or even understand my language to save my life. Maybe it was one or all of those issues turning me into a bitch. Stress. Lack of sleep. Life.
I used to tell myself that I would never let life beat me down. That I would never let situations alter who I was as a person. I thought that, despite the trials and tribulations that surrounded me, I would still be able to maintain the positive vibe and energy that I make a conscience effort to embody everyday.
Negative. “One day, all them bags gon’ get in your way.” And the next thing you know, you’re a woman with an attitude problem who has a serious lack of patience and a small tolerance for BS. And if you don’t catch it in time, you’ll find yourself on the same path to Bitchville.
And to make matters worse, the older we get and the more money we make, the prettier the bags become; you go from Coach to Gucci and soon realize that a bag is a bag is a bag. No matter how well we clean up, on the inside, we’re still carrying that same ol’ baggage. It causes us to struggle even more. What’s a bigger fight or struggle than the one you have with yourself?
Reality Check. Intervention. That’s what I told myself Friday on that couch. I needed to humble myself before God did. No matter what happened to me, it is not an excuse to bitch my way through life. It’s only a reason to check in on myself and make sure I’m OK and to figure out what it takes to keep me going as whole as I can. I owe me and those who believe in me that much.
If I’m certain about anything, it’s that we cannot change the past. You cannot go back and make your parents give you a better childhood; you cannot bring a loved one back to life, you cannot stop a past of molestation, abuse or violence, you cannot stop your first love from breaking your heart, you cannot stop your husband or wife from cheating, you cannot change what happened yesterday—but you can forgive it. It’s a good time to heal.
How are you today? When was the last time you seriously asked yourself that? Do you find yourself missing who you used to be—a more forgiven, trusting, loving, open, carefree person? Have you allowed things to alter who and what you are?
We all have. Not allowing circumstances to shape and define who we are is much easier said than done, but its something that we at least have to try. Clearing our hearts and minds is a gateway to a healthier life; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and beyond.
You have so much to be grateful for. Look around you, people are losing everything that they worked for.
A little optimism and hope, laughter and prayer can go a long way. Be patient with your life; God is not done with you yet. Don’t stunt your own growth. Help Him, help you.
It’s never too late to start over and if you’re moving into a new you, it’s ok to leave some old bags at the old house. Drop those things off and embrace the load that is being lifted off of your shoulders—it’s something to sigh about!
-Ashley Charisma is the author of School of Black Love. For more info on Ashley Charisma and the novel visit www.ashleycharisma.com.
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