Friday, February 10, 2012

What we carry with us

Today I finally went for the polarity therapy session that I've needed. While there, my mind started to wander (as always). I started thinking about everything I carry with me in my purse. It's quite heavy and I continually receive comments about what the heck could be in there. I always respond that I have my whole life with me.

But today as I mentally began to empty my purse and investigate its contents, I realized I really do carry my whole life. And what does that say about me?

My wallet makes up the majority of the weight of my purse. Besides money and bank cards (mine and my dad's), I have a lot of business cards. Not just from people I've met and professionals I work with, but also the cards of friends. I like to help my friends network so whenever I hear a need being voiced, I rifle through my stack of cards and hand one out along with a hefty endorsement.

Also in my wallet are remembrance cards from friends and family who have passed. And old ticket stubs from concerts I've enjoyed. There's a section for pictures there too. I carry wallet-sized school pictures of my nieces and nephews so I can have friends put names to faces when I brag about them.

Since you never know what sort of situation you could end up in outside of your home, I carry travel-sized emergency supplies that would make a girl scout or a Walgreens manager proud. Hand cream, floss, anti-bacterial lotion, lip balm, eye drops, lint brush (it's small, more like a brushette), tissues (the ones my friend Moira gave me that are red and say "Keep Calm and Carry On", more an inspirational item than something I use for my nose, but still....), tape measure (don't laugh, I use this a lot, and so do others when we're out), aspirin, mini hair brush, comb. 

The inside pocket of my purse has my own business cards, note paper, tiny address book, mirror, and rocks. Yes, rocks. Special rocks. The kind a sweetheart like my friend Chris would have given you 8 years ago when he returned from a vacation by the sea to let you know that he thought of you when he was there and wanted to bring a piece of it back for you.

When I went through my mental inventory, I realized that I do carry my entire life with me. Not just in my purse but in my person. I have a hard time letting go of things and moving unencumbered in the world. I say it's who I am. My personality; my character. 

My birthday was yesterday, the first one without my mom. I had a very happy, fun day but did take some time to think about what my birthday was like when she was here. 

Mom didn't carry much in her purse. It was light and open, just like her. She lived her life very much in the present. No baggage.

So what's to be lost by losing the mini-CVS in my purse? Lint on my clothes, dry hands, and a hair or two out of place. Not so bad.

Maybe it's time I start letting go of the tangible evidences of my life, worrying always that I'll need something that I don't have but could if I had only been prepared. 

Because the things you carry around that matter are not tangible. Those concert tickets and old business cards are not replacements for the memories stored in my head. 

And the rocks. Carried with me for 8 years because I fear that, by taking them out, I am dishonoring a gesture of true friendship. A friendship that is stronger than those rocks, and deeper than any ocean they could lie beside.