In high school, I was more or less obsessed with Bright Eyes. I absolutely adored Conor Oberst and all his whiney, scratchy-voiced angsty music, not to mention his sexy eyes & all-around hot emo boy demeanor.
I was also extremely depressed, dropped out of high school (only for a semester!) and spent three hours a week in intensive outpatient therapy.
However, times have changed and I traded in my razor blades for wine glasses and my sorry, pathetic teenage attitude for a much healthier, positive one. I became happy. Baggage-less, I thought. Completely devoid of any negativity from my past.
And then, as all love stories begin, I met someone who I had absolutely everything in common with and with whom I got along flawlessly for the first six months. I thought I was over my years of self-loathing and teenage drama, and if I could hold a healthy, (somewhat) adult relationship, then I was convinced.
Seriously, this relationship was awesome. We were like male and female versions of each other: We were in the same major (yes, boy magazine journalism major!), loved cheap beer and foosball and basically couldn’t keep our hands off of each other….any time, anywhere.
But, eventually my insecurities came to the surface and the relationship became a huge emotional mess, for both of us. I’m talking the whole screaming at each other in public and then pouring beer on each other to even the score kind of mess. There it was again; all that baggage I thought I tossed years ago, staring me right in the face, mocking what I thought was my new life and new super-happy relationship.
I might be an extreme case (in fact, I know I am), but after the failure of this relationship, that was all lovey-dovey, fairy-tale, red roses on the outside, I began to question, quite Carrie Bradshaw-esque-ly, if we can ever really escape our pasts.
Seriously, what the hell is baggage anyway? What does it include? It is just the bad stuff? The good and the bad? The good, the bad AND the ugly? And if it does include it all, then don’t we all have some baggage?
By the time we hit college, we all have some life behind us. We’ve all experienced some kind of hurt, heartbreak, betrayal, death – something that has contributed significantly to who we turned out to be. And as we get older and start to develop as adults, more and more stuff happens to us. It’s just inevitable. It’s just life. All that life creates feelings and I guess, those feelings are deemed emotional baggage – little trash bags of negativity that pile up in our once-pure hearts and threaten our future relationships – with both ourselves and others.
But if we all have it, then what can we use to judge what is normal or abnormal baggage? You hear stuff about it all the time. So-and-so had so much baggage. Another so-and-so can’t date right now because she has too much baggage. And even another so-and-so lied and said he had too much baggage because he didn’t really like the chick he was dating all that much.
Baggage = the death of relationships.
But, in defense of my once-crazy self, let me be the first to say that we ALL have baggage. The difference here is how you choose to deal with it. If the dude you are dating has a horrible emotional past – mother left when he was 4, dad was abusive, ex-girlfriend broke his heart & stole his money/apartment/car/dignity etc. – but he is able to hold his head high and still find joy in life, then by all means, let him have his baggage – and claim it, too
However, if said dude gets aggressive with you, makes you feel guilty that you’re gonna leave just like his Mother/ex-girlfriend/car did, THEN there is a huge problem – one you definitely need to get away from until the guy gets himself into some serious therapy.
Honestly though, there’s nothing wrong with a little baggage. Baggage makes us different, unique, interesting. Baggage is, in essence, what makes us – it’s what adds dimension to our life story. I’ll be the first to admit that I got some, in my proverbial trunk of life, that sometimes crawls it’s way out. I know you do, too. But it’s all about making a CONSCIOUS effort to be happy about TODAY, not dwell on the losses, ex’s and craziness of yesterday that separates awesome chicks like me and you from the rest of the crazies.
And if you do find yourself in a relationship with a dude with too much baggage, remember there’s not much you can do to help the situation (unless you are a professional therapist, of course)…besides locking your doors & putting in for a restraining order.
[photo from www.mikeblissett.com]