Boxing the Baggage


I’d be a liar if I said it was easy to forgive and forget relationships past. Certainly, there’s a utilitarian part of this. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. If I don’t remember, I’ll keep fucking up in the same mundane, boring, safe, cowardly ways. It’s only when I remember my mistakes and triumphs that I’m able to goof bravely.

I’ve gotten used to it. I’m learning (slowly) how to organize and contain my baggage so that even though I know it’s there, it’s neatly packed away in a box labelled “your opinion counts too” or, “remember to want what you want, rather than what someone tells you it’s good to want”.

With the romantic entanglements that have shaped the person I am (harder, better, faster, stronger, and all) it’s easy to box them up and put them away in a dark corner of mom and dad’s basement. It’s tougher for friendships.

There’s a conventional wisdom that says that youthful romance is inevitably and invariably fleeting. Certainly I accepted these conventions as wisdom, and anticipated the end of my romantic entanglements, often even before they’d really begun.

Those same conventions (though perhaps not so wise in this case) suggest that in adolescence and early adulthood, it’s the friendships, not the romances that will stick around and endure. Just ask the Spice Girls.

The friends you make in high school and shortly after, the story goes, will be the ones you can not talk to for years and as soon as you meet again, it’ll be like you never parted. These friends will continue to be important to you, and form a part of your life and worldview, well into your golden years.

Except sometimes they don’t. Sometimes distance, geographical or emotional, gets in the way. Sometimes you’re busy, sometimes they’re busy. Sometimes there’s a cataclysmic argument, sometimes you just pass out of each others lives.

And then there’s my often far too pessimistic nature. Last week, three things happened. First, I got an email from one of my Italian host mothers from last summer, restating an invitation she’d extended to me as I left, that I would always be welcome to visit her family.

Second, I realized with some surprise and rather a lot of disappointment that someone I’d once called my best friend had absolutely no interest in continuing a friendship with me.

Third, two friends from my year abroad in England told me they missed me, and that they’d love it if I visited them soon.

Guess which one was stuck in the front of my conscious mind for the better part of 36 hours. I dare you.
For some reason probably having rather a lot to do with the underlying religious and cultural foundations of the society in which I grew up, it’s sometimes ridiculously hard for me to focus on the good things and let the other stuff fade into the background. Exhibit a.

But I’m not doing myself (or anyone else) any good by looking at the world that way. Losing friends sucks, sure, but having invitations to visit friends in various countries is nothing to sneeze at. Sometimes I spend entirely too much time thinking about what I’ve lost, and don’t pay nearly enough attention to what I’ve gained.


One Response to “Boxing the Baggage”
  1. Aunt Julie says:

    That’s right!! Cut him or her loose and move on. I found making the cut with my invisible scissors worked best — give it a try 🙂

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