Only one piece of carry-on allowed
Unless we arrive straight from the stork at the ripe old age of whatever, we all have baggage of some sort or another. It doesn't matter how much or how little you've dated, if you have family, friends or are alive and functioning in the world, there's baggage there.
Let's psychoanalyze me, shall we? After all, it's my site, and I regularly put my neuroses on display, so I don't mind.
To begin, my biggest problem -- I get very upset at having it implied or stated that I'm promiscuous or a whore.
Whiskey tango foxtrot, you say? What about my charming moniker, URL and site name? Oh, well -- I liked the names, and it's a fun persona to adopt to confuse the masses. To know me online is to not know me very well in person.
I also have weird issues about being overtly sexual. Again -- confused? Ditto. I can talk about basically every sexual experience I've ever had, I'm experimental, open-minded, and so on -- but sticking a boob in someone's face, putting their hand on my lady parts, sticking my butt up in the air to ask to be fucked -- hell, wearing the peekaboo Victoria's Secret bra I bought -- can all cause me moments of self-doubt and insecurity.
And don't get me started on interactions with members of the opposite sex. There's a fun back-and-forth, depending on the guy. The short version of that tale is simply that the strong-and-silent types are not my style; while I don't need to know every thought that runs through someone's head, it's love to hear 'I like you/I love you,' 'you're funny/smart/cute/interesting/sexy/etc.' once in awhile.
Now, all of this self-doubting baffles friends who know me in real life. People don't always seem to see past my self-confident exterior, or they don't understand from whence my assorted baggage originates.
While it's tempting to point fingers at my mom, I actually get along fairly well with her, so I don't really want to blame her. At the same time, growing up hearing, 'Don't say/do that, or else you're going to get a reputation!' doesn't seem to set a lady off on the best track. Well, long before I'd ever been beyond more than kissing a guy, I was being called a slut (we're talking elementary school, here), because I was curious about sex, read and retained information about it, and could talk about it maturely. Never mind that it was all very theoretical at that point.
It took some time and a lot of trial-and-error, but I got to where I am now -- and I like who I am, for the most part. I've packed up the majority of my baggage and put a lot of it behind me. Unfortunately, I can't always say the same for everyone else I know.
I think one of the most important lessons we can learn in life is simply that Every Person Is Different. This was the mantra from a now-defunct alt.-group and mailing list I was on, and it applies to so much. What works for one person will not work for the next. If you can't learn this, well... don't know what to tell you, except maybe please don't come onto me.
That said, same thing applies when it comes to baggage and behaviours; just because something Person X does reminds you of something Person Y used to do, it doesn't mean X = Y.
Of course, as with everything I say, I acknowledge that this is only applicable so far. Sometimes the same behaviour pattern will continue, and then you're well-within your rights to decide how you want to go from there. This is where dating comes in handy -- you learn what you wil and won't tolerate, how you react to things, and what you want or require from another person.
One of those is that you are not responsible for the crap behaviour of past partners. Just because someone kissed you on the nose before they said something hurtful doesn't mean that my kissing you on the nose will automatically lead to an insult or slur.
Passive-aggressive behaviour is not cool. If you have a problem with me, tell me. Do not assume I will know that my off-hand remark was triggering something in your psyche. I don't read minds.
I don't read minds, and I don't expect you to, either.
I don't automotically assume all baggage is bad or that we should get over all of our crap immediately. It can take weeks, months, years to even recognize our baggage for what it is, let along move past it -- and sometimes we just won't. I may always be cursed with my defensiveness about my extensive dating past or any 'slut/whore/easy' comments, and that's just how it is. Others may always have issues with hearing people joke about suicide, or small penises, or their weight, or whatever. But I think it's important to recognize our baggage for what it is -- ours, and our own responsibility -- and be able to deal with it accordingly, not expect someone else to carry it for us.
Or, more briefly, a line for some from my past: I am not your exes. Move on.
posted by Jen on 3:45 PM
It's not me, it's you
I’m not always the nicest person. Hide your shock. I’ll be the first to admit it; I get impatient, I can be demanding, or difficult, and if I’m hungry or tired, well everything is simply magnified. I’m really somewhat like a baby in that manner. Now, in addition to that, I’ve dated a lot. I promise, these two things are eventually going to link up.
This year has been a bit of an ‘interesting’ one; I broke up with the guy I’d been seeing since my last birthday, who was known as the Smooshy. I then started dating a friend of a friend, because it was drama-free and casual and easy. I broke up with him when I was becoming interested in other people I’d met. From the runner, I moved on to a bartender, who I dated for a few months. I broke up with him because we weren’t really connecting (or having sex), and because I was interested in a friend – a guy I’d known back pre-Smooshy, actually. That guy and I dated for a few months before I ended things again. See the pattern? Now, I have to say that the break-ups with the bartender and the runner were mutual; both of us were feeling the end of things, and so they were very easy conversations that had no drama involved. In fact, I’m 99% certain that the runner was trying to booty-call me after things ended, which amused me.
The other two relationships, on the other hand, were a bit different. In short, in both cases, I was being made to feel as though I wasn’t enough for the guy – which is a perfectly fair assessment. But the Smooshy would spend time telling me what I was lacking, or that I should change, yet never offering to change. Or actually tell me how it was I should change in order to improve things. Great for the esteem, as I’m sure you can guess. Despite the ridiculous chemistry (which quickly abated) between the other guy and I, I found there were a number of personality conflicts that never quite resolved. So I felt the prudent thing to do would be to end things – before I reached the point where I hated him and wanted him dead. That’s never quite the best place to be in a relationship, especially with someone you’re supposed to care about.
Even though two of the endings were mutual (and really, the one with the Smooshy kind of was, except for where he turned into a complete and utter whiny victim, cast me as the villain, and just completely acted a twit), the fact that I had to initiate all four conversations was simply draining, and I’ve decided I’ve had enough. That’s not saying that I want to be dumped – that’s never fun, either. I’ve wondered sometimes if I’ve dated too much, especially since I seem to keep meeting people who have relationships that last for years on end, or they simply don’t date much at all. Is there something wrong with me in that I can’t meet someone whose interest I hold – or vice versa – for any length of time? No, I don’t think so. I’ve had people say that they’re picky about who they date, which seems to carry with it an implied, “… and you’re not” element directed my way, but as I’ve said before, I’m learning with every boy I date. I’m learning about myself, I’m learning what I will and won’t tolerate, and I’m learning how to recognize behaviour patterns in people that I don’t deserve and to which I won’t subject myself. That said, I’ve had conversations with a coworker of mine about marriage and personalities. It’s made me wonder if I was too quick to give up on people in my past; however, the fact that I don’t regret any of the breakups probably means I’ve done the right thing every time. Even the guys who dumped me, I don’t regret. I know that no one is perfect, myself included. But I also know that no one should put up with regular passive-aggressive behaviour, personal criticisms or anything else that would be demoralizing to them. If someone isn’t making you happy, why are you bothering to stay with them? So I keep looking and trying to improve myself, in the hopes that maybe someday I’ll meet someone that can tolerate me for longer than a few months, or who that I can tolerate in return. Better than tolerate – I deserve happiness, and I’m always looking for it. I believe I deserve good things, and you know what? I’m going after them.
posted by Jen on 2:26 PM