I feel like I’ve gotten to a point now where no one can take it away.
For years I lived with this bag in the closet. Nice golden-leather bag with smooth handles and a big bronze-toned zipper to secure everything inside. It had been back in there since I was a child but every now and then I’d see a glimpse of it. Sometimes I would wonder what was inside. Other times it frightened me.
Sometimes I would wake from a nightmare that it was sitting out in the middle of my bedroom, exposed, unavoidable. I would be terrified, terrified anyone had been privy to my dream, and I would hurry to get up and check and make sure it was still back in the shadows, well-hidden.
Then I started seeing other people carrying similar bags. Fascinating, that they went out with that satchel over their shoulder and lived happy lives. What was in those bags? Someone gave a glimpse, opened that zipper and grinned a knowing grin. Could all THAT be inside?
I thought about that bag more and more.
And one night, I dragged it out into the darkness and let my hands drift over the leather, scraped my fingertips along the zipper. I maybe peaked inside. The next night, maybe I opened it entirely.
Then I knew. Then I knew everything I had had with me all along.
I could keep it secret, though. I could keep my bag well-hidden in the closet and only take it out when I wanted to indulge in all that it held within. I couldn’t help but tell some people about it – those people who I’d seen with their own bags, I had to tell them! But word leaked out and others found out I had that bag. They said I shouldn’t have it. They said it was wrong to look inside. They even told me it wasn’t mine.
I almost believed them, they scared me so much. After all, you know, people get killed for carrying this bag around. People lose friends, lose family, lose homes and everything. Maybe I should get a new bag. A different one. One that would be more acceptable. I tried. It wasn’t the same. Awkward. Heavy. Oh, so heavy. And I couldn’t relate to those with bags like mine anymore.
So I went back to them. And I asked them, for the first time, what do I do with this bag in my closet? What do I do with it when it holds all the most wonderful things but it’s so frightening to bring it out into the light?
And they told me: Be brave.
And they told me: We all feel this pain.
And they told me: We all help each other as much as we can.
No one else had ever understood. No one else had ever offered those things, a hand reaching out to mine as my other held that golden leather bag and carried it with me out of the closet. To carry with me. To open as I pleased. To share. To share. To share. In the light of day, because it was mine to share.
After all that, how could I ever put it down again?