The suitcase is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen in State College, unpacked, contents spewing about. I haven’t bothered to put things way because of a lingering feeling I have that I am supposed to be somewhere else.

Which isn’t surprising, really. In the last two months I have been shuttling back and forth between Erie and Penn State, with visits to Ireland, New York, Minnesota, Chicago, Washington DC, and North Carolina in between.

Conferences, obligations and any opportunity I have to see Sailor have turned my life into a revolving door of airports, shuttles, hotel rooms and this crappy little suitcase that is falling apart at the seams. I haven’t the time to find a proper new bag to carry my stuff so I have proudly resorted to duct tape.

I think there’s an honor in duct tape as a means of repair, something akin to scars. Scars that show you’ve experienced something and have lived to tell a tale. When I arrived in Erie four years ago, I was peaking on a wave of self-destruction. I’ve spent that time piecing back together pieces of myself I forgot existed.

So now I’m in State College working on a PhD. I have this crappy little suitcase securely bound, full of my daily essentials, staring me down every time I walk in the door. What does this say? That I haven’t yet settled in? That I don’t see myself here? That the Little Hater in my head doesn’t think I can do this? Or does it remind me to pack light and stop trying to take this all so seriously?

I’m proud of this crappy suitcase. I’ve had it forever and it has become dear to me. However, each application of duct tape becomes a hindrance to the bag’s functionality. As much as I love it, I am thinking it is time to unpack and let this one go.

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