• Joanna Pudil, LCSW-R

My Emotional Baggage Tote Bag

I was in London a few years back. You know, the good old days before the pandemic. Selfridges was the big show on PBS, so of course, my trip to London wouldn’t be complete without going there. As I strolled around the store I saw a bag that I had to own. It was like the bag spoke to me. I’m sure some of you have had these moments of connection with an object that spoke to you from across the store. I knew this bag would cause reactions when people back home would see it. You would think that it was the latest designer bag, but it was actually from an unknown brand. Well, a brand that I didn’t know anything about.


I know you are dying to know what is so special about this bag. How can one bag cause reactions in so many people? The bag was a simple navy blue tote bag. Now, I’m sure that you are confused now as to what makes this tote bag special. Well, the tote bag has written on it “Emotional Baggage.” I am literally walking around displaying my emotional baggage. We all have emotional baggage, just most people don’t walk around advertising it. I think it's particularly even funnier because I’m a social worker walking around with an “Emotional Baggage” tote bag. The company that makes this prolific tote bag is called The School of Life. I’m sure you can imagine the reactions I get when people see me walking around with it. Some people even try to hand me their emotional baggage.

This tote bag came with a small guide. The guide goes on to explain that “it is impossible to go through life without burdens." The guide further explains their premise behind making this bag is that “Everyone has it - the trick is to carry it elegantly.” The guide ends by noting that “this bag celebrates one of the most exciting projects any of us can undertake: learning how to carry our emotional baggage.” This is a school of life lesson.

However, I would like to go one step further by having this bag remind us that everyone has “emotional baggage”. As you go about your daily lives I want you to think about how everyone is carrying around their emotional baggage. Some people might be carrying the tote version, while others are pulling a large suitcase behind them. It doesn’t matter the size of their emotional baggage, the important thing is to remember that they have it with them at all times.


There is a poem I want to share with you, written by, Creig Crippen called Everyone You Meet:


Everyone you meet has faced challenges, lessons, storms, tough situations, and difficult experiences.


Everyone you meet has cried, has hurt, has felt, has grown, and has loved.


Everyone you meet is learning, fighting, battling, living their truth, and working with the tools they have at this stage in their evolution.


Everyone you meet is a piece of the whole, an expression of the universe, a part of your journey, and a reflection of you.


Everyone you meet has love in their heart.


Everyone you meet is your teacher.


Think about this poem when you encounter people. Everyone is carrying their “emotional baggage”, it’s just better hidden than mine. I’m always here for you if your baggage is getting too heavy to carry. I can help lighten the load.