It’s been an interesting few days to say the least. However, this post is (for once) not centred around me. The guy Miss Sunshine has been dating (we’ll call him Mr Mac) for three months has been exhibiting some strange behaviour. Maybe him and Mr Grey are in sync in the same way girls sync their periods, but it’s provided for a lot of female dissection.
Now, I should say that Miss Sunshine is, well, ever the optimist. So for her to be worried means something must have been wrong. The crime? That age old thing of a guy going all weird. Being non-committal about when they’d meet again, no phone calls etc. And, he’d taken his stuff from her house in the form of DVD’s and the like. Weird, right? I told her there would likely be a good explanation – he’s busy with work or is unsure about the next step in their relationship (according to Mr Grey, Mr Mac was imminently going to raise ‘exclusivity’) and as for the DVD’s, maybe he just wanted to watch them himself. The overwhelming message behind my advice was ‘don’t worry’. Yes. I know. Hilarious that I can give this advice and yet I cannot take it myself. But my point was, this is a guy who has introduced you to his mother and best friend. Who wanted you to skype him while we were on holiday. No way has he had a drastic change of heart in the space of a week. Eventually, it turned out that he hadn’t been around because of work and family visiting, and he’d taken the DVD’s because he thought she wasn’t watching them. Simple enough, I hear you say. Things would’ve gone back to normal? Not quite.
It wasn’t until we were on holiday that I realised she’s not as carefree as she comes across (next to my control freakiness anyway). When she’d relay conversations she’d had with Mr Mac I’d wonder why she’d react the way she did. It became clear when she told Miss Yoyo and I about an ex, and how he’d hurt her. That’s when the penny dropped.
Baggage is unavoidable. We all have it to some degree, whether it’s from past relationships or our childhood, and none of us want it. It weighs us down and brings up old feelings of hurt, betrayal, rejection and so on. To me, this is what it means to be human. Baggage is simply scars of what’s happened in your past. It’s how you package it and carry it that counts. Miss Sunshine seemed hurt that Mr Mac had retreated with no word. It came off as rude and disinterested – in short, it hurt her. And she doesn’t want to get hurt – that’s normal – so her reaction was to put her barriers up. Reduce communications, put it to the back of her mind because being hurt means she’s vulnerable when it comes to him. And that’s not good. My advice was it was pointless to punish him for something he knew nothing about. I’m not talking about her being pissed at him forgetting simple manners like saying hello once in a while, but for her feeling vulnerable. She comes off as being very independent – the type of girl who wouldn’t be bothered if the guy she’s dating dropped away for a while as she is prone to do the same. But because she’d been vulnerable and hurt in the past, she didn’t want to go there again and Mr Mac’s lack of communication had confused and upset her. Mr Mac doesn’t know about this ex who hurt her, or (I think) just how much Miss Sunshine has grown to like him over the past three months. In my eyes, it wasn’t fair on either of them for baggage to get in the way of them getting over this hiccup and back on track.
I don’t think emotional baggage is something anyone can truly ever get rid of. Why would you want to? Some people (including myself) believe in the motto that everything happens for a reason. Even bad things – they mould and shape us, and we learn from our mistakes. Some people take it to extremes and become bitter. We’ve all heard of men who find it extremely difficult to settle down after being burnt in a relationship and flit from woman to woman, or women who categorise all men as bastards because of one, toxic guy. When you carry it around and mope in it, it doesn’t do you any favours because your hands are too full for anything else. Nor can you pretend it isn’t there because it will eventually make a nasty, unscheduled appearance. Now, if you’re like Miss Sunshine, who was genuinely surprised to learn she had baggage until recently, at least you can do something about it. You can decide to realise that it’s not your fault for being hurt how you were, or for being cheated on, or left to raise three kids on your own or whatever it is that happened. People need closure for a reason. If you’re too busy shielding yourself behind your baggage then you’ll never really allow yourself to deal with anything new.
Sharing baggage with someone else is a scary thing, no question. I’m not for one second suggesting you go into all the nitty gritty, but if you’re closing parts of yourself off to someone then you can’t expect them to understand why you act the way you do or to think their behaviour isn’t hurting you. Nobody can reach their late twenties or early thirties without having been hurt. Would you want to date someone who had? Someone who hadn’t ever been hurt and so wouldn’t be able to appreciate something good? In Miss Sunshine’s case, Mr Mac had been through something very similar himself in the past so you’d hope he’d have a more sympathetic ear than most.
When it comes to relationships, I’m a firm believer in high risk equals high reward. When you like someone, really like someone, I’m all for giving it 100%. Which means warts and all. Nobody is perfect, but by not sharing your worries and fears, in a sense, you’re trying to be. And that can’t be sustained. Putting yourself on the line means leaving yourself open, but surely that’s better than sabotaging a good thing?