There are things we decide at a young age-and there are things we decide when we are a bit older.
As soon as I could walk on my feet I decided I would also walk on my hands, jump over things taller than me, and flip backwards.When I was fourteen I decided I would be a fitness instructor after doing hours of Jane Fonda videos and making up my own routines.
I also decided I would not be poor, and I would be educated contrary to the thought that we were to build riches in heaven and not on earth and bible knowledge is better than secular education. I would read books from other cultures study all religions-travel to distant places and buy frivolous extravagant things worldly people liked.
Appearance was important and why not? Why not treat yourself with love and pampering? My grandmother showed me this as she applied tinctures of vitamin e to prevent wrinkles and spent hours under the hair dryer with perfectly rolled hair curlers, exact right setting lotion topping everything off with her trademark Chanel pink lipstick I would secretly try on in the bathroom.
At all costs I knew I must express my soul-all I ever wanted was time to MOVE-dance flip-run-walk- bike enjoy the sun the moon. No matter what I did in life-this was important.
I would eat ice cream for breakfast or dinner-raw cookie batter dough, forgo the use a fork at dinner if I so felt. I would take days off work spontaneously while working hard at whatever I did. I would have a secret stash of money for a rainy day. I would change careers as I saw fit perhaps having two or three in a lifetime. I would love with an open heart and move on from a relationship if it no longer served a purpose.
I would only be with men that treated me well-and if a man ever hit me-I would leave his sorry ass right after I hit him back.
And here is where the day dream fairy tale of when I grow up-things we decide takes a rewind. Hold on- I didn’t write that part-how did I get here?
This is the part that at age ten and twelve and thirteen and twenty you don’t quite get. Fathers and brothers and friends tell you: If a man ever hits you leave.
No one ever tells you that…
YOU will not want to leave
you WILL not want to leave
you will NOT want to leave
That you will love him so much and the mere thought of NOT being with him will HURT so- so soooooooo much more than the feeling of fist on flesh. That it is easier to accept bad behavior and pretend it didn’t happen. That breaking patterns is a lot harder than it looks.
That a man just doesn’t come out and hit you-it starts with falling in love and tender kisses. Beautiful words and wishes. Dreams together and tender moments. The seeping in of other elements outside of healthy love is so slow you won’t even notice. The other elements are out-shined by the good stuff. Controlling behavior and gifts. Slammed fists and passionate sex .Bodies thrown against walls in heightened moments and then apologies. Arms grabbed too tight and apologies. And then no apologies. And then you deserved it. Walking on egg shells to avoid tempers. Trying so hard to please but never enough. And before you know it his hands are around your throat and his grip is so tight you can’t breathe- you will worry that he will go to jail as your eyes roll back and you visualize your funeral.
And you will worry that others won’t remember his kindness his generosity or speak of what a great man he is. And as you come back for air and look into his eyes past the rage and the anger that has nothing to do with you but instead a lifetime of unexpressed emotions-you will still only see the glimpse of the man you fell in love with and not see the ball of anger taking over his soul.
You will pray for his jealousy to go away. The jealousy you use to think was cute that meant he loved you even though it was wrapped with double standards. It’s ok for him to come and go as he pleases-to have an indiscretion here or there but if he is suspicious of you cheating he will shake it and beat it out of you until you admit your whore like ways. And still you will look at him and only see the man you fell in love with and think that he will see you for the woman you are. You will look past the anger he has at the world, the anger he has for his mother for every woman who has ever done him wrong and you will think you can change him.
Even as his fist slaps you across the face feeling like a numbing brick wall just hit you-neck twisting right
knocking you to your knees in a daze of did that really happen whose life is this-sparkles of light streaming across the room dancing with the echo of the
and he says go ahead and call the police-
you will kiss the tears falling down his eyes telling him you forgive him while you will ice your swollen face and tell him its okay-its okay. You will imagine and pray that somehow this incident will transform you both and make your love stronger.
You will think of the little girl who said : if a man ever hits me I will hit him back and leave. You will tell her you are sorry and perhaps she didn’t quite understand what it was like to love a man- unconditionally with your whole heart body and soul and that true love can conquer demons if you shine enough love.
You will swallow your tears while kissing his and tell yourself stories of forgiveness and love can conquer all and turn the other cheek and it was just an isolated incident. You will hope with time that you will forget what happened.
You will watch other women in situations with seeds of other elements seeping in. You will tell your little sisters that they are not responsible for a mans unexpressed emotions. To stand up for double standards and not be afraid to ask for help. That true love allows it does not consume- it allows the other to grow with time, distance, and even separation -because wounded souls can not love romantically when they are wounded.They will aways be guarded and led by fear not allowing love to flow through.They can not be open to vulnerability and trust the way love needs to flourish.You will tell your little sisters that it is not your job to HEAL a wounded soul that hurts others through words,fists, actions.
You will tell them to take care of their own souls.
You will tell them you are here for them.
You will teach your son how to treat women and how to express emotions in a healthy way transforming seeds of anger.
You will decide that if a man ever hits you-you will tell others your story because there are things you decide at a young age and things you decide when you are a little bit older…..