Boxes and zips

It’s time to pack, for somebody who likes order and organising, it’s always exciting. You can tell a lot about a person from the way they pack. I for one know my packing mechanisms will be a great way to understand me. It’s not just what we pack, but it’s also about how we pack them. In these last few days, it’s a rush to get everything done and set for when we go.

There are people who just throw everything into the suitcase in a heap at the last minute. They underestimate the packing and try to pull off the task right before they leave. There are some who you’ll find drowned in lists way in advance working up their stress, constantly packing and re-packing. They’re never done packing until they’re at the airport because they’re never satisfied. Then there are those who talk about packing, describe how they’re going to pack and how much they have to pack without moving an inch until it’s too late and they’ll come to you for help. There are also those people who get somebody else to do it for them.

I have a system, I’m someone who has dreams about packing, just lining all of it neatly in the space given to me. I remember the last time I was travelling I visualised the suitcase and drew up a blueprint of how I’d like to pack my bag. There’s a reason why I was diagnosed with OCD. I followed my blueprints with some help from my Mum. My Mum is the most reliable packer in m life, her vision aligns with mine. We know how to make space in the tightest spaces. I am a little lazier than her because I always feel like there is more time, my Mum likes to start early.

I find packing therapeutic. The reason why I am writing about it, is because it’s always my way to cope with other anxieties, the anxiety of going to a place, a huge change in my life, anything. It distracts my mind from the shifts and uncertainties. Those who have the same issues will understand. it’s easier to remind myself to carry socks and a toothbrush than contemplating how it’s going to be in the place I am going to.

I compartmentalise everything, even in my head, that’s why emotions bother me. Emotions can’t be compartmentalised, you can’t bubble-wrap an emotion, label it and put it away on a shelf. My head likes organisation but it’s not organised and that’s my daily struggle. So if I can’t organise my head, I can at least organise my external surroundings.

If you really look at it, we travel with our fragile emotions and thoughts everywhere. We don’t know how to protect them, we’re breakable and in some cases, more fragile than glass but must put ourselves out there. If we get lost in this journey we can’t be returned to any owner, we don’t come with a tag, we aren’t carried by someone else, we are not water-proof, fire-proof, and kept air-tight. What will keep us safe?

We take such good care of our belongings but never of ourselves. We put our up-keep on hold to keep are materials alright. As I pack I worry about something breaking, tearing or spilling, I’m not worried about how I feel about the change. I want to but I don’t seem to be able to. My OCD has always been an outlet for my anxiety.

As I pull the zip around the suitcase like creating a circle of protection and check to see if everything isn’t moving or shuffling from its place I wish I could do the same with my brain and heart. I wish I could tuck every spilling emotion inside and zip it into place, use other emotions or thoughts to fortify it, and if that doesn’t work I wish I could strap it into place. But that doesn’t happen.

Sometimes I think that being human is what holds me back, especially at times like these because we feel so much, we feel more than we can handle. I think there should be an upper limit to feeling, like pollution rates. We keep feeling until we make ourselves sick and hope somebody can fix us. We work based on how we feel or how we think and thinking always takes us away from our present. We traverse the tenses, we traverse planes of different emotions all in the space of a minute or less.

As you pack, you realise you can’t take everything with you, and I think it’s the same thing with the mind. I am a hoarder by habit and it’s hard for me to leave anything behind. I do the same thing with emotions and thoughts. My Mum always says, “Only carry what you need.” It’s important and I think we need to adopt the same attitude in life, why carry every bad memory, every insult, every doubt with you everywhere? It’s only weighing us down. I need to carry only what I need.

We like to travel light, because it’s easier. It’s impossible for one human to carry everything. An emotion is heavier than an anvil. If you think emotions are light, you’ve never felt. We don’t even know what we’re feeling half the time, so how do you leave emotion behind? You never know when you’re going to need an emotion so you’d prefer to carry every single one. It’s like that with most things isn’t it, I am sure I won’t be using that hat, but what if? I am pretty sure that bracelet will not be worn, but what if? Before we know it, we’ve managed to fit everything from bathroom fixtures to bricks into the suitcase, “just in case”.

When you’re done with the packing, you always feel like you might leave something behind. You keep checking till it’s time to leave. It fills my heart with comfort when I see everything so neatly kept, it gives me pleasure just to look at it. In my subconscious, I am running through my list, it’s usually the important things that get left behind, don’t you think?

I always forget the one thing I didn’t want to forget, I have all the frills, the extra emotions, thoughts, but I leave behind that particular thing that I depended on, and must somehow manage without it. It’s amazing how that happens, you can swear you packed it all and yet. Packing is just the first step towards travel. The journey itself is a different story.

Packing right now brings out old belongings from hiding, things I forgot I had, and it’s always interesting. As I decide what to take and leave I am already thinking of when I’ll return. You can’t return without leaving, that’s the beauty of it. We all have baggage, you know nothing about people from the look of their baggage and how many pieces they’re carrying, but look inside the baggage and you’ll understand exactly how much and what they’re carrying.

People with no baggage? You don’t have to see something to know it exists, ask those who believe in God, in ghosts, in love and in happiness. We all have baggage, some of us carry it, some of us leave it somewhere and some of us hide it.


6 thoughts on “Boxes and zips

  1. Poonacha PG says:

    Nice thoughts packed and zipped very well. Glad you did not lock them only in your mind! I wish this world becomes our home with no need to pack and zip anything, lock with fear and suffer from OCD. Enjoy writing more in the coming years.


  2. Cathy Cade says:

    I travel often between homes.
    Some things I don’t need to pack because they should be there already (unless my resident son has used, broken or given away since our last visit). I return every time with a list of things I need to take back next time – these I start collecting immediately and then forget to look at my list again.
    I make another list nearer the time to remind me of things I must pack.
    I have yet to travel without forgetting something. There will be one last list I forgot to check or one unlisted thing I forgot to pack. One trip I forgot my handbag (my life is contained in that bag!)
    The amazing thing is – we survive all my ommissions. Worse things can happen (and probably will).


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