I called out Super Intense Tattoo Guy today on the whole badgering me to talk to him text message freakout whilst he has a girlfriend thing. I honestly don’t care about someone seeing/talking to other people besides me. I don’t have any right to give a damn about that after all. And why should I? Unless we agree to see only each other, why would it bother me? I’m a pretty reasonable, sane person.
What does bother me is people not just coming straight out and saying “oh, I got a girlfriend” or “oh, I have something that’s getting serious going on” while still talking to me and trying to keep me on the back burner.
So when I found out Super Intense Tattoo Guy was essentially trying to keep me on reserve by chatting me up (and throwing tantrums when I didn’t respond to his texts quickly enough) whilst he was in a relationship, I got pissed. Here’s how that conversation ended (and note that I generously didn’t compare him to a “petulant middle school girl” in the first message, as I was tempted to do):
Me: Anyways, good luck with the new girl. And bless her heart, because goodness you seem prone to over reading into communication modes and frequencies and unlikely to give people the benefit of the doubt. Please do lose my number
Guy: I did. And you just don’t know me and what I’ve been through or you might understand better. Some things just don’t communicate well over text. Goodbye
Me: No one magically understands you, and baggage doesn’t excuse poor behavior in the present and future. You’re kind of a self involved (and what’s worse, self indulgent) jerk. Goodbye.
I really do feel bad for this new girl. That was a genuine “bless her heart,” as opposed to the second type of “bless her heart” which is an excuse to gossip/a big old “screw her.” This dude is way too into himself, his baggage, and the idea of what a girl is supposed to be rather than who they are, or at least who I am. I had been content to ignore various red flags because he was nice, but it turns out the red flags were waving for a reason.
Also, I AM NOBODY’S BACKUP CHICK. You wanna keep something as a reserve, go buy some decent wine. You want a toy to keep you amused, buy a goddamn furby. At least that will talk to you constantly, which is what you seem to want.
But here’s what’s the more important issue: we all have baggage. People we’ve dated, people who’ve broken our hearts, people whose hearts we’ve broken, people who’ve cheated on us, people we’ve cheated on, our relationships with our parents, our siblings, our sexual history, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual violence, religious doctrines, loss, etc. are a part of who we are. They made us who we are.
Hopefully that’s for the better. Hopefully we’re stronger, wiser, bolder, more kind, and more generous for these things. But whether we’re handling them or repressing them, whether we’ve grown or regressed from these things, sometimes they haunt us. As time goes on, we start to dwell on things less, but sometimes they just pop up and force us to deal with them yet again.
It’s okay to give yourself some leeway sometimes when it comes to dealing with your baggage. Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes the ghosts are everywhere. Some days you catch a glimpse of what looks like your ex out of the corner of your eye and your day just somehow is never the same. That happens. You can curl up, throw things, rant it out, write it out, hide from the world, whatever. We do what we need to do to get by. That’s human. It’s part of what happens when we leave ourselves vulnerable. As much as it hurts and sucks, even years down the road sometimes, if we don’t give ourselves opportunity to grieve for our past selves, for relationships lost, for futures that might have been, then we’re not sufficiently reflecting on our pasts in order to grow and move forward in our present lives and in our present relationships.
Where this becomes a problem is when we give ourselves leeway because of our baggage to manipulate or hurt other people. There is no excuse for that. Period. “You just don’t know me and what I’ve been through” is not an excuse for acting like a petulant child. It’s not an excuse for trying to guilt someone into feeling bad for having not called you sooner. Sometimes our baggage leads us to hurt others accidentally. That happens. But if you’re well aware that this is an issue and you’re indulging, almost reveling in it, while you use this baggage as an excuse to justify your treating others badly that’s just heartbreaking.
What’s worse, it’s letting somebody who used to be a part of your life, somebody who hurt you, dictate the bounds of your current relationships. If you’re aware you have this baggage and you’re okay with letting it shape your current relationships negatively, that’s not okay, whether said relationship is romantic or platonic. No one gets to determine the boundaries in a relationship except the people in it. It’s unfair to the person you’re currently with as well as to yourself. It’s not giving yourself a chance to start fresh, and it’s falling back into potentially dangerous comfort zones. It’s settling before you even really get started. It’s self indulgent and selfish.
And if that’s okay with you, then I am a-okay with you leaving my life.
Goodbye, good riddance, get yourself a goddamn furby. I recommend the classic over the new. They’re slightly less creepy.