They say you should always pack light when travelling to a foreign destination, a golden rule at least twenty-seven percent of us forget to acknowledge, so when we find ourselves having to re-pack an entire suitcase in front of everyone at the check-in counter, we can't help but wonder why. All that duty free shopping and shoes made by real Italians, trinkets, souvenirs and one-of-a-kind couture; could that be the case? It's almost as if we completely disregard the true purpose of being abroad anyway, and while no shopping spree should ever be done in vain, the heavy penalty fees of excess baggage can easily bring about a serious case of buyer's remorse.
As I sat in the transit lounge waiting for my flight to arrive I thought about the first time I made my departure from the Virgin Islands. I was only sixteen with absolutely everything sweet about me. His name was Gavin, a smooth operator with dangerous baby blues and a wicked smile. Like most good Catholic girls, I had an affinity for bad boys with a dark past and a hot ride. After numerous dates and several flirtatious encounters, I felt as though I was ready to go "all the way". There was something undiscovered and genuine about the way he made me feel, and even though I was petrified of losing my virginity to someone I barely knew, I was convinced that we were on our way to destination relationship.
It was a night of many firsts...the first time I had been inside the Vic Junction; the first time I got wasted on a sparkling substance called "champagne", a liquid that I'd later discover to be a knock-off of the original, and the first time I had ever laid my heart on the line for someone else. Although my hormones were raging full speed ahead, my heart was caught somewhere between the sky and a vulnerable state of uncertainty. I remember sitting there wondering if it was too late to turn back, but Gavin was one step ahead of me. Noticing my discomfort he put his best moves on me and said all the things a girl needs to hear on her first time. For a brief moment, his bad boy persona melted away and I finally caught a glimpse of the perfect gentleman that I had always dreamed of. I had no idea that I was about to fuck a professional man-ho.
After he was done, I got up slowly and started getting dressed. I had already been insecure about my body having lived an overweight existence for most of my childhood but he made me feel so sexy and desirable. As I waited for some kind of tender aftermath to follow, he smiled and reassuringly kissed me on the forehead, "Don't forget to close the curtains on your way out." And that was that. He rolled over, turned the light off and went to bed. Are you fucking serious? How could this be? Was I being punished for being a puta? Was this how I'd remember my first time for the rest of my life? Stunned by his apathy combined with my general lack of experience in this situation, I did as he requested and left.
Whether or not I lived up to his sex-pectations, nothing can take away the permanent damage that this little encounter had left on my psyche. It was clear to me that this would be the first piece of emotional baggage I would have to carry around for the rest of my life. Was I really a lousy lay or was Gavin just a complete and utter jackass? The thought was too heavy for me to handle at such a young age but I knew at that moment I had just been exposed to the darker side of human nature. Even though I allowed myself to fall in love over and over again out of fear of becoming jaded, I was hesitant to trust anyone again not to mention the looming insecurity of being physically inadequate.
In my mind, Gavin had died a slow and painful death but the memory of that night would haunt me forever, costing me several relationships along the way. When the load becomes too heavy to handle, we should see it as a sign to get help. There is nothing more unattractive than someone who is uncomfortable in their own skin. Fortunately, with the help of a little therapy, I managed to unpack some of the extra weight into practical overhead compartments. The truth is that no-one wants to deal with someone else's emotional baggage and my guess is it's probably because they are too busy trying to deal with their own.
When it comes to relationships, I couldn't help but wonder, is it better to pack light or pay the heavy price for all that unnecessary carry-on?