The Things I Carry

April 13, 2010
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Every day sees me humping my backpack to school. And through the hallways. And down that insufferably steep hill at the end of my driveway. And up it. I carry that lead-filled Penn State bag not out of necessity, but something far more juvenile. For six years now I’ve had the option of enforcing certain ‘special privileges’ in my classes. An extra set of textbooks for the home; it would be nice, but it just doesn’t sit well with my arthritic hips. Why? Well, I love that constant, agonizing burning sensation in my neck. And I adore those black ropes of death that continuously dig into my shoulders like some satanic shovel. The pain’s there, but I deal with it. I’ve carried that pain for six years now, and I’ll keep carrying it until my brittle bones break into a thousand little pieces.

But some things I do carry out of necessity. See, I know what it’s like to be a real carrier, to have things so miniscule but so imperative to my wellbeing. Like the “cute” (as deemed by my mother) orange pill bottle attached to my keychain that never has and never will leave my sight. Who knows when the ‘evil migraine monster’ will hit next. And don’t get me wrong. There’s some grand enjoyment in whipping out that canister symbolic of my humanity and popping pills like I’m Robert Downey Jr.’s protégé in College Pre-Calc. No, that bottle’s never getting away from me.

Just like I’ll keep carrying those inhalers, the new ones in that thrilling shade of hospital periwinkle. I enjoy those intermittent puffs between periods, laughing both at myself and the stereotypical overweight nerd with glasses and asthma that I’ve become. And when I’m in class five minutes later trying to quell the nagging desire to shake uncontrollably, it’s okay. It’ll always be okay, because I’ve been carrying those things since before I even knew what it meant to really carry anything. These things I carry have sculpted my being, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Or maybe I would).

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