I couldn’t believe I was finally here. After a whirlwind six weeks of pre-cooking meals, re-organising of karate/dancing/footy schedules and some serious yanking up of my big girl knickers, I was finally standing at the Qantas check-in counter at the airport. Brand-new red conference handbag slung (so fashionably, people were fainting left and right) over my shoulder and my I’m-still-young-and-hip-dude pink camo backpack at my feet, I lugged my Daddy Bear sized suitcase on to the scale.
“Is this luggage yours?”
I looked up and beamed. “All mine.” I declared. The Qantas lady raised an eyebrow quizzically, “Did you pack it all yourself?” The beam grew, “Yep, every square inch of it!” She looked at me funny (What? Never seen a Mum experiencing the unparalleled joy of a whole suitcase all to herself before?) “Ohhh-kay…”
She handed me my passport and boarding pass and I gleefully skipped off, arm in arm with my lovely friend who stayed up late and braved the cold to take me to the airport. This was as close to a girl’s night out as I’d come in the past year. Woot! We sat down for a quick coffee and revelled in uninterrupted conversation (okay, we interrupted each other, but that doesn’t count) and suddenly it was time to say goodbye and board that long-awaited plane.
As I clipped my seatbelt clasp closed, a thought struck me. I flashed back to the check-in lady’s question, “Is this baggage yours?” This question is of paramount importance at a check-in counter – physics and all that jazz – but we really shouldn’t stop there.
We should be asking ourselves this question every time we interact with anyone.
I often find myself weighed down by something that someone has said to me. The angst! The endless conversations with Darren about why/how/who/what – the self-doubt, the frustration and the heartache steal too much time.
Ineed to teach my kids, by example, that when someone hands them an ugly, heavy, smelly piece of luggage, they don’t have to – unquestioningly, pick it up and carry it. Like Mum always has. Like Mum does.
Like a donkey.
I’ve always been that girl – the one who accepts, wholesale, the words and actions of others. The problem is that the next day, I routinely wake up, see all that extra luggage (ugly luggage that makes everything around it look sad) and guess what I’ve always done.
I need to stop doing this. All it takes is a closer look at the baggage people hand over to me and decide who it belongs to. Mine? Sure – own it, pick it up, carry it, unpack it. Get rid of the stinky stuff and repack. Not mine? Hand it back!
Are you a donkey?
C’mon, look closely and be honest with yourself.
If you find yourself carting around other people’s crap, repeat after me:
I am not a donkey.
I do not have to carry anyone’s luggage but my own.
I do not have to unpack anybody’s luggage but my own.
Other people’s luggage is none of my business.
I can choose what luggage I pack and carry.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to be more discriminating about what I’m carrying. Not easy for a serial yes-girl, but who said it was going to be easy?
This weekend, at the BlogHer 2013 Conference (which you’ll hear all about in a couple of days because – wow – did Mama grow!) I had the chance to meet a lot of the faces I’ve only ever seen on this screen. I’d like to say I wasn’t starstruck, but some of these bloggers have been my unknowing heroines for a long time.
What blew me away was the way in which these accomplished, talented women (approximately 6000 of them) embraced me into the fold. There was one exception. A blogger, who has consistently given me the proverbial cold shoulder online continued to do so at the BlogHer Conference. I’d love to say it didn’t upset me but that would be a lie. It hurt! I started with the internal “what did I do? Why is she like this?” dialogue but was interrupted by a hand grabbing my arm and spinning me around. It was one of my new friends, who had given me nothing but love and acceptance from the word “go”. She grinned and said to another blogger, “You HAVE to meet Michelle Lewsen! She is goofy and funny and we LOVE her!”
I looked around me at this sea of new friends and colleagues who had welcomed me and showed me more love than I ever could have imagined and it struck me: focusing on one bad apple and wasting a minute anguishing over why/how she was behaving that way is utterly stupid.
I looked inwardly at the ugly bag of snot she’d handed me, laughed at myself for picking it up in the first place and threw it away. It’s not my baggage.
I have my own baggage. It’s colourful, messy and filled with my favourite things. My hands are full.
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