The Past is the Past - But It's Still Here (long)
We all come with the baggage of our past. As much as we'd like think we're completely over the things that have shaped us, there are bits and pieces that come back at times to bite us. Some situations are far worse and longer reaching than others.
While I'd like to beleive that I am capable of defending myself against the past at this point in my life, it sometimes creeps back in and clutches me in its hold and I really have to struggle to get out of it. Some of the situations I've had to face in my life would be the stuff that a movie on Lifetime would be made out of.
When I first started dating my SO, I searched on the new "stepfamily" culture. I found these boards. While I don't have situations nearly as severe as some, I get a lot of out of it. However, I'm a product of divorce parents from the early 80's (like 1980) and back then there wasn't anyone to really talk to or to feel kinship with. People avoided us and my friends weren't allowed to talk to me anymore. First divorce on the street - but not the last!
My dad and my stepmom couldn't have handled things more poorly. She moved in a week after my dad threw my mom out and my dad told us that she was our new "Mom". It was horrifying. When Mommie Dearest came out in 1981, I'm pretty sure my step-mom was Joan Crawford and I was the blackhaired version of Christina. My Stepmom LOVED that movie. I was seven-ish. I couldn't fathom why I needed to even SEE that movie; let alone live it. Only we weren't rich, we weren't famous and I was the maid.
Anyway - back to my original point - regardless of being institutionlized and years of therapy, I have baggage from growing up there - I do my best to get rid of it, to keep it in check. I've learned how to cope, and I've found the healthy tools I need to live a GOOD life. And it is good and I'm thankful for it.
One thing I don't like to do is clean. For birthdays growing up, I got polishing systems and once, (a really big splurge) I got an electric hardwood floor buffer! Any nine year old would love it! The BEST present ever. While I don't live in a pig sty, and I'm not a hoarder and I don't live in filth - I live in a pleasant state of clutter. For some this is unacceptable, for me this is my last "fuck you" to my Mommie Dearest. And I'm perfectly ok with it. There are far worse things I could do and I'm only human. Maybe someday I'll work on this, but it's just not my goal for today.
So this morning, my SO says "I don't understand how people have their car so cluttered and the outside of their house looks so nice" - It's not my car - it's the neighbors car and every time she gets out of it, something falls on the ground and she doesn't pick it up - and I said "I totally understand it." and he said "You don't live with your stepmom anymore, why would you want to understand it? I don't want to live in filth" and I said "You're not married to your exwife anymore, but you still behave like you are sometimes. It's how our past is always with us" and he said "That's BS, I'm completely over that and it has no bearing on my life. But you, you're always in the past" And then he left for work.
Then he sends me a text that says "Just because you have issues doesn't mean you should project them on to me" I have not responded. The one text says mountains to me. He's ashamed because he knows it's true but he doesn't have the tools to do anything about it.
I'm not a psychiatrist or a therapist (thought I did minor in it in college - I thought once I could help people) but I know damn well that noone is immune to their past and it shapes us whether we like it or not. He will talk to me about his childhood and how great it was in one sentence, but if his sister is brought up, the venom in his fangs starts dripping about the "The Perfect One". The one who was allowed to play sports and be a cheerleader, while he and his brother couldn't even play something if they found their own rides. If his exwife calls, he starts shaking before he even answers it. If that's not baggage and issues, I don't know what is. But I love him, baggage and all. I just wish he could wake up and see it's not the most horrible place to be.
Most of the problems we have on this board are from baggage and the inability to process it and find a healthy way to deal with it. This is not an accusation against any one person; it's merely an observation.
If we could wake every day with a blank slate, would you do it? I wouldn't. I know that I'm not perfect, but I love my imperfections. I love that I've lived a rich and varied life. I feel blessed that I've been able to rise above what I started out from. I feel blessed that I've been able to take the sour lemons that life handed my parents who in turn handed to me and I've made a lemon pie - complete with whipped cream.
It's time for another cup of coffee.