Baggage

When I got home from my mission eleven years ago, everything I owned fit in a few suitcases and boxes. I had some books, clothes, pots and pans, a CD player, and other small things. I didn't own a car, a computer, or any furniture. When Mr. Fob and I got married shortly after that we moved into a one-bedroom apartment. We bought a loveseat at D.I., inherited a bed from family, and rented a kitchen table and chairs from the university. Now I live in a five-bedroom house and I own a car, a large amount of furniture, and even two refrigerators. There's a bedroom for each person in the family and one for guests. It's a bit ridiculous. I mostly enjoy my level of comfort and feel humbly blessed to have so much abundance, but sometimes I feel guilt at the high standard of living I enjoy compared to the rest of the world. Either way, I now have a lot of stuff.

In addition to the stuff, I have a much more abundant life than I used to. I have three kids, three-hundred friends on Facebook (yes, they are all people I consider to be friends), a loving ward, two college degrees, and a good job. My life is full. All this abundance can be complicated as well. I have an ex-husband, various family members in various legal relationships with each other and me, and a number of responsibilities at work, church, and in a few volunteer capacities.

I've been thinking about all this baggage lately in the context of dating. Dating eleven years ago was much less complicated. I didn't bring a lot with me; there was the assumption that I would acquire more through my relationships. And I did. My marriage did not just increase my material status, it changed me fundamentally in more ways than I can possibly enumerate, both good and bad. I have a family now. I have a life. I'm discovering that many guys that I would potentially like to date are looking for someone with a lot less baggage. I can understand that, but it still frustrates me because I don't think that baggage is all that bad. Yes, it makes things more complicated, but it doesn't make them impossible.

I think there's a fairly good chance that I'll never get married again, as much as I'd like to. More than anything it seems to be a matter of luck. Although there is a part of me that is deeply troubled by this, the truth is that I mostly feel like it would be all right. I have a life. I have a family. One of the biggest things I carry with me that I gained through my marriage is a strong sense of myself. Back when I was in Young Women's and had to make a list of qualities I wanted in a spouse, my first two things that I listed were "won't laugh at me" and "thinks I'm interesting". That's kind of pathetic now that I think of it. Eleven years ago I thought that guys didn't want to date me because there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Now I know it's because there's something wrong with them. Hopefully some day I can convince someone to take on some of my baggage because it's not just filled with boring stuff; there's a lot of good in here too.

Comments

Recession Cone said…
I love the idea that the complicated and sometimes painful parts of our lives make us stronger. Thanks for this post, and all the best.
Jessica said…
I just wanted to comment and say you are a great writer and you really express yourself in an open and honest way. Hugs for the struggles. I too believe we grow from difficult experiences and become stronger through them. I heard this Sara Evans song today and I thought it was beautiful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22zB6Soc2Gk

Like you said, baggage can be a good thing. It's what makes us who we are. Good luck and hang in there. <3
Desmama said…
I think that it also depends on how you frame "baggage." If you still have issues with everything going on in your life, then it could be considered baggage, I suppose, but it also could be considered depth of experience, and, most likely for you, depth of character as well (I say that because some people go through a lot of things and may never really learn all that much--but I'm pretty certain you're too contemplative and intelligent for that).

I wouldn't completely write off getting married again. I truly, truly believed I wouldn't marry--the thought just baffled me--but I did. And just as baffling to me now is that he loves me so much!

Hugs, FoxyJ. :)
AmyJane said…
I'd been waiting to read what you had to say about this. I wondered how it felt for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's strange that we have never met, and yet, I feel like I will know you when we do!
Much love. I know it can't be easy to walk in your shoes at times, and you handle yourself so well despite that.
AmyJane said…
Ugh, that comment belonged on your club unicorn post. Whoops. Forgive me?

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