Accepting My Baggage

Sometimes, I won­der what my life would be like if I did­n’t have so much bag­gage. How my rela­tion­ships would be dif­fer­ent. Which ones would have worked, and which ones would­n’t have changed at all.

Love, in all it’s mul­ti-faceted won­der, lev­els, and types, is nev­er a sure thing for me. I may feel it, but feel that it’s fleet­ing and con­di­tion­al at the same time. Other peo­ple have the lux­u­ry of tak­ing love for grant­ed. They assume they’re loved. How com­fort­ing it must be. For me, it’s always been a strug­gle for sta­bil­i­ty. “We won’t love you if you don’t do well on this test. We won’t love you if you don’t prac­tice piano. We won’t love you if you don’t fin­ish your din­ner. No one’s going to love you if you always stay this skin­ny.”

It feels like I haven’t sur­vived my child­hood yet. And I arrive at this fact so many times when try­ing to fig­ure out the source of my issues that it’s start­ing to sound like an excuse. Therapy has helped iden­ti­fy my issues, but it’s still tak­ing work on my part to resolve them, along with patience on the parts of oth­ers. I’m begin­ning to ques­tion why peo­ple would accept and love me. I guess it’s worth it to some, but things would be so much eas­i­er if they did­n’t have to deal with my inse­cu­ri­ties.


  1. Perhaps it’s just my own par­al­lels, but I val­ue your scars as a route to your wis­dom, and par­tic­u­lar­ly your lack of hid­ing from the real­i­ty of you.

    So many peo­ple I know nev­er evolve to a point where they even see much of that prob­lem­at­ic stuff that forms them. You’re already using it like clay. Go! Build!

    • I guess in the same way, it makes me won­der how peo­ple deal with those who aren’t even aware of their issues. At least I know that I’ve been able to improve. Maybe it’s hope that things will be bet­ter that makes things eas­i­er.

  2. How odd that I still do strug­gle with that same con­cept even now. It’s become the very basis of who I am and what I do. While I nev­er won­dered whether my life would be any dif­fer­ent giv­en the bag­gage I car­ry, I know it will be, but I won­der if I would be a bet­ter per­son from it. I don’t know.

    What I do know is that I would­n’t trade the per­son I am today for any oth­er char­ac­ter, regard­less of the bag­gage I car­ry or the events that made me who I am. They are in the past now and while it’s eas­i­er to fight with­out hav­ing deal with inse­cu­ri­ties, I would­n’t be the me that I know.

    Sometimes instead of try­ing to fig­ure out what made you who you are, the sim­plest way to move on would be to for­give your­self for what you had to do, and the past that made you who you are. Because that can nev­er change what it has cre­at­ed. The best we all can do is to do what it takes to make use of what we have become and feel bet­ter about it.

    • This is where you and I dif­fer. One of my close friends grew up with a very sim­i­lar child­hood as mine, and yet he was able to come out of it with­out any issues. I’ve always looked up to him for this, and won­der if I’ll ever be able to achieve the same seren­i­ty as him. I know I should­n’t com­pare myself to him, but I dream of how much eas­i­er life would be to have his strength and sta­bil­i­ty.

      Forgiveness, in my opin­ion, can only come from res­o­lu­tion, and I don’t have enough of that yet to rise above my past.

      It can nev­er be said that I take love and rela­tion­ships for grant­ed though. I hope one day some­one will appre­ci­ate that. Maybe that’ll be enough to help me get out of this cycle of pain and defence mech­a­nisms.

      • I guess, being raised the way we are is the epit­o­me of tra­di­tion­al Asian fam­i­lies. We were often dri­ven and beat­en if we fail to meet the expec­ta­tions of our par­ents. A lot of my peers, espe­cial­ly sin­gle chil­dren like myself, endured those times. I’m not sure if they resem­ble any hint of being nor­mal, but I know they are more inte­grat­ed into soci­ety than I can ever be. In fact, I still have to put up with those crit­i­cisms today from my fam­i­ly, a small mir­a­cle to know that I’m not in the same con­ti­nent as them for the past few years.

        I guess what I’m try­ing to say it, the part which I for­give myself is the fact I tried to inte­grate myself into soci­ety at all costs and failed. The things I had to do and had to put up with to live a lie which is not mine, but my par­ents. I’ve giv­en up on that and accept­ed the fact that I am and will always be dam­aged goods in the eyes of soci­ety, nev­er being able to live a “nor­mal” life as defined by every­one’s stan­dards.

        And you’re right, the path to our own redemp­tion begins when we opt for res­o­lu­tion for our “sins”. In my case though, I for­gave myself while opt­ing to do some­thing about my life, or realised I had to for­give myself and the past because I have always been work­ing hard to do some­thing about my past. Some part of me realis­es I will nev­er ever be acknowl­edged in the eyes of my par­ents or peers. I’ll always be thought of as a fail­ure and a los­er no mat­ter what my suc­cess­es are. But it took me a long while to realise that after all this time, after all my past has dri­ven me to do, to prove, I have become more suc­cess­ful than they can ever imag­ine, but they will nev­er acknowl­edge it out of sin­cer­i­ty, only crit­i­cise all the faults that they can see or remain silent when there is noth­ing bad to talk about.

        I’m tired of being remind­ed that my faults make me a fail­ure and maybe it’s luck that I nev­er had a friend or some­one to talk to in life that I realised if the only per­son worth lis­ten­ing to is often my own opin­ions. As long as I suc­ceed in my goals, I’m will­ing to ride the roller coast­er of my inse­cu­ri­ties. And that did pay off, as I wrote in my post about the friends I have now. While even my girl­friend can­not under­stand my mood swings some­times, she does put up with it because she knows I have the full capa­bil­i­ty to ride it out and still get work done. (She too was brought up in the same kind of envi­ron­ment with the added hurt of hav­ing an extend­ed fam­i­ly who out­casts her own fam­i­ly, but amaz­ing­ly she’s in a much bet­ter con­di­tion than me) Despite being dam­aged goods, I’ve com­pen­sat­ed for all that I lack with sheer work and that makes the com­plete pack­age that peo­ple that peo­ple accept.

        But it is hard to find peo­ple who are will­ing to accept us for who we are. Mine are far and few in num­ber and most of my peers are peo­ple whom I have to wear a mask to get along for the sake of inte­gra­tion, a mask I hate to wear. But it does­n’t stop me either and I will keep try­ing to rede­fine “nor­mal” to suit the world I live in, even if I have to take years to find all the friends I need to make that world. All I have to do is to keep reach­ing out, keep tak­ing the risk know­ing that if it fails, I’ll be hurt. Since I’m no stranger to that hurt, I will keep tak­ing it, keep mov­ing for­ward, to prove my par­ents wrong, to prove my peers wrong, that my road is not just “as bad as they think”, but the bet­ter road as well.

        In the same light, I guess, I’m try­ing to reach out to you as well, even if we’ve known each oth­er through our blogs and until now, con­versed in just com­ments. That part of my past acknowl­edges your life. In some ways, I’m drawn to you as a mat­ter of con­nect­ing with peo­ple that I hope can under­stand and accept me for who I am, so I will nev­er be alone. Just as you nev­er will be alone for as long as you realise there are peo­ple out there will­ing to accept you and all your bagages for who you are. We just have to find them.

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