Pack Light: On Self Love and Healing


Song: Bag Lady
Artist: Erykah Badu
Album: Mama’s Gun
Writer(s): Erykah Wright; pka Erykah Badu and Andre Young; pka Dr. Dre
Released: September 12, 2000

bag lady. let it go. let it go. let it go. let it go. i bet you love can make it better. 

As one goal of Black Love Project is to explore love, I think it important to question myself in terms of what I know love to be. It is a question I ask those I encounter and it is a question I am currently facing.  Every day I am given the opportunity to learn and fall in love with myself, including the lesser parts of me that need healing. This learning and healing process has forced me to turn inward, conducting a self-evaluation. Life and love leave their imprints on all of us, but it is our responsibility to never become victims of our past. Both life and love are best enjoyed when you have no burdens of your past blocking what could be a beautiful present and future. Bag Lady, from Badu’s 2000 album Mama’s Gun is a perfect guide for understanding how beneficial letting go is. So pack light.

i guess nobody ever told you all you must hold on to is you. one day all them bags gone get in your way. so pack light. 

I never realized how romanticized love was until I found myself in love again. Love is not solely about romance. It comes down to the bare soul and willingness of the people involved. We are taught that love means to give yourself heart, mind and soul. This is but a mere fraction of love. It is important that we first give ourselves the things we wish to offer another. Self love is the foundation of any successful relationship. No other love will be successful if you do not first love yourself. We must first belong to ourselves holistically.  When a lover enters our lives, be they seasonal or permanent, it is important to understand that they are nothing more than blessings. We do not need them, but have been given the opportunity to love them. As both blessings and people can be transient, we must know that we are the only constants in our lives. We must be so in love with ourselves that the presence and affection of another does not sway the way we view ourselves if and when they leave.

sometimes it’s hard and we can’t let go. when someone hurts you oh so bad inside, you can’t deny it, you can’t stop crying. 

Erykah Badu has mastered the ability to convey the functional and dysfunctional aspects of love and emotions. She has never been afraid to openly pen her experiences with insecurity, sensuality, bliss and sadness; the yins and yangs of love.  In some shape or form we have all witnessed examples of dysfunctional relationships. Be it from those who raised us to the first lover who did not know how to love us. These instances of tainted love accumulate becoming the baggage Badu sings of.  Often, we do not realize the weight of our wounds, the baggage we’ve been carrying,  until we try to love again. It is not until someone offers to hold your hand while exploring new love that you see that your hands have been full. Matters of the heart can leave one heavy and jaded. It is a part of life. But this heaviness, if not released, will hold you back from the beauty of allowing someone to love you. Allowing old lovers to continuously haunt you creates a blockade to the blessing of new love.  Letting go of the things that hold us back from experiencing love is essential in being able to love again, to not be a prisoner of the past and to not be afraid to love fearlessly and vulnerably. Bag Lady urges us to recognize this. So let the hurt go. Pack light. And let love make it better.



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