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.


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