It’s been used as a pillow and a blanket on park benches and under trees.
It’s been used as a closet for your one other set of clothing.
It’s been used as a weapon to ward off other homeless folks trying to steal your $.37.
It’s been used as a safe for that same $.37.
It’s been used as a getaway vehicle for stolen liquor.
It’s been used as a pantry for any miscellaneous food found on the street or given by a kind soul.
It’s been used to go to meetings and coffee and always weighed down with the literature that helped change my life.
It’s been used to go to work everyday, carrying shoes and food and books and a change of clothes in order to be successful and dependable and needed and prepared. Head down. Steadfast.
It’s been used to carry important documents and a wedding band on an airplane to go to Vegas to marry my love.
It’s been loaded down with every single need, want, emergency preparedness item – causing it to weigh 947 pounds and causing my back to be twisted, but we were ready, dammit. Should we need anything, we would be ready. But ask me how often we used any of the necessary items in that backpack……
It’s been used to transport fertility drugs to and from anywhere I had to be because those shots don’t care what time it is or where you are.
It’s been removed from my back when the fertility drugs worked at planting two tiny babies in my belly and the doctor demanded I stop playing a pack mule every day of my life.
I listened. I stopped. I felt naked. I felt lighter. So much lighter. I looked around and realized I didn’t need to carry all that baggage.
It’s incredible how much life can change you. For good and for bad. I’m still part transient. It’s in my blood and would be in anybody’s after being homeless for any period of time. But it’s better. I don’t carry around nearly as much “stuff” with me these days. I have a home. I HAVE A HOME. But still……
This backpack’s been sweat on and and spilled through and spit up on and colored through with markers. It’s been clawed open by a squirrel trying to get to our crackers at the park. It’s been snatched off my stroller but apprehended by a kind mom as we look out for each other. MOM FIST BUMP. It’s been used as a snack dispensary system for both toddlers and unfortunate adults who look like they could use a snack.
It’s carried breast pump accoutrements and MILK ALL THE MILK back and forth and back and forth and so help me if anybody even LOOKED at that bag wanting to snatch it. That pumped breastmilk was GOLD baby. Don’t even think about it. These days it carries coloring books and diapers and snacks and sippy cups some days and work items other days.
It carries items that complement my life. It no longer carries my life.
This backpack has gone from a desperate, sad, overburdened tool for survival to a dependable, fun, dirty, broken-in old friend that I will have a hard time ever parting from. Keeping my past close, but not too close, is key to my survival as a happy joyous and free person these days. I don’t regret my past. I look forward to my future. But more importantly, I inhale and exhale my present.
This backpack has seen it all. It’s owner has seen a lot too. But we both have so much more to see and best part is, we don’t have to haul our past around with us. We know where we’ve been and we have no idea where we are going, but we know we will never be prepared. And that’s thrilling.
Letting go of baggage is so freeing. Both physically and mentally. I never forget where I’ve been and I always remain grateful. Keep on trudging the happy road of destiny, everybody. I’ll be here with you, and I’ve got snacks!
See also – Walk of the Not Quite Dead
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