‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile,’ that’s what they say isn’t it? Or rather sang, those First World War soldiers off to the front. It’s what I’ve been doing all my life really. Of course I’m not likening my life to the horrors those men must have experienced, but into each of our lives a little rain must fall; sometimes bloody downpours.
My kit bag is crammed full of all the things that I don’t want to think about. The experiences and times of my life that I want to forget and don’t want to let worry me. After all, what’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile. So I don’t let all the hurts and slights get to me, the people who stamped me down, tried to stop me believing or doing, the relationships that vanished overnight, the cheating and lies, the slaps in the face, the deceits, the force and bullying, the theft, the ridicule, the shouting, the blows. All these are safely tucked away in my old kit bag, and (although I no longer smoke) whilst I’ve a Lucifer to light my fag that is where I want them to stay - and most of the time they do.
Most of the time… But as I said, into each of our lives a little rain must fall, and sometimes I get caught up in a storm.
When that happens it’s as if my kit bag never existed. All of the things and people I want to forget come tumbling out to surround and suffocate me. Sometimes I call it the black dog, other times a bit of a mood, when asked what is wrong I say ‘I’m tired’ or ‘My back aches’. I don’t really want to discuss the contents of my kit bag you see; the who, why, and what happened, the blame, shame, and embarrassment. Sometimes I just want to put a paper bag over my head and hide from everything. Perhaps that’s why I 'self-medicate' with what I delude myself are a few drinks.
It doesn’t keep ‘it’ and ‘them’ away at night when I sleep though. Despite how hard I drink and whistle or how many Lucifers I light I seem to tumble into this dark echoing place, and my whistling turns into screams, and then I run out of Lucifers. You see, walking away and cutting my losses is not as easy as I’d like to think. Keeping my kit bag firmly strapped shut has its own consequences, most of them bad.