“Bag Ladies: How many (BAGS) are you carrying?”
We as women love jewelry, clothes and shoes, but nothing compares to a handbag. It gives us confidence, sophistication, status, style, elegance, poise and to many, the more expensive the bag is, the more important we tend to feel. I, myself, love large bags, in fact, the bigger the better. They hold all the things we need and all the things that we think we may need, even the things that we don’t. Consequently, the more we can stuff into a bag, the more it weighs on our shoulder, causing severe pain. And instead of taking out all the things that we don’t need, we switch shoulders, take a deep breath and continue on carrying our beautiful bag from place to place, smiling as if we have everything all under control. We forget that it doesn’t matter the size of the bag at all. The smallest of bags hold things that we may or may not need. The only difference is that the smaller bag tends to weigh less, so we don’t experience any signs of pain at the moment. But as time passes on, it too can become severe, unbearable, and sometimes life threatening. In secret, bags are a way to hide or shield things we don’t want others to know about or see. Many people, women especially, bring all the bags from throughout life, everywhere we go, starting a massive collection, ultimately sabotaging our futures.
“Bag Lady, you gon hurt your back dragging all dem bags like dat,” Erykah Badu said it all when she wrote those lyrics to that amazing song. It’s about a woman who cannot move forward because she cannot let go of her past (baggage). Bringing and holding on to old shit will eventually lead you down the same path when it comes to moving in a new direction…new path…new journey. Baggage, according to Webster’s definition is stated as: things that encumber one’s freedom, progress, development, or adaptability; impediments. “You can’t hurry up cause you got too much stuff”! Life is like the bags we see and carry. If we are not careful, we can keep and open ourselves up to a lifetime of regret, shoulda-woulda-coulda’s, what ifs, and other clichés.
Some women love baggage. They strive off it. They don’t know when or how to let go and just buy a brand new bag or accept another bag as a gift from someone who just wants to see her happy in her life. No, they continue to carry the old, beat down, knock-off that was given to her by the last person she was with, when they probably didn’t even pay for it. It’s filled with pain, heartache, insecurity, vulnerability, low self-esteem, ugliness, and bitterness. Those components have been constantly weighing her down, beating her day after day to think that she doesn’t deserve a beautiful, new, DESIGNER bag instead. She doesn’t let anyone in, in fear that they will do the same thing as the last. And when she does decide to try out a new bag, she compares it to the last with every detail, tries to stuff all of her issues she carried in the old one into the new one eventually causing it to break. It’s okay to let others take the load off of you. As footprints in the sand reveals only one set of prints, we have to know that God carries us when we get tired, so it’s normal to let someone in who genuinely wants to help. We all need someone in our lives at some point in time.
“I guess nobody ever told you all you must hold onto is you, is you…” True, we all need to take care of ourselves, but it’s always nice to let someone take care of you for a change. We as women need to learn how to submit. Hold on, I know some of you are like “whatever” “hell nawl” “not me” well I am not talking about losing yourself. I’m talking about submitting to the person/people who love you. If you have someone in your life who wants to love, cherish, adore, and be there for you just let them. Don’t be too proud to allow someone to see you vulnerable. Allow them to take your bag off your shoulder, give you a much needed back rub, and take all your cares away. Allow them to pamper you. Allow them the chance to express and show actions behind saying that they love and would do anything for you. It’s okay! Allow that bag to rest so that you can heal. You don’t want your shoulders to slump, causing more problems than you care to deal it.
“One day all dem bags gon get in your way!” This statement reigns true in too many ways to count or mention. We have some women who carry so much baggage that she neglects having time for anything or anyone other than herself. She does her own thing to prove something to others looking in from the outside, when in fact she is really just trying to prove something to herself. She shops excessively letting her bills go unpaid to keep up appearances. She only has about twenty dollars to her name, waiting for her next paycheck, but sees her girlfriend with a new bag, so she has to have it too. Lying and deceit becomes her best friends, coaching her into finding ways to manipulate others into giving her what she wants. She holds on to all the terrible things she went through as a child, in a previous relationship, life in general, blaming everyone but herself. We have to learn to forgive, forget and move forward otherwise, we will continue to stay idle. She misses out of a good man, having a loving family and no one wants to be in her company because of her conniving ways. The people she tries to impress still look down on her because they can see straight through her tactics. Little does she know the only person who will get hurt from this process is she! She needs to stop getting in her own way. If she only knew that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, she wouldn’t care what others said or thought about her. Besides, when you are making “Coach” money, you shouldn’t try to buy Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Prada. Don’t overextend yourself to impress people who could care less. When you get evicted, car repossessed, those same people will be there laughing in your face because you still walking around carrying your pretty bag. It’s just not worth it!
“Bag Lady you gon miss your bus you can’t hurry up cause you got too much stuff, when they see you coming Niggas take-off running from you, oh yes they do…” This type of woman carries old shit into her new, causing more harm than good. She cannot seem to let go of the last man who hurt her or did her so wrong and when she does find another who wants to truly be with her, she pushes him away because of her baggage. Ladies, no man in his right mind will just allow you to carry the same old ugly, ruggedly bag, stuffed with so much junk with you when the two of you are going anywhere. First of all, it clashes with everything. Nothing you put on matches it. The trail of negativity it gives off becomes too much for him to deal with. If he sees potential in the relationship, he may go out and purchase a new bag for you, but as I said earlier, we tend to stuff all the old stuff from the other into the new, causing it to overflow or break. When he wants to communicate about what happened, you automatically get defensive, thinking he is trying to get all up in your business or try to tell you how to live your life. Sadly, I know many women who have fail victim to “bag abuse”. Yes, “bag abuse”. It’s when you have gone through pain at some point in your life but refuses to move forward carrying baggage from relationship to relationship, eventually sabotaging them all. A man doesn’t want a needy woman, who compares him to her ex, nags, neglects and constantly puts down on him and herself. “That shit is for the birds!” Fly away as far as you can. (Hey, I’m just saying! You wouldn’t want to hear his ass talking about the last woman he was with.) Stop fooling yourself into thinking that you would…
“One day he gon say, you crowding my space, so pack light.” A woman who carries so much baggage that she don’t even know she carrying it, a woman who is married but refuses to act as such. She doesn’t respect or even acknowledge her husband. She prefers to shop, hang out with her girls instead of being a mother to her children and wife to her husband. The only reason she got married in the first place was because she got pregnant and didn’t want to stay in her mother’s house. A mentality of “I am gonna carry my handbag filled with tons of useless shit, spend your money to buy a new one, fill it with more shit and then do what I please regardless of who it may hurt.” She always looks good, but her children look thrown away, unless she is trying to impress someone she feels who has more than she does, trying to live above her means. She talks to her husband like he is one of her children, and her friends come first. She only wants her husband to carry the bag when she is trying on another one, when he wasn’t the one who bought it in the first place. She doesn’t want him to really know that she has skeletons in that bag from her past and if he found out, she would be left the hell alone. Her bag means more to her than her family, and the first chance she gets, she will leave her family for the next fool who tells her what she want to hear or buys her a beautiful new bag. The sad part is that whether its’ an original or a knockout, she doesn’t know the difference, so the cycle continues.
“You deserve something better…” Now there are many bag ladies in the world, but there are some who carry the load of others instead of her own. The weight of the world around her is on her shoulders, slowly killing her spirit, her soul, her beauty. She just can’t seem to catch a break. The straps on her bag are cutting into her flesh, but she presses on. She knows that a change will come along, and life will get better. She sleeps with her bag under her pillow because the last time she didn’t, she woke up and found that her rent money, bill money, money for her kids’ lunch was gone. The man she thought she married isn’t that man at all; she is living with a stranger in her house. She cries herself to sleep each night after putting her babies to sleep, praying to God that the one and only bag she owns finally falls apart, so that she can get a new one. The harder she tries, the more he takes. She loves her kids with every fiber of her existence and yet, she cannot protect them when she goes to work at job number three, leaving them home with their father. Each day her bag gets heavier, harder to carry. She struggles with herself because deep inside she knows that she has to make a choice to get out while they still can. Because the bag is so much to handle, she stays and becomes another statistic.
“Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go…” We don’t fill our bags enough with goals, ambitions, morals, values and striving to be greatness. Instead we fill them with hatred, envy, greed, bitterness, negativity, judgment, etc. Remember that no one is perfect. Nothing in life is so grand that we have to subject ourselves to pain and heartache. Every bag you see someone else carrying isn’t the right bag for you. Just because it looks pretty, seems to hold all of their stuff, and appears to be painless to carry, doesn’t mean that that is true. You never know what troubles lay inside. Don’t just settle for someone else’s junk, baggage, knockoff. You deserve a one of a kind, custom-made original handbag that fits your style, grace, and personality. Yes, for those who don’t think such a bag exists, well think again because it does. It comes in all shapes and colors. Whether it is a hobo, bucket, backpack or clutch, it’s your choice in which design you chose. Make sure it is empty when you get it and don’t stuff it with things other than the things you need. Don’t settle on style when you bring it home, for in the end, you are the one who will be taking care of it once you make the purchase, and don’t frown upon letting someone buy it for you. Keep it some place so that it can breathe, keep its shape, be admired/showcased, easy accessible when you need it, and although it may become your favorite, you shouldn’t just only carry it around. Buy one for each season, occasion in your life or simply because you can and deserve to reward yourself. Start anew. But more importantly, remember that in changing from bag to bag, all the stuff you have accumulated with each, it has no place in the new. Everything has a place. Some bags can be thrown away. There is nothing wrong with “vintage” but even they too go out of style for a season or two. Treat each bag as you would want to be treated, but don’t let the bag define you! What you put inside, you can also pull out! Nothing is so permanent that change isn’t allowed!
Until next time, be inspired, be encouraged, be YOU!
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Special thanks to Erykah Badu, her album Mama’s Gun and song “Bag Lady” for the lyrics used in this post!!!