I’m pretty sure that everyone over the age of 18 carries around some sort of baggage (even younger in some cases). Baggage from previous life experiences or relationships, whether they be professional, personal, romantic or spiritual. After your life experience or your encounter with the baggage-forming agent, what happens? Does that experience or relationship alter the rest of your life?
I began thinking about my past life experiences. There have been many unfortunate situations that I’ve just swept under the rug and told myself, “well it happened and it’s over. No sense crying over spilled milk.” Because of that escapist mentality, I’ve never really dealt with some tough issues from my past. Now that I’m older, I wonder how those experiences have subconsciously affected my daily life and or relationships.
One situation in particular comes to mind. In my late teens/early college years, I met and started dating this not so young fellow (as I’d later find out) named Jo. Jo was a tall, well-dressed, well-spoken man who struggled with his own demons. He was a wee bit possessive, a wee bit controlling and every bit out of control himself. (I’d also later find out that he suffered from Bi-Polar Disorder.)
Jo liked for me to be under him at all times. If we were in his apartment, he’d want me to be in the same room, on the same couch and preferably on the same cushion. His moods were ever changing and as unpredictable as his next get rich quick scheme. His temper was just the icing on his cake of volatility.
On this particular Saturday night, I was completely over sitting in the house and staring at him, so I made up an excuse so I could go to a graduation party with one of my friends. Upon my return, all hell broke loose.
As soon as I walked in the door he started asking me what n*** had I just been with, although he clearly saw my home-girl drop me off. He told me not to bother coming back inside because he had already thrown all of my belongings, including my brand new laptop, in the dumpster outside. I believed him because he’d thrown my stuff out before. (Another story for another day).
I was accustomed to his explosive nature, but this night, for whatever reason, I was in no mood for it. His accusations and his slew of insults infuriated me. I lost it. I began tearing through the house looking for my laptop, car keys, clothes and all the other things that he said he’d thrown away. I found all my belongings hidden in a corner behind his bed. I threw my laptop bag over my shoulder, found my keys and attempted to make my way to the front door.
As I attempted to leave he pinned me behind the front door and started slamming my face into the wall telling me that I could never leave. He told me if I wanted to get out I’d have to get passed him. I managed to get from behind the door but every time I attempted to squeeze passed him and go out, he’d slam my body between the door and the door-frame.
I managed to make it outside his apartment, with him chasing behind me, still cursing, screaming and fussing. From that point it was all a blur. I remember him grabbing me and me falling backwards. I’m not sure if I was knocked out after I hit my head on the extinguisher or on the concrete floor, but all I remember is feeling him dragging me back into his apartment and yelling at me to wake up. I actually remember being afraid NOT to wake up because I didn’t want to make him any more upset.
When I finally woke up, he was standing over me with fire in his eyes. Still as upset and as enraged as before. He brought me a glass of water and an Advil and demanded that take the medicine. The “Advil” was a small, white, circular pill with writing on it; clearly not Advil. After what seemed like an eternity of me fighting not to take the “Advil,” I took the pill, which ended up being Codeine, and the glass of water.
The rest of the night was a blur until I woke up the next morning to him cooking me breakfast and offering to take me shopping.
I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anyone about this situation in depth, or considered how 4 years of this kind of abuse has affected my life. It’s been almost ten years since Jo has been in my life and I don’t THINK I’m still affected by our relationship. I’m sure I was at one point but I never let myself sit and think about it long enough to dissect the issue in its entirety.
So, where does that baggage go? Does it drop off little by little as the years roll by? I feel like I’ve grown from such life experiences and while I know I don’t look at the world through rose colored lenses, I also don’t think of myself as a negative, jaded or bitter woman.
Usually, I pride myself on my transparency but for some reason this post has me feeling a certain way…