Here’s the special feature post. The theme of it was suggested by GB because I was stuck and she knows me better than I know myself.
GB commented, to me, on the symbolism of the suitcase; on how it is a bag that we carry our past and our present into our future. However, it is up to us to decide what we will take with us. We are the ones who nitpick at out belongings and memories and decide which will come with us on our journey. This idea of the magical suitcase is more spiritual and deep than we realize. Some of us just take clothes, shoes and random belongings and just stuff them into our bag in hopes they’ll do. Yet, for those who leave for more than just a weekend getaway or a lengthy vacation, we need to take more. Our life is within that bag and it will transform from old stuff from home into necessary stuff in our new home.
When in our old home we can just go and pick what we need and leave the rest. There is always a spare, there is more to pick from; but when there is a limit to how much you can take, it is important to take what you need. You can’t have an excess of useless stuff because it takes up unnecessary space.
If you are reading closely and in between the lines, reader, you will notice that this is so much more than just a bag that I am talking about; I am talking about identity and safety. What you take into that bag will be what will remind you of home. It will be what will help you through hard times, happy times and just pass any time. The letters that you carry will be the direct connection to emotional times with family members; stuffed animals will be the security of familiarity which at times will feel like its fading. And photos of smiling memories will remind you why you are fighting for a better future.
Yes, you will need the more mundane things like clothes, sewing kits, and shoes; all to help you through each day. I mean, you’re not going to run around naked. But even these things have a personal value. It is these things which will give you an identity. They will shape your appearance and taste in front of peers and strangers. You will be known as that “chick who only has shirts that insult people” or that “chick who likes short shorts”. Nevertheless, it will be you; who you are and how you present yourself. You will also try to carry more than just accessories and the important things; you will want to carry your hobbies (books, sketch pad, paint), you will want to carry things that remind you of home (posters, scrolls). These will serve to stabilize your identity to yourself. As time passes, you will feel like you are not the same person you were before you left. You will feel alienated to yourself and to your past life. These hobbies you carry and practice will help you keep yourself grounded.
In reality, within that one bag, you are carrying yourself. You are carrying your identity, your memories, your strength, your security, your home. Everything that is worth something to you while you are in your old home will come with you into your new home; and the purpose of this is not out of mere necessity, it’s because we need to feel secure. We need to feel like we know where we are even though outside the walls of our new apartment we don’t know anybody. All your clothes, your books, your stuffed animals, paintings and posters work to create your comfort zone; your haven. It is through this familiar surrounding that we feel safe enough to go out into the ‘wild’. And there is nothing more important than that.
What will I take with me in my bag? A shirt with my boyfriend’s smell so I feel him with me even though he’s not. My best friend’s letter to me because I need those kind words when I’m alone. My mother’s letters because I need to remember what her handwriting looks like when she’s not there. My sewing kit in case I split my pants again. My sketch pad and my set of paints so I can capture the sunset my way. Clothes so I don’t have to run naked. My Loki body pillow case so I can feel sexy while I sleep. The cat poster my mom gave me with a Christian message so I know where to run to when in need. My Bible so I know what to read when I need guidance. My Don Quijote poster so I know that my dreams have their worth in my heart. My Boricua art panel so I know who I am and where I came from. And finally, pictures of all those smiles I was able to enjoy while I was home.