This week I have been thinking about "baggage.” We all carry some thing but I want to reflect on what I think of as mine. Three bags in total. I think this is the number of serious relationships I have had. I have had other relationships but these are the three serious ones. The others were very casual or just flings.
So, anyway, from time to time, I like to unpack them to see what I have. See what I want to improve or what I want to discard and even what went right. All baggage isn't bad. Some is good.
The first and biggest is my marriage, just shy of 13 yrs. There is a lot of hurt, confusion and growth in this one. Whys? Hows? What could of, should have been? This was someone that was suppose to love me more than any other person did, yet I was treated pretty badly (and frankly after a while I did a lot of mistreating in return or maybe I started it, it doesn't matter it is a chicken or the egg type of thing). Not abused, at least not physically but emotional scars are there for sure. "I will divorce you if you get fat." "You are so fat; I'm going to divorce you if you don't lose weight" "Great you lost weight now you still have 30 lbs to go." I was told I couldn't clean right, couldn't drive right, didn't discipline the kids right, couldn't add, subtract. I wasn't to pay the bills because I didn't do it right. I spent too much money. He must see the receipts; I must justify everything I buy. Must justify my every move. It wasn't always like this, just the last 8 yrs. It should have ended in 1998 but in Sept 2006, it finally did. I still have many issues to deal with, a lot of me to get back but it is coming, and slowly I'm getting rid of things in this bag. I hope that one day it will just be just a small handbag of things; mostly the good memories of the first 5 yrs and some of the good ones from the last 8 and then a list of lessons learned that maybe I can use in a future relationship(s).
Then I guess the next one would be my first really serious boyfriend. I don't know if he still reads my blog but if so, Hi babe, hope you are well. Please email as I haven't heard from you in a while and I'm worried about you. Anyway, we started dating in Dec 1990/Jan 1991. We dated solid for 10 mths, and then off and on for another year-ish. In Aug/Sept 92, he left for college and I left for the Navy. That was pretty much the end of things. Oh, we talked a bit but slowly moved on. In my mind, there were many things left unsaid, things that I carried for years and years. It took a while (even into my marriage) to get over him completely. A few years ago, he emailed me through Classmates.com. We "got real" and now my bag is smaller and free of all those things I never got to say. It felt so good to get it out and reunite with him. He has always been a great guy, a sounding board and someone I trust completely. Now where there was pain and hurt, there are only good memories and healing.
The last bag I carry is for someone who in many ways felt like a soul mate. He had this power over me. Not power exactly but I just loved him so much. He just had to look at me and I just knew life would be okay. It was during a time when my now ex and I were separated. Was it an affair or not? I don't know. But, I knew the first time I saw him that if given half a second of his time, we would be a couple. I wasn't sleeping with my husband and at least in my mind I had every intention of getting a divorce. However, in VA, you must be separated for 1 yr before you can file. Well the year came and went, and some how we decided to stay together. For me I was too scared to be a single mom and I only had two kids back then. And, anyway, that was the end of the relationship; actually, I guess it ended just before that. At any rate, I carry hurt and pain over the things left unsaid. (See a pattern?)
Back to my marriage, I don't feel like I left anything unsaid. This is the one that I can honestly say that I am over and moved on from very quickly. With the first, I would say it took a good 5 yrs to get completely over him. And, with the other guy, it took at least 3 - 4 years to get to a point where I could think of him and breathe normally and not have a deep aching feeling.
But, ya know, all this baggage has made me stronger. Now after my marriage has ended and I reflect on my two other serious relationships, I think, I don't want to have things left unsaid. I want to also take risks and not look back at what should have, could have been. I want to have someone love me completely, someone treat me well and someone who I can treat and love the same. But, to get there, you must take risks, put yourself out there and sometimes say how you feel and not hold back. It is a gamble, a leap of faith in the other person…. Am I ready for that? I don’t know yet.
But at any rate, my “battle cry” No holding back. No words left unsaid. Take risks. Get real. No regrets, baby!! It’s the only way to live.