Oct 24, 2016

Baggage - Southern Style

Baggage, we all have it if we've lived any kind of life. Sometimes we carry it around, give it pretty patterns and pretend it's designer luggage. When we open it, it's usually full of dirty gym socks. You know, those things we'd rather forget. Because it's baggage, we just zip it up! Forgotten, as a classic southern woman once said, 'I'll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.'. Only like the woman in question, we tend to hold onto things that aren't good for us. For whatever reason we just knnnoooowwww we want to keep it. (Okay, so Vivian Leigh was actually British, and Clark Gable had bad breath, but I'm talking Scarlett and Rhett here and Rhett most certainly did not have bad breath, ever. See, right here in Rules for Hot Looking Southern Men* #1 Thou shalt have never have an offensive odor, and it's cousin, #2 Breaths are to be taken and not given.) Anyway, like Miss Scarlett, we put aside those things that interfere with our desires. (You know, like the whole Ashely marrying his cousin, who is saccharine sweet and highly annoying because of it  a darling!... thing.) So those wonderfully odoriferous sweaty socks sit, and wait, and stagnate until you just can't take the stench one more minute! You hold your breath and you open the bag, and...............OH MAN THE SMELL! Socks that should have been easily dealt with are now stuck to the bag and are walking away on their own. They no longer give a damn about you, or the pretty little bag you kept them in.

So, what to do? You know, cause those gym socks are the PERFECT socks. They have never failed you, not once! Heck they make you feel alive when you have them. One, recognize, that even though they have flaws right now (aka they stink), they are exactly what you need, no need to look for new ones. They keep your feet dry, and they even make you smile during burpees, but ooooohhhh one whiff and we are ready to zip them back up and forget them again. Instead of throwing them back into the bag, look at them. Take them out, and if only for a second or two acknowledge just what they have gone through for your sake. Start shaking off some of the mud and dirt so you can see the reality again. Doesn't have to be the same day, just get the ball rollin' darlin'. Then pray. Let God lead you on the next step, sometimes just acknowledging the gym bag is all you can do, other times you are out there in the middle of a rain storm beating them against a rock to break up the years of caked on dirt and sweat that made them so hard to deal with in the first place. Sometimes those gym socks are actually abuse we have worn and we need to get all the dirt out before we can see if it's even worth salvaging or not. Sometimes it's something we have done wrong to someone else and it's eaten away at us for so long that we can't even admit it's 'a thing'. Thing is, until we deal with them we won't know the lessons we were supposed to learn. Once in awhile those socks are salvageable and we wear those bad boys with pride (Those bad  *cough* "sock"s can be a lot of fun,..... when young and stupid.) and with every burpee life throws we haul them out and smile, knowing we've been to this ball before. Other times they fall apart in the washing and just are not worth holding onto, and so we are released through no real act of conscious will. They just cease to be. Then there are the ones that we love, because they have been with us so long we have to force ourselves to walk away from them. They don't fit and they cause blisters when they rub. Those you just need to let go and walk away from. Now that the socks are dealt with, on to the bag.

So now we've taken care of the contents of the beloved gym bag, but is the gym bag worth keeping? Has it become tainted with the stains from the socks? We all know something can be long gone and still leave it's mark. So if they are gone, aaahhhhh relief, one less thing to worry about! (wine and biscotti anyone?!).......only now there's an empty space that used to belong to those socks and probably stinks. Yes, you 'can even' so don't say you can't. Same general steps as the socks. It just takes a little longer, and usually has some really gross spots. This is, after all, the pretty little package that allowed you to hide the ugly for so long. It's going to be a bit more work and it's gonna suck. Clean it, beat that mess loose, Tudor style with a bat in a stream if that's what works. If it breaks, let it go. I repeat, let. it. go. Get a new bag or live without one. You may find pieces of the old bag from time to time here and there. Toss them. If the bag is worth keeping, the very first thing you put into it is work. You worked to save that bag. It's important to you. You own it! You fill it with accomplishments and awesome socks (for heaven's sake keep them washed though, better a routine washing cycle than having to through this again!). When you are satisfied that you have done everything you possibly can to restore and repair the gym bag be at peace no matter the result. You have done your part. You are allowed to put it down and carry on without it if it serves no purpose anymore. That gym bag may be memories, that gym bag may be a parent, it may even be a spouse. Even if you don't believe in burning bridges, you still have the right to a healthy life. Hold onto that, because even the most well meaning people, people that genuinely love you, can lead you wrong, and it is absolutely okay to love them from a distance.

Now onto the environment you are in when you tackle the job. People around you may or may not know what you're going through. Some will want to help you, and others, not so much. (Hint keep the Rhetts, they can be unconventional, and sometimes they aren't even all that nice, but they are genuine, they love you, and they stay with you even when you are clueless. (chaotic good)  Lose the Ashleys, they look pretty, keep you sticking around for their own vanity, and are meant for someone else. (lawful evil) Cherish the Melanies in life. They are rare, because they see your ugly, they know how bad your gym socks are before you do, know you want theirs, and yet they love and support you anyway with 0 thought of self. (classic lawful good)) Only you and God know where you are in relation to those socks and that bag. At the end of the day you are alone with your own thoughts. Live in peace with you and with others if possible, assume the best until they are proven false. If they are not for you, or are hurting you despite their intentions, go look into the gym bag of those relationships and act accordingly. Sometimes the socks just aren't a good fit for where you are at the moment, but not without merit, sometimes the socks were great in the past, but you've outgrown them. Either way, not a bad thing, just a life thing. Do what you are led to do and have peace. Be adult enough to know peace doesn't equal ease, and don't be afraid. Peace be with you and with your spirit.

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