My mind sometimes fastens on a metaphor and rides it to the very end of the road.
Irene, the Green Stone Woman, blogged about an image her therapist gave her. She "imagined me climbing on a healthy horse with my disorders as a little bit of baggage hanging off my saddle," Irene wrote. This metaphor struck me and hovered in the back of my head all day.
I started thinking about my baggage, which wouldn't be just a little bit hanging off my saddle. I'd need a big Pony Express bag to carry my stuff along. I know my horse would behave better if I'd lighten the load, but every time I start to discard something, I get bogged down in the provenance of the item. This is the anger I carry in the inside pocket, and a little bit of blame I keep because no one else wants it. Here's a chunk of stupidity that I've learned to live with, and the guilt from that one period when I wasn't a good mom. Down in the bottom I carry a heavy regret for a fork I took in the road.
I know everyone has baggage. I've been trying to get rid of some of mine. The funny part is that I don't need to have a rummage sale or take it to Goodwill or rent a storage unit to keep it in. All I have to do is take it out of the bag and drop it. Toss it over my shoulder. Ride on without it. But I hoard the things in my saddlebag like treasures.
The part that I dislike most about the baggage I'm carrying is that sometimes I try to make other people responsible for it. Some innocent action or response makes me angry or sad - because it reminds me of some resentment I've been hoarding in my bag. That's not fair to anyone, because I'm likely to take out one of those little stones and chuck it at the head of someone who doesn't deserve it.
I don't know why we cling so desperately to attitudes and pain that we don't need and would be better off without. My horse feels a little tired from carrying useless baggage and would appreciate my cooperation, so I'm going to empty this bag into the first convenient Dumpster. Wait - maybe I can just toss the whole saddlebag into the trash bin and ride on fresh and renewed.
My monkey post from a couple of days ago got me into trouble. So I learned that there are some monkey lovers out there, and they seem to think that I find their monkey teasing amusing in some way. People never seem to believe me when I say I am afraid of monkeys. Pictures of them give me the creeps. The noise they make is something I hope I never hear again. I won't even watch a nature program if there is a chance a monkey figures somewhere in the story. Otherwise likeable people can't seem to grasp this. (And I'm not talking about people who comment on this blog; I love every one of them for giving their opinions.)
Some people seem to think I'd like to participate in conversations about kissing monkeys, which upsets my stomach. I don't care one bit whether you couldn't tell a monkey kiss from a dog kiss if you were blindfolded (although I don't believe that for a minute). I said it was an irrational fear. I cannot explain it, and I wasn't writing an endorsement of my position. I'm sure a hypnotist could cure me, but since I'm not likely to encounter a monkey on my daily rounds, I don't feel that my fear reduces the quality of my life that much.
There are people who are afraid of water, and I wouldn't push them in the pond. Some people fear snakes to the point where a photo of one makes their heart beat faster. Others scream when they see a spider in the house. My aunt Thedis was so afraid of cats that she used to wet her pants if one got too close to her. I don't see the point of torturing any of them.