If you're a subscriber, then you probably read my public admission a couple of weeks ago.
I have baggage.
As I explained, it's mostly the kind of baggage that goes on vacation. California, to the be exact, for 8 days and 7 nights.
I'm still sorting photos and trying to understand how to edit the many videos I filmed so I can share them with you next week as part of The Baggage Series, which is broken into 3 parts for 3 reasons.
1. Relationship Baggage
2. Vacation Baggage, Days 1 - 4
3. Vacation Baggage, Days 5 - 8
1. 8 days and 7 nights makes for a lot of pictures and stories. "Vacation Baggage" started out as a single post, but even at 80% complete, it's colossal. It needs to be broken up in half to be enjoyed and to keep from breaking your internet! Work in progress.
2. When it comes to video editing, I have no idea what I'm doing. Like, none. It's making my head hurt! I'm learning...
3. ...Which brings us here, to Part 1. I always intended to write a post about relationship baggage so this is a good opportunity to discuss it, starting now.
Baggage: Only Good For Vacations, Part 1 of 3
Relationship baggage. It's exhausting to handle it if it's your own and particularly annoying if it's someone else's.
I recall a time in my twenties when I had baggage.
A relationship I was in had recently ended. I don't even recall who I was in the relationship with, but I remember the after-affects playing itself out on the dance floor of Scott Gertner's Sky Bar on Montrose.
I'm not sure how I managed to dance and be mean at the same time, but I soldiered through. To this day, I feel sorry for the poor guy who asked me to boogie. He couldn't ask a question without a sassy answer to chip away at his good nature. I was possessed, I suppose. Incapable of treating him any better because somewhere along the way I foolishly got it into my head that things and people who have absolutely nothing to do with my destiny get to steer the boat. That disappointment gets a say-so in how I navigate my life and treat people.
Here's what I wish I'd known that night.
We cannot escape this life without another human disappointing and hurting us.
Some of us won't get out of this life without experiencing interactions with other human beings that wound us in ways that push us to muster just enough energy to crawl out of bed the next day or enough strength to go a full day without crying or enough hope to go without damning the entire world or an entire gender.
I wish I'd known that these are regular aches and pains of relationships, especially broken ones. And that this is simply part of the journey.
That's not to minimize my hurt, but to remind myself that I get to steer the boat and that losing a dream sometimes is as useful as losing a keloid or a sixth finger.
That night I carried baggage to all four corners of the club. How silly it seems, especially considering that now I can't even remember the person who I mourned.
I don't know when things changed for me.
Maybe when I started focusing on having a good time. But at some point, I just wanted to be good to new people in my life without regard for the old, but still, with gratitude for any lessons learned. Or maybe I see endings as a blessing and not a curse. I don't know.
I just know that being smarter is different than burdening someone with baggage. Being smarter, post-relationship, suggests that you've maintained (or strengthened) the integrity of your character while having gained deeper insight into who you are, who you want to be, and how you move about the world--and that those things bring positive change.
If I could do it all over again I'd be nicer to that guy right up to the point where he sits in a chair, leans back, looks me square in the eyes, then tells me to dance for him. True and tragic turn to the story.
I know I have baggage, some of it mine, some of it inherited, but I try to fill it with more clothes, toiletries, books, and a sense of adventure than bitterness, fear, and negative emotion.
It is with this sense of adventure that I decided to go west--to do a Pacific Coast Highway 1 roadtrip.
I can't wait to take you up the coast with me, from L.A. to San Francisco. From hiking behind the Hollywood sign to heading north, stopping in a Swiss village, at a castle, taking in roadside views of the ocean, and doing 40 mph most of the way!
Buckle up for a slow ride next Tuesday and Thursday for Parts 2 and 3.
Photo credit: Drew Coffman via CC Flickr