I made coleslaw tonight, which brings me to Sweet Annie… She was my Grandma. I probably take after her more than just about anyone else in my family. She’s who gave me my love of cooking, which is an art, people. I made my coleslaw in a food processor which I think she’d probably disapprove of. I was teaching Tuggy to do it… he’s about the age I was when she taught me. I remember her telling me that there are no short cuts, and you have to be the best at whatever you present. Sweet Annie is why- to this day – I travel bike runs with play it up powder, argon oil and a brush. And eyeliner, you just need it, girls! A healthy desire to present your best self to the world is a good thing.
Until it’s not, of course. When your image is more important than your self-worth, when you have to pretend… when you would rather walk on glass than continue to do whatever it is you’re doing…. Maybe it’s gone too far. I really believe that shame is the tie that binds and chokes us. Back in the day, I never wanted anyone to know that I was experiencing abuse because I was sure they’d think less of me. You know, because I’d said…Ooh, ooh, pick me!! Most people experience abusive relationships between the ages of 18 and 24… I’m here to tell you, you are still just young and dumb then. Sometimes, you’re just trapped. You can’t see anyway out so you just keep on keeping on. If God doesn’t open a door, there is a window somewhere with your name on it. You never, ever have to stay.
This is not exclusively a woman’s problem. Yes, more women are victimized than men… 1 in 3, vs 1 in 4… but men tend to have extra shame about being abused by their partner, so that may be underreported. Your common sense is telling you why that is, so I’m not going to insult your intelligence. Are you aware that there are 3800 animal shelters in the US? There’s 1500 dv shelters…next to none accept men or teenaged boys. I’ve got nothing against the animal kingdom (unless it’s in the rodent family) but stop asking why people stay. Even if your family is willing to help, that might not be a safe place to go…. You know what’s safe for you, in your situation. Just…. always be looking for an escape route.
If your loved one isn’t safe at home, stop being mad at them. They need your support, not your condemnation. Not very long ago, I watched someone very near and dear to me being horribly verbally and financially abused. I had little doubt that it would eventually escalate to physical violence, it wouldn’t surprise me if I just didn’t know about it. I wanted to shake her. I wanted to say what my mother said to me…. “Don’t you know how much I love you?? How can you let this go on??” Unlike my mom, who meant well… I knew that I couldn’t dig in my heels. I had to be a soft place to fall, I couldn’t be the one to deny her one iota of her power. Kid… never in my life have I been so goddamned powerless or so very grateful at an outcome. Whatever you’re going through, survive by any means necessary. I want you to live long enough to tell your mother you love her, too.