I recently flew with my 4-year-old by myself without the assistance of my husband. For those of you with young ones, you know that this is no small feat. I was packed to the guild with toys, crayons, and books to serve as distraction. My sweet ball of blonde sass had everything she could possibly need. She had her own suitcase filled with clothes, blankets, the invaluable and irreplaceable, Lovie, an inexplicably strange looking small blanket with a butterfly head that she can’t sleep without, a sound machine, and so much more. Also, half of my suitcase was filled with things for her…overflow supplies. It was fine. I can wear the same shirt for 4 days in a row and hope that a hat is suitable for the places I need to go. Who needs a curling iron? After all, according to my tiny princess, it was far more important that the Pete the Cat book and her Disney Princess card game had occupancy.
As a proud mommy, I am thrilled to tell you that my kid was not THAT kid on the flight. She was sweet, ate her complimentary pretzels, looked out the window, and colored. God bless her. *For the record, there are many stories that could be told when my little Emme waved her dramatic, take no prisoners flag, so moms take heart. But, this day, luckily, was not that type of day. Once we arrived back in TN from our trip, a potty break was of the utmost necessity for both Boone girls. After that pit stop, we stopped for a mini Cinnabon. Why wouldn’t we? The smell…we had to stop. I figured that eating a cinnamon roll sounded a lot better than waiting awkwardly at the baggage carousel. It never fails that when I travel, the flight I am on takes forever to get the bags at the baggage claim. So, I figured I had time. Once we ate the last of the icing, we found the designated carousel and to my surprise, our bags were the only bags going round and round. They were screaming “Look at Me.” In my storytelling mind, I just knew that people were emphatically waiting with baited breath to find out who the owners of these misfit bags were. And so, my daughter, in all of her 4-year-old wisdom said, “Our bags are all alone mommy.” Yep. Thanks for making that clear honey. I did the walk of shame, grabbed the bags and scurried outside to wait for our ride.
As with many things…many moments, I see value in a story, in a situation. Now not everything inspires. I don’t look at a tomato at the grocery store and suddenly feel God’s guiding hand to write. But, on this day at the airport, there were things that I marked in my mind to dive into. That luggage carousel…it was a visual that stuck with me. It was representative of baggage that I did not want to identify with, that I did not want to admit was mine, and that was difficult for me to handle on my own.
The truth is that we all have baggage. Some have bags heavier, dirtier, or more random than others, but in the end, we all have to put our “stuff” somewhere to store it. I could write for days and days about personal tragedy that I have endured in my life. And, over the course of time, as a writer, I am sure bits and pieces of that will be shared. Those words come when the Lord gives me the strength to write about it and I don’t dare venture into those deep waters without His consent and guidance. People often dismiss (lovingly so) the idea that I could deal with deep anxiety or that depression has been part of my story in the past. I am grateful that friends, family, new acquaintances, and even strangers who happen upon me would most likely describe me as joyful, loving, full of sunshine, and kind. I will say that I strive to be all those things. I am an overcomer from much of the baggage that has attached itself to my life due to circumstances over the years. I came to a crossroads in my life when I was in my mid 20s and decided that I had to choose God. Even if I could not hear Him, see Him, or feel Him, I had to choose Him. I had to choose life. I had to choose freedom from oppression. I had to make the daunting decision to choose to not accept a victim mentality. I had suffered great loss losing my mom from cancer and had an avalanche of overwhelming life events that followed. It was one blow after another for quite some time. I would cry, be angry, whine, whimper, sulk, and crawl up into a ball feeling sorry for myself. I absolutely do not undermine the grieving process or the fact that people have every right to own their emotions, to feel how they feel. But, in my situation, my emotions became my crutch. They dictated everything. They led me to make poor decisions, to lose myself.
The timeline of my life has such wonderful, amazing events. There is, unfortunately, many dots that are sad, tragic, and just plain exasperating. Though, in my 20s, I made a life-changing breakthrough, I still find myself often wondering why my big, loving heart has had to endure some of the things that have been thrown my way. I am careful to engage in that thought process in a capacity of depth. It often leads to me wanting to wave the Why Me flag.
Recently, I was reading an article about women in business. It caught my attention because one of the women interviewed was Nora Ephron. She happens to be a favorite director of mine. I mean, how can you not love someone who brought us You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie & Julia. My favorite movie quote of all time came from a Nora Ephron film. In You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s character is finding herself on the losing end of a battle to save her business. She is struggling to face what is happening. And so, she profoundly states, “It will all shake out; meanwhile, I’m putting on more twinkle lights.” Yes, Meg. More Twinkle Lights. Nora Ephron was talking about her inspiration behind how she directs women in her films. The female characters are often empowered with a go-getter attitude, with a hyper focus on what needs to get done. They are women on a mission despite their circumstance. Nora said that it was important to her that actresses in her films were capable and driven.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
― Nora Ephron
So, yea. I have baggage. Tattered, dusty, heavy baggage. I try to keep it packed way in the back of the closet. Sometimes it surfaces and is circulating for all to see, undeniably identifying itself as mine. I am coming to terms with the fact that my life has seen and dealt with a lot. I don’t have to be the hurt. I don’t have to be the loss. I don’t have to be the sadness. I don’t have to be the frustration or fear. I’m an imperfect heroine. I am equipped with the reassurance of knowing God is with me. I don’t understand why I have the baggage I have. The good news is that I am learning to travel my life with less to carry around. I am allowing myself the grace to be overwhelmed and anxious, but not be consumed by all the facets that attach themselves to those feelings. I wake up every morning determined to keep moving forward with the Lord and to continue to put up more twinkle lights
I am a native Texan who has been living the Nashville, TN life with my wonderful husband, Rob, for the past 9 years. We recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I am mommy to the outspoken, beautiful, sassy, and hilarious 4-year-old known as Emme. I have been an educator for the past 15 years. I am also a writer, less than stellar house cleaner, football watcher (Go Cowboys!), sweet tea drinker, and an overall sensitive soul. It is my desire to write with complete transparency in an effort to show the balance and often imbalance of being what I have deemed as an anxious optimist. I identify as being a God-loving, people-pleasing, joy-filled, worry-consumed woman that strives every day to prove that being perfectly imperfect can often open the doors to unique and meaningful moments in life. You can connect with Farrell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook:Farrell Boone or read more of her writing on her blog.