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What Do You Carry?

Woman With Luggage At The Airport

“What do you carry?”

I carry pens and pens and pens because if I want to write and I don’t have a pen, I will feel like I have no voice.

I carry a Moleskin notebook with pages unlined. Because I must have a safety net to catch any idea, thought, or memory. If I can’t write it down, it might float away like a balloon or burst like a soap bubble.

I carry my phone — everywhere. Because I know implicitly how quickly things can fall apart, and I must be findable. I carry it everywhere, but I never make a call. Everything can be texted. Everything is.

I carry lip gloss. It is the icing on my cake, and what is cake without icing?Woman With Luggage At The Airport

I carry hope and guilt.

I carry my headphones. An introvert’s secret weapon.

I carry kindness.

I carry a cup from McDonald’s.

I carry a plan for escape. I must know how and when I can leave.

I carry Xanax because having one with me is uaually all I need to keep from needing it.


or maybe and,

I don’t carry pencils.

I don’t carry water, though I know I should. (Stop it. I know.)

I don’t carry other people’s emotions, though this is an intentional decision and one I must choose and re-choose often.

I don’t carry any guarantees.


What do you carry? What don’t you carry?

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I feel like I have spent my entire life carrying other people’s emotions…if you have a strategy or insight into overcoming the weight of that, I would so appreciate hearing it!

  2. One of my favorite assignments when I do writing workshops is to assign an essay based on the book, The Things That We Carry, Tim O’Brien’s Viet Nam war novel. I ask my students to go through the backpack or briefcase or purse that is with them everywhere, take out everything and look to see what story the different contents tell them about themselves. The connections people make are always fascinating.

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