I wrote this reflection my first semester in college in response to a story from ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien. The stories in this collection, blurring the lines between truth and fiction, revealed the weights that men carry, physically, emotionally, and mentally, during times of conflict and how those weights impact their actions. I wanted to explore the concept of this dichotomy in my own life and scribbled this down in an old journal.
I carry the ache of love that has been taken away with no apology. I carry the fear of others pushing me away, keeping me down and isolated. I carry a secret smile for when I am alone and sad, to cheer me up. I carry a scar to show that I am brave. I carry anger to keep me strong, but it also eats holes in my soul. I carry the memories of friends who have loved me with their whole being. I carry the weight of always needing to be right, to prove myself. I carry a rage toward those who take advantage of others. I carry the hurts of those around me, for they are heavy burdens to carry alone. I carry my books, Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, to school and home again; their weight validating my life, their words changing my views. I carry Chapstick so I feel moist and soft. I carry a cell phone, I don’t know why. I hate that everyone can get a hold of me whenever they want because I feel guilty when I press ignore. I carry jealousy towards those who “have” what I never got: beauty, popularity, wealth. I carry uncertainty about my body. I am smart, I am funny, I am fat. I carry heavy weights that I have chosen for myself, placed myself under. To take them off or let them go would mean that I am not strong enough to handle them. And this cannot be.
Copyright © 2015 Katharine Brown.