Tag Archives: relationship

Leave Your Baggage

I will, hopefully, be going to visit my son in Portland in the near future.  I have never been there, so the trip should be fun.  I am also supposed to get to meet another blogger to see a bit of the city while my son finishes up work.

None of that, of course, has anything really to do with the contents of this post.  The “baggage” I am referring to is not your suitcases full of clothes; I am, actually, talking about mental and emotional baggage we all drag around.

I understand that when I meet someone, whether romantically or as a friend, co-worker, even as a person, our baggage comes into play.  I understand my baggage fairly well.  I have been the one to create it or allowed it to grow in my own mind.  It has been built out of the mortar of my two marriages, raising my children, working many jobs, going to school, and being raised by my own parents.  All of those factors, as well as choices I have made about them, have woven together into a mosaic of sorts.

The same is true for everyone else; they have their own mortar and mosaics.  I don’t know theirs fully and they don’t know mine.  I may get to know theirs over years, sometimes quicker, but I won’t know it as well as mine.  I also have little control over theirs; I simply have mine to work with.  The same is true of them.  We are responsible, in the end for two things:  First, how we handle our baggage and, second, how we portray our baggage to others.

Just as when I visit my son, how I handle my baggage is important, so is my mental baggage.  I wouldn’t go to my son’s and unzip my baggage and throw it all over his home.  I wouldn’t have him put it all away while I did something else.  There would be no need for him to even see, let alone deal with, most of my baggage.

So it is with the mental and emotional stuff I carry around.   There are times I fully share stories with him about things I have done, seen, and thought about.  There are other items best left alone to him.  Perhaps, I might share them with someone else under different circumstances, but…you get the idea

So, as with this title, most of my baggage should be “left at the door” when I meet someone.  I can’t force them to leave theirs.  My hope is they will keep theirs put away enough to give me a chance to know them.  Two people don’t really have a chance if they have to live up to all the standards both of them have garnered from the dozens of relationships they have had with all the people they have seen or known throughout their lives.  I think that is the problem with most love triangles; triangles in that it is the man the woman and the baggage.  Triangles don’t work well.  Give the other person a chance, whether lover or friend.  Simply get to know them, slowly, and decide on their own merits if they are worth your time or need to be added to your own baggage.

Got any baggage stories?  Share them, I promise I will understand.




I Begin to Know Myself

I have  no idea how this blog is going to flow.  Usually, I try my best to work it out, have an idea, and stick to that schedule.  I have done some of that.  However, I am tired and I know that will affect it.  But, here goes:

Today, I read two articles.  They are below.  You don’t have to read them.  They are good, but I just wanted you to know where my thoughts gathered.  These articles added to all the stuff I have been feeling and going through for months.


Maintaining Your Identity in a  Relationship

What People Need to Know to have Great First-time Sex

As I read these two articles, I realized part of why I haven’t been dating or gotten back into any type of permanent relationship.  Now, there are a lot of reasons, but try these on:

1)  I am afraid of losing myself in the relationship.

2)  I am afraid I am not good enough.

Before I get into this, I want to thank one particular blog for helping me:

August McLaughlin   You, dear lady, have helped me through your posts to say things I felt I needed to say.  You know those comments.  I treasure the certainty that I felt when making those on your blog because I knew they would be accepted.

Nearly all of you out there in blog land have helped me to feel more confident and able to speak out freely over the last 16 or so months.  Thank you.  I have grown and this is one of the products of that growth.

Now, some people who might read this post are going to be angry with me.  They are going to be angry simply because I mention that I don’t think you have to be in a marriage to have a full-time relationship.  I don’t think that sex is valid only in marriage.  ( I can hear the screams now ) – (too bad)

It’s a bit difficult for me to write like this because I don’t know who is reading my posts.  I have friends and family who would be appalled at the above statements.  It helps me to understand what many gay and lesbian people go through when they believe they have to not tell their friends and family that they are the way they are.

This is precisely the reason I decided to go ahead and talk about it all.  I should not have to be afraid to say who I am and what I feel and what I believe.  I am not hurting anyone; I am just stating facts.  If those facts hurt, then you are allowing that; I didn’t do it.  There’s enough there for many self-help books and the reason statement 1 bothers me a lot.

1)  I am afraid of losing myself in the relationship.

In the past, I have chosen rather strong women as the females in my relationships.  Not all, but a lot.  What happens then is that I begin right off doing whatever I can do to please them.  In other words: I lose myself.  I become them.

This is a bad thing.  There is no real upside here.  If you get lost in a relationship, you will get to the point in which you no longer enjoy it.  Something will cause you to want to see it end.  You may bring that about directly or indirectly.  The other person may well not like you always doing things for them.  They may feel as if they have nothing to offer you and become uninterested too.  Whatever happens, the relationship is going to hurt and, without help, it will fall apart.  Bad thing is that a lot of relationships fall apart, but never end…they just stay together “for the kids” or “because you promised”, whatever.

Sex, on the other hand, is a hot topic that makes a lot of people uneasy.  Part of what bothers me is that many people do two things during sex.  One is that they don’t ask for what they need and get mad when they don’t get it.  Two is that they are seldom willing to give what they are asked to give and then don’t understand when the other person is upset they didn’t get it.  There is, usually, both of these going on at the same time from both people.  It makes for a messy, nasty time when it should be wonderful and sharing and giving and loving.  I am fairly open to a lot of ideas and thoughts and different things when two people are alone sharing sex.  I have always preferred the term “making love” but, more and more, I am realizing that it doesn’t have to be that so much as just care and consideration between two people who wish to be that close.

If it’s a “conquest” for you, then it won’t work.  If it’s something you feel you “have” to do, then it won’t work.  If I have to explain either of those statements, then no wonder you are having problems.

Back to me before I stop here.  I have kept myself a bit held back in regards to both sex and relationships.  They haven’t happened and haven’t worked well because I am afraid.  Those two fears mentioned above are kill joys.  They will completely decimate affection, love, and enjoyment.  They are what I am thinking about now and I believe I am on my way to an answer.  It will just take time.

What do you think about any / all of this?



Still the Early Bits of Life – 2 Poems

The darker time of my life.  Simple explanation:  the first poem is about knowing you should divorce, but deciding to stick with it one more time because of hope, mostly.

The second one is, I think, my darkest one.  I remember writing it at work (yeah, the muse hit at a bad time).  I was depressed.  I had broken up with someone who I thought was very special and the one.  She wasn’t and it did not go well at all, hence, my depression.



By Scott L Vannatter

May 14, 1986

And what was I to do?

___ YOU, sitting there crying, sighing

and I, lost, as usual, not knowing

what to say

what to do.

The words dribble out, the rope slipping,

white gown, ring, and promises sliding down the slope

to be lost FOREVER.

Endless word, circling upon itself and beginning again,

heading back toward that same, fitful end. –sorry-

Such a fragile gift, hands clasped, vows solemn and meant

Care, Love, Life co-exist, mingled with reality and pain.

Then pain moves to the front, other three settle,

waiting – often in vain – for  their (last?) chance.

Trust falters, Anger loves, decibel voices, clear – uncomprehensible.

circling vultures, dark foreboding of the end act.

thread swinging just out of reach.

A leap into the abyss and the choice is made.

The fingers slapping thread and grasping for life.

Hang on! And the i becomes I becomes US once more.


Now That the Blackness has Gone

By Scott L Vannatter


Now that the blackness has gone, the swirling void

no longer empty, I am scared.

Blackness is certain, ability to know all exists there.

The pattern now falls into a chaotic maelstrom of events,

each separate but intertwined into an inconceivable lacework

of frantic bits.

I lose myself at times in the seeming senselessness of

it all, and I run, slowly at first, then at a screaming pace

until I collapse breathless and shake in confusion.

Choices abound in a never-ending tornado of life, is life.

I look back, over shoulder, seeing the past catch up, a

horse coming from behind to pass by sneering.

Changes made, outward then inward, slowly then quickly,

a new mold made by cracks and patches, pain stretching the shape

making mountains of molehills, molehills of mountains, a new me.

The change is scariest.  For in the changing I lose the me

of old, a dear friend –to the end- to the end of ends.  (Amen)

The Phoenix rises, but only after the burns have ceased.

I feel the searing, tearing, stabbing, jabbing, pain heats

to nova, exploding in heat of passing passion, confusing senses and

mind spots, thoughts of it all, of nothing at all.

A spot of light, shaft of brilliance, guidance, a hand-hold

to mind-sense.  To this I cling, sing, bring a roulette turn of life to the chaos.

This be the God of me, mine, and I see through my blindness

the specter of man-hope.  Grasping for the straw, the carousel ring,

I wiggle in my saddle, almost fall but held up by helpful hands, I

stack the blocks, one on the other, and the foundation will strong

remain.  I scared, I am, I will ever be – me – to the end (Amen).

However You Say It, Mean It…

Ok, first things first.  I want you to smile.  So, next time someone asks how your day has been, I want you to compare it to:

It makes my days seem so much better!


Ok, on with the post.

I walked by my bookshelf tonight and my eye spotted a book.  I knew I had the book; I have even read a good part of it, but it “called” to me.  Perhaps, it was because I have been thinking about relationships (and my lack thereof) or just thinking about how I am.  Regardless, (see Rich, I think I used it correctly?!) the book got in my head and wouldn’t leave until I decided to pull it from the shelf and base a post on it.

The book?  “10,000 ways to say i love you” by Gregory J.P. Godek.  What I decided was that I would browse some of the pages and pull out the 10-15 that I liked best.  I know I won’t read all 10,000, but a sampling will suffice.

For you men, let me know if you have ever said any of the ones I mention or if there is a very special way you have said it.

Ladies, let me know what is the most special way it has been said to you and what is the best way you can think of having it said to you.

If you would like, click on the pic to go to the Amazon page.

(drum roll)

1) Change one bad habit

2) Hide a pair of earrings in a box of chocolates (wow! A Forest Gump way!)

3) View romance as “Adult Play”

4) Leave written clues that lead him/her to a restaurant where you are waiting.

5) Believe in your partner.

6) Commit yourselves to having more fun together.

7) Roll up the rug and dance together at home.

8) Divorce. Divorce yourself from the many distractions that keep you from living your love.

9) Little things that have meaning to just the two of you.

10) Believe in magic.

11) Apologize after an argument.

12) Encourage your partner’s dreams.

13) Cherish the present (my part: consider her the present).

14) Add candles and massage oil.

15) Stop expecting your relationship (or yourself or your partner) to be perfect.

Well, I only made it through #350.  There were some that were a little more “risque” than I decided to put in here.  I am not a prude or ashamed, but those would be for another discussion entirely.  I looked back and realized that the list would tell you a bit about me or, at least, about the relationships I have had.  I liked all of those choices.  They stood out in the book for me.  If you do those 15 things (or any 10 of them), I imagine you would see an improvement in your relationship almost regardless of how it is now.  Those are just fabulous things.

So, how about it?  What do you have to say?  How do you say it?



What is this Thing called Love?

Here we go…me getting all personal and sharing things.  I meet with my stroke counselor about every 3-4 months for an hour.  Not much time, you say, but I try to bring notes and catch her up on everything and she sees what I think is important and asks the good questions back.  We have a good hour and I leave feeling a bit better about how I am handling this shift from well and busy working to home and busy writing.

For the last few months I have been thinking about my future and my personal life, especially, my love life.  Now, let’s define “love”:

Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment.[1] Love is also said to be a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection —”the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”.[2] Love may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals.[3]

In English, love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to interpersonal attraction (“I love my partner”). “Love” may refer specifically to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love, to the sexual love of eros, to the emotional closeness of familial love, to the platonic love that defines friendship,[4] or to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love,[5] or to a concept of love that encompasses all of those feelings. This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love

Now, this definition goes on and on about 10 times longer than what is written above.  But, I think that what is here will suffice for what I want to talk about.

Love is looked on as good or bad, depending on what type you are concentrating on.

The main point is that love covers a huge definition of terms, at least, for English speaking people.  As mentioned, love goes from a care or affection for food or a movie up to love of spouse and love of God.  We have created a world of “loves”, different things depending on your point of view.  Oh my!  what a difference your point of view can mean!

I think love must be done in context to mean anything.  The term, “I love eggs” is good for talking about food, but what happens if you are discussing babies or sex?  In the context of a video game it can mean a lot as “Easter Eggs” are something special hidden in the game and often very difficult to find.  And Easter Egg can lead us to a love of chocolate or a love of giving/receiving of cards.  It also can bring the mind back to a romantic love.  I was bad this Valentine’s Day.  I stayed home.  I had no reason to go anywhere and did not ask anyone to dinner because I didn’t want any of the ladies to look me at with the “This is Valentine’s Day!” stare on their face when I just wanted dinner.

Just thinking – I believe that’s me there!

I have a good friend who loves spending time talking and sharing with me, and I with her.  See? there’s that word again.  We get together about 1 time a week and go see a movie and/or eat out.  We do the checks separate and meet somewhere about 1/2 way for us.  The thing is I love doing this, but I draw the line there.  She knows that and we have agreed on it.  It works for us.

The epiphany that I hit last week or in the last few days was that I am not sure if I can love someone.  I don’t mean the “I care about you” or the concern you feel for family or close friends.  What I mean is that I am not sure I can do the romantic, forever type of love.  I didn’t grow up with really good models of that type of love.  Mom and Dad love each other; I can see that.  What I mean is that the last generation before us had a tendency to keep quiet about love and sex and all;  they built love to be something so high and special and all that…. well, at least, I didn’t understand it all, even when I got married.

When you start out without a good idea of how something works, the future of that thing is called into question with every bit of new knowledge.  I think my first wife was in the same boat with me and we just grew apart as we each came to understand what that type of love really meant.  I didn’t figure it out (still haven’t, all of it) mostly until just recently.  I read all of the posts and see the movies, read the books, watch the news, and think a lot.  What I come up with is not so much a definition of the term, but the fact that so many definitions are out there and I am looking at one of them with the others surrounding me.

I picture sexual love.  I can see that one.  It’s fairly straight-forward and our society deals with that one constantly.  I can see love of a friend.  Whether or not I like everything about a friend (and, I usually don’t) I can stay friends because we are not together 24/7, and I have a time to be away and recoup.  I can see and understand a love of routine and activities.  I love the things I do and have.  It is comfortable to have a routine established.

I love music and movies, and video games.  These are things that I am comfortable with and can deal with for hours without feeling any sense of loss.

But, the idea of caring about someone above all others, of wanting to be with them forever, of wanting them to stay with me by my side in “our” home;  that idea doesn’t sit will with me.  I enjoy my own time, my quiet time, my escape time.  I like that, when I get home from dealing with others, I will be by myself and can escape into other things.

Does that make me strange?

Does that make me a bad person?

Does that mean I can never love?

These questions do not bother me so much as intrigue me.  I don’t consider myself strange or bad.  I assume I can love, but it’s the type that I wonder about.

At present, I do not see me interested in spending my life with someone else in a “live-in” or marital relationship.  I can see me forming an intimate bond but it would have its limits.

Is that wrong?  I don’t see it as so.

It is limiting, but it seems to me that I am saying I am okay with those limits.  And, I believe I am.  The problem becomes that I am not used to this world.

Are there women out there who feel the same?

More importantly, are there women out there who feel the same and will deal well with a disabled person?  That seems to cut the numbers down significantly.

So, I am not sad, not disappointed, nor despondent.  More, I am curious and trying to look at this as a challenge and try to figure out how to meet these people that I feel certain exist.

What are your thoughts?  How do you feel about love?




Philosophy is all about being curious, asking basic questions. And it can be fun!

North Noir


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