on if we could see what we carry

In a world of manifest metaphor, we carry our baggage by our sides and on our backs. Into suitcases, hold-alls, carry-ons and duffel bags, we cramp and stuff once significant others, bruises taken as children, rejections suffered at the hands of those more than us, dreams we were slow to claim and the crumbs of daily inadequacies that flake off to line the inseams.

We struggle with our mis-matched luggage; backs stooped, gaits shuffled; into cars, onto busses, taxis, shifting for space around our legs in coffee-shops, cinemas, cubicles at work, restrooms and parks.

Some people’s baggage precede them – taking up too much of your elbow room while others clutch them tightly to their chests, afraid the bones will fall out. We all move around each other in concerted rhythm; this sluggish dance of dragging trunks and lockers, weighted down by chunks of heart, reams of unwritten words; hard-drives of emails we never pushed the button on and what-ifs that clutter in-between.

We see each other for the mules we are and search for some luggage carousel’s re-assuring loop to offload and walk away straight backed; leaving hang-ups and let-downs to circle unclaimed.

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I am a writer and photographer (look up my work on www.shootcake.com) based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the university currently known as Rhodes. My writing accolades include winning the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize for my debut collection, Zikr.

18 thoughts on “on if we could see what we carry”

  1. 🙂

    im totally delayed, but oh so wowEd by ur loaded luggage of metaphor..

    certainly worthy of more than a mere twirl of the fork! im revelling in a mouthful or two!
    my compliments to the chEf 😉

  2. Absolutely true, and the older we get, the more baggage we have to bear. No matter how much we’d like to abandon them, some items can never be left behind. But sometimes, just sometimes, we are fortunate enough to encounter a fellow traveller who can graciously lend a hand, ease the burden and lighten the load.

  3. saals this struck a chord…im not immune to it either…we all carry that baggage, that dissapointment, that hurt, that pain, those bad memories in front of us – hoping that will protect us from getting hurt again.

    what we dont realise is that it actually prevents us from taking a chance again….

    nice post:)))))

  4. dosen’t r baggage make us who we r… basically we r all donkeys??? a slave 2 this life!!! nope – i think good baggage is good and is part of r moral fibre. bad baggage can also sometimes be good baggage. but some bad baggage is just badbaggage and can poison us!!!

  5. We’ve just arrived at a new page, and as we all stand at the baggage claim, we see the different amounts of baggage we each have, and watch as some people hesitate over their luggage and decide what to take and what to dump; and we face an equally daunting task. It’s one thing to say…and another thing to do. Ego driven mental baggage, emotional baggage, etc make it hard for us to choose what to dump, and what to take…often leading us to take everything now and decide later.

    It’s the reason some never get over their past…or acheive their desired future.

    Great metaphor Saaleha….

  6. Hi.This is good posting He!He!He! .
    Baggage Hmmmm “Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough”And if you desire to live like a sufi then “you must give up the luggage of your desires and wishes and thus make life less burdensome” Yes my friend I agree with your writting. :).
    Wish you well

  7. i seriously think you need to get published.
    you just have a way with words…

    but yes, we limp around with too much luggage…we need to let go and walk kalgat 😛

  8. A greatly written metaphor! But I’ll give the easy answer. Life’s a balance. You need to pack for the journey, keep what will help you. But you can’t hold on to everything. It’ll only weight you down and cause problems. Now if only implementing that were as easy as saying it.

  9. wow… inspiring stuff, Saaleha. I love the way you write with the analogies and metaphors… It’s so true as well!

  10. sad though when we hold on to baggage that is just holding us back. when we’re afraid to change coz we worried what people will say or think. when we can console ourselves and do it over and over until its too late.

  11. …we are talking about luggage here, right? 😀
    i always tend to lose my baggage. (as in ‘misplace’ it). an advantage of being absent minded. (as in having a mind that is absent). i find it keeps me sane(ish) and relatively happy(ish). else it just weighs one down. rather spend those resources on the present crap that one can actually do something about…

  12. agreed speedy, but we’ve got to learn to dump the stuff thats going to tip us over the standard allowance.

    no one wakes up, at 23 or 52, a tabula rasa. it’s the grit that’ll polish us and erode us.

  13. Our baggage defines and shapes us.Dropping it of somewhere will acheive nothing more than forcing us to pick up a different lot somewhere else.Rather the devil you know than the one you dont.

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