Unpacking The Bags of Others.

Erykah Badu’s song “Bag Lady” released in the year 2000. I was only in the 5th grade and I would ride the bus to and from school on the other side of my city, but I remember the bus driver would always have the radio on and it would always be on the soul and R&B stations so on our way to school and on our way home from school the bus would be full of kids singing along loudly, not fully understanding what these songs were actually about.

I remember listening to “Bag Lady” literally thinking it was just about women carrying too many bags. Like the kind you see struggling to catch the bus, with a bunch of groceries or shopping bags, but as I got older I began to understand the figurative meaning of carrying bags. We as women tend to carry a lot of them and often times when we’re told to let them go…we don’t know how.

Sometimes as black women it’s hard for us to unpack the luggage we carry because often times its not our own but someone else’s so we don’t even know it’s there. But it is and it affects us and those around us deeply. If you’re one of those women it’s time to start doing some self-checking on the state of your mental and emotional well-being. If you haven’t done so, now’s a great time to start. Who’s bag are you carrying?

There are times when I’m around certain people and my entire attitude just shifts. I find myself easily agitated, complaining and upset and it’s really unnecessary for me to be feeling that way. There are times when friends are going through a tough time and while it might be ideal to be there for them, their energy is taking a negative toll on you. It’s okay to let all of that go. It’s also okay to be there for them without taking on their baggage. It’s possible.

Don’t burden yourself with someone else’s baggage. Women we are often guilty of doing that. We absorb the burdens of our children, our family, our friends, our significant others and we carry them with us. We can’t resolve them because we don’t even know that the death of your friend’s grandma’s sister’s cousin is stuck with us. You don’t know that your best friend’s boyfriend’s financial issues are now your burden because she talks about them whenever you’re around each other. You don’t know that any of it is there simply because it isn’t yours, but it’s there. We are the original empaths, but while we’re emotionally investing in others, who’s checking on us? Who’s bags are we carrying?

So in the words of Ms. Badu “let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go.”

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