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© WHERE BIRDS GO (part 3) by DELAFOI

ALL THE THINGS I’VE KEPT

I’ve carried a lot of bagage. Things I thought I needed, things people gave to me, things I couldn’t resist. Trunks of fears, plastic bags of self consciousness and doubts, my precious suitcase of cowardice, pockets of anger, small bags of lack of faith and boxes of guilt. Some of them light, some of them heavy, didn’t matter, I learned to gather all that came in my path.

It grew to be a heavy load.

Like a hoarder I had hidden stuff in all my tiny places. Re-filled bags if they got too light. Re-packed, re-organised, stored and thrown all things imaginable. Maybe for love? Maybe for safety? Maybe for comfort?

Certainly for a long time.

Feeling alive is my highest emotion. If holding on meant going down with a sinking ship, I started running for the life boats. I learned how to unpack, kept myself busy. All things redundant had to be thrown overboard. No looking back. Keep only the essentials.

I peeled myself naked only to find more bags. I gave things back and threw things away. I burned boxes just to see the whole storage go up in flames. Another change. Another fire.

I learned to deal with endlessness and that even the tiniest grain could sometimes be your heaviest load. I learned that change is a path, not a destination. And I learned that some friends hate to see you leave.

I learned that beneath all the things I’ve kept, way down, carefully hidden was one thing worthy of keeping,

Me.

To put things down is easy. The hard part is to learn not to miss it. I didn’t like my load, but it was mine. Maybe those bags wasn’t mine to carry, but they still left empty shelfs in the storage. They were the bricks in my wall. My bouncing castle.

With no load to carry I’m naked and more fragile. It’s a freedom that comes with a cost as well as a reward. With no flicker I feel less but I feel it fully. With no filter I might get blinded, but I see clearly. Without armour there’s nothing stopping the unstoppable and if I stay on my track, I can’t avoid the unenviable.

The hoarder’s exit strategy slowly transformed me into an emotional minimalist. An emotional minimalist searching for something else to leave behind.