“Get to know your body. Your mind. Your soul.” This was the message on my tea bag this morning, tea that I made as I was sitting down to write this blog, how fitting.
I was asked to write a blog for Valentine’s Day. It could be about relationships, life after abuse, what is love- the choice was mine. I toiled over this for days, trying to come up with an idea to get me going and along came the tea bag. It was exactly what I had been thinking about. You can’t find love until you fully know who you are, especially if you are regaining your own power after having been in an abusive relationship.
Each day we are bombarded with messages about love. Messages that tell us that we can’t live without it. That we must all have it -or there is something wrong with us. That love is beautiful and if you are beautiful -or smell better, or have great hair, or drive a certain car- you are then worthy of love. We are told by the media, politicians and others what constitutes love. And women, all too frequently, suffer abuse from the very person that professed that they loved/love them more than anything. Talk about mixed messages from all angles.
I am not an expert on love and I absolutely refuse to offer up any love advice! What I do know is that abuse is not love. Being belittled, berated, threatened, harassed, raped, beaten and denied one’s own voice, opinion and human rights is not love.
For those women, who are considering a relationship after having ended a violent one, I urge you to take your time. The messages we hear are wrong – we can live, and often live very well, without being in a relationship. Take some time to find out who you are, get comfortable in your own skin and then you will be able to better seek out a new mate or partner. I’m reminded of a very cheesy, Julia Robert’s movie “The Runaway Bride”. Towards the end of the movie, she has an “aha moment” – she realizes she doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes. In all her previous relationships she just always ate her eggs prepared in the manner that her partner liked and declared they too were her favorite. How many times have we women done the same exact thing?
If you are in a violent relationship, seek out information on how to seek safety in your life www.haven-oakland.org . If you are in a relationship that is unfulfilling -not eating eggs the way you like them- then look inward and reflect on your own personal needs and wants. If you aren’t in a relationship, spend Valentine’s Day celebrating you! Don’t let a commercialized holiday determine your fate or your happiness. Celebrate your opportunity to have your own voice, thoughts, opinions and future. Eat your eggs exactly as you wish or skip them all together!