Monday, May 18, 2009

"Baggage"

My therapy session today was a bit interesting. Last week, we veered off and discussed work, career, and relationships, all of which was very pertinent (still is) and held my anxiety at bay. This week, we refocused on the trauma issues. I tried just talking about it versus writing it as C. felt this just distanced me from the emotions too much. Overall, I don't think it went the way she expected as I had a much tougher time thinking about my thoughts and feelings of the past and present.

There was one instance where I was recounting an event. C. asked a question about it, and I paused momentarily. So small, I didn't even think she noticed. But she did, and then asked a "what else" type question. I spoke of another instance which happened that I had given much less thought to over the years. It was significant, but like an afterthought, "oh yeah, and then this other time..." The funny thing with that incident is that I remember it much more clearly, with all those cues like what movie was on, that there was an interruption, that it was dark, how I felt before and afterwards, etc. This is highly different from the trauma incident that felt the most traumatic. Those details are all blurred with my recollections unclear, making me wonder about my own accuracies or inaccuracies.

After recounting the not so thought about incident, C. asked if there was anything else. And then, I said, there was this time and that time, etc. My first thoughts about this as I left was "shit, no wonder why I developed an eating disorder."

But aside from that point, what this also reminded me of was "baggage." We all have it. It's the skeletons in the closet we rarely like to talk about or show. It's the dirty laundry that makes us feel unlovable, unworthy, ashamed, damaged. For some of us, it feels like our Scarlet Letter A.

I was reading Jenni Schaefer's post on the Huffington Post about Dating real people (after and eating disorder). She said how she used to "air out the dirty laundry" early in dating someone as an attempt to see whether the other person really liked her. Personally, as a general rule, I've always been opposite in not revealing the "dirty laundry" until after I knew the person better. Of course, there were certain instances when I offered too much information as well. But mostly, I've always been afraid of my own "baggage" even if I was carrying my own bags. My thinking was more along the lines of, "if I'm afraid of my own baggage, what would someone else think?"


I've known many people in both circumstances. Some people want to get it all out there, while others feel like it'll just make the person run. Neither way is right or wrong but rather dependent on you. I think the thing that is more damaging is when you are so fearful of your own baggage that you never let go of the handles.

6 comments:

Kara said...

There was one relationship where I let out too much baggage too soon and it did not bode well. But I think what you said is important that we need to not be fearful of our own baggage. I think that will bring confidence that will be good for any relationship.

Kristina said...

Tiptoe,
I must say that I think of you as "wise" and provocative in the posts that you write. And your thoughts at the end, I might have to write that down and take it everywhere with me.
Like you, I've gone both ways, exposed too much too soon and zipped myself up, closed off to the world, and I think that both are harmful.
At the moment, I don't necessarily share every detail with people whom I've just met or even those who know me now but did not know me 'at my worst'. And I do find it difficult to divulge THAT much information.
But I am real with them, and I let my guard down, and that is what is important.

shannon said...

i have done this many times. all the time, really. any potential relationship has been me 'laying it all out on the table.'
i want people to know what they're in for.
the thing with me is that i seem to choose people who are drawn to me BECAUSE of my honesty and strength in all i've come through...
so it becomes a source of, uh, struggle.
i'm always the 'strong one,' hence i never really have romantic relationships.
i'd love to meet someone who wasn't weaker than i am...
because even though i 'lay it all out' and they see that as a sign of my strength (which it IS) - it takes a lot to be me.
blah.
people don't realize how much we go through - even if we are 'strong.'

anyway - yeah.
i think it can also be a sort of sabotage thing, too. in the past i did that. i used my ED as a crutch to keep away anyone who might see me as sexual.

Tiptoe said...

Good to know other can relate.

Kara, I think when we can let go of some of the baggage, it can make a relationship better. It just kind of depends on where you are with it.

Kristina, thanks for the compliment. I do like to be a "thinker." Sometimes, it is hard to find that balance of how much to reveal/not reveal. But you are right that it is more important on being genuine and real.

Shannon, being strong can have so many different meanings. People have often told me how strong I am. It can certainly be a lot to bear on one's shoulders. I know there are others out there who are equivalent strong beings, it's just a matter of finding them. ;-)

On the same token, even if you may be strong, being vulnerable at times is okay too.

Shannon Cutts said...

Hi Tiptoe-I love this post about how to handle dirty laundry. I can really relate to Jenni's post on dating as well - I've read it more than once. :)

I wanted to share a free resource with you and your readers - three months ago we launched MentorCONNECT, the first global free online mentoring community. We offer one-on-one mentoring matches between people in strong recovery and people who need support. We also have a live chat e-support group each Monday night.

The website for more info is:
www.key-to-life.com/mentorconnect

Keep up the great blogging and I'll look forward to reading more!

Warmly,
Shannon for MentorCONNECT
www.key-to-life.com

Tiptoe said...

Shannon, thanks so much for your comments and sharing your website. It looks like a good, valuable resource.