Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Patria-Kaye Aarons | A woman's best friend

Published:Tuesday | December 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Why is my car so dramatic? Yes, I know my handbag is a little heavy, but that car good and well knows it's not a person. Nevertheless, every time I rest it on the passenger seat, the car won't stop the bloody beeping. I refuse to put the seat belt of shame across my handbag just to make my car shut up.

I feel this need to carry my life in that handbag. With it, I'm prepared for whatever eventuality comes my way. It's a generational thing. It's the way Grandma taught Mummy to do it, and the way Mummy taught me.

I have needle and multiple colours of thread in my bag, just in case something pops. I have lip gloss. I must have a comb, brush and hair clip. I have a little bottle of body splash and a tube of hand cream. The bag also has in a purse with every kind of card I've ever got in life: debit, credit, Chicago bus pass, supermarket club cards, frequent moviegoers' card. You name it, I have it in there.

I have ladies' unmentionables in my handbag, and about 17 pens. Business cards and my passport (just in case my boyfriend wants to whisk me away on a surprise trip somewhere). And Sweetie mints, 'cause breath mus' fresh.

The point is, I carry a lot around in my bag. And the weight is often burdensome. Many of the items in my bag never get used. I just feel the need to lug them around with me - just in case.

I convince myself that I'm being prepared. In all honesty, most of the things would be just as useful had I kept them in a little pouch permanently stored in the glove compartment of my car. It would save my shoulder and bag straps a lot of strain.

But even with that knowledge, it's hard to let it all go.

I find my unhealthy relationship with the contents of my bag a parable for life. We all, men and women, walk around with so much emotional baggage. We 'carry feelings'. We pack up ourselves with so many burdens and silently struggle with our load. And we justify holding on to them.

Many times, the world outside doesn't see the internal fight. Sometimes, even the person carrying the baggage forgets, and it silently erodes their mental health and their happiness. We carry our troubles with a brave face.

You'll never see me grimace under the weight of my bag. In fact, sometimes I don't even remember how heavy it is. It's only when the car seat starts beeping, or I take it off and see the indentation in my flesh that I'm reminded of the weight I carry. So it is also with people's personal struggles. And unless we intentionally make an effort to put it down, we carry both the weight and the scars.

Carrying your life in your bag is nothing compared to carrying the world on your shoulders; but both are unhealthy. I've found it cathartic to share my load. Even though my natural tendency at one time was to struggle in silence, nowadays I turn to my partner, my cousins, my best girlfriends, and it helps. They help. They give me clarity and always remind me that I am loved and that "this too will pass".

Don't struggle in silence. I say to you, my readers, even as I remind myself, lighten up!

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.