As I've said a squibillion times before, the past is the past. We cannot change it. It's a done deal. All we can do is confront our wrongs and, even though it is one of the hardest things to do, we must let go.
Every single person has a guilty filthy soul. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but it's kind of true. We have blemishes on our records that can't be wiped away. Since I can't speak for all of you, I am going to speak for myself. There are a lot of things I've done that I wish I hadn't. Things like being deceitful, back stabby, angry for no reason. I've stayed with others because I was afraid of being alone. Hurt people I loved. Committed thievery. Wrecked things that weren't mine. Lied. Cheated. Broken hearts. Been vindictive and spiteful. Blamed others for my actions. Used my past as an excuse for my bad attitude in the present. And I've refused to take responsibility for myself and my own happiness.
I can't undo those things. And so, unlike a lot of people, I've forgiven myself. But I haven't forgotten. The past is a reminder to us of where we've been and where we don't want to go again. It no longer guides me or derails me, but I see it in my face and hear it in my words. Without it, I wouldn't be the incredibly flawed and odd girl I am today. And you wouldn't be the person you are without your own past. It's been a long journey to get here, and not all of it has been bad, but for some reason we reflect on the wicked far more often than the good. Here is the simplest of truths...I am not perfect, and neither are you. I have never been perfect. I will never be perfect. In this, we are the same.
We are human. And it is a human condition to make mistakes. In an ideal world, we would tell ourselves to do better, try harder, love more, and be nicer. Then we let go of our pasts and forgive ourselves. It isn't an ideal world, though. People allow their pasts, the good and the bad, to follow them around. They bring baggage into new relationships and grow cynical and bitter over past hurts.
But sometimes the pasts haunting us aren't our own.
Lately, I've been wondering over jealousy, relationships, and trust. Yes, people have a hard time confronting and accepting their own pasts, but they have an even harder time accepting other people's pasts, especially if they are emotionally invested in said person. For some reason, it is difficult for people to butt out of what isn't theirs. If I've learned anything over the last couple decades it's that humans are curious creatures. They think they want to know everything when they really don't.
Then there are those who think they want to share everything, when they really don't have to.
Yes, you have a past. Yes, another person found you attractive. Yes, you've slept with other people. No, I don't care. Why are you telling me all this? What exactly is the motivation behind it?
I've been in the oddest of situations where people have told me all the wonderful things their ex did for them or the sexual experiences they've had with other girls. These things aren't necessary to share and will only invoke unhealthy feelings of not being good enough or jealousy. Which might just be what the other person wants. Sometimes people want to make you jealous. They want a reaction. And I know that sounds bonkers, but my friend recently told me that it can feel good to have your girl get possessive and jealous. Of course, I just don't think that's healthy. Why on earth would you want someone you care about to feel that way?
Ego. So much comes down to ego. The desire to be wanted. To feel important. And to leave a lasting impression.
Since we are talking about the past and ego, last week my ex-ex called. (My ex before the last ex) He'd been thinking about me for some reason. One memory in particular stood out for him. We were at the Brickyard watching Mudhoney and this blonde woman was all over him, putting her arm around him, whispering in his ear, caressing his back, giggling like a dippy doodle. I was young and foolish and hot tempered. I went over, pushed her out of the way and told her to back the eff off. To my ex, this memory is awesome and I acted in a fashion that, to him, was ego stroking.
To me, this memory is horrible. I remember how I felt. The night was ruined for me. And the funny thing? I wasn't even all that mad at the chick, but I wanted to rip my ex's head off. It wasn't my place to push the woman away. He should have done it on his own. At least that's what I thought. It's interesting to me how he enjoyed the way I reacted while I felt put on the spot and disrespected. Strange how we all view things differently. He liked the fact that I was jealous.
Relationships, both past and present, are tricky.
A couple months ago, a guy I was talking to kept telling me intimate stories about his ex. Eventually, I said, "Look, I don't mind you sharing, but why are you sharing the dirty Skyping you did with your ex?" Because some things are best left unsaid.
He told me women have always wanted to know about ex-girlfriends. I actually chuckled, because I thought it was a joke, and he said, "What's so funny?"
Even odder, I went on a date with this guy and he said to me, "Tell me about your ex."
"The one you're going to leave me for."
Yes, this was a first date. No, there wasn't a second one. And can you say insecure?
I am a firm believer that people don't really want to know about their partners past girlfriends or boyfriends. They might say they want to, because curiosity gets the cat, but what it truly boils down to is whether or not the ex was more attractive, fitter, wilder in bed, funnier, or smarter. Oh, that sounds terrible, doesn't it? But it's true. In the end, people just want a little reassurance, for their lover to tell them they are better.
Unfortunately, you can't always be better, which is why I don't ask about exes. (Just kidding.) Well, sort of. When push comes to shove, I'm not a jealous person. Not now. I have been in the past. It's hard to hear someone tell you they will never love you fully because someone else still holds a part of their heart. Fortunately, that has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with your boyfriend being a complete idiot. (I think I just over-shared.) Jealousy just doesn't look good on me. It comes from insecurities and, to be honest, I know who I am and what I bring to the table. I'm not here to play the comparison game. Mostly because I don't have the time or energy, but also because I'm one of a kind and it isn't fair to other girls. (That was totally a joke).
When we look at a partner's ex, a crush's past, a lover's seedy history we should simply shrug and say, "whatever", while still respecting it. Because even though it isn't ours it did mould the person we care about. We don't belong wading through other people's intimate moments or old hurts, but we do have to understand they exist. In the end, the only thing we have control over is now and how we move within it. I choose to go without jealousy and worry.
With all of this said, yes, there are key notes to your partner's past you should be privy to, like if they murdered someone or once ate a ten foot long hot dog. A loose knowledge of their history is a great thing. If you aren't a jealous person, feel free to explore past relationships, but know what is their's and what is yours. Understand how they felt isn't necessarily how they feel. And if you aren't comfortable talking about it, wise up and say so. I talk about my past a lot, because I have no secrets and am a bit of a blabber mouth. That said, I'd hate for the past to ruin a future happiness and so I try to be selective with what I share. And maybe that's the key. Selectiveness.
In the end, people can't change their pasts just like you can't change yours. I don't want anyone holding mine against me. So why would I hold someone else's against them? It'd be hypocritical. And I ain't no stinkin' hypocrite.