From The Crates: Intimate Partner Violence

There is something heinous dwelling in a person when they can take the life of someone they were once in a romantic relationship with.

The fact these men, these recent murderous human beings, could take the lives of women they say they love is monstrous. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be glazed over or explained away.

It is deeper than a character flaw.

It it broader than being labeled abusive.

Women have the right to autonomy and self-preservation. We as women have the right to say, “This situation is toxic, harmful and detrimental to my well being and safety. I will not allow it to continue.”

It is beyond wanting a ring back. It is more than vouching for an evil person’s character when they know how to act in public. Every time this happens to a woman, there is a power that leaves the world. There is an essence, purely and beautifully female, that leaves the world. And for what? Only because a man could not trap, trick or own her? For that cause she must perish? And by his hand?

When will we as women matter?

When will our safety matter?

When will our cries, bruises and worries matter?

WHEN WILL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERPETRATED AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN MATTER?

It is beyond wanting a ring back and cannot be cheapened to that! The fact there are men and women that adhere to this logic have no respect or acknowledgement of their own power, autonomy or self-determination!

We must value women, Black women especially, when they say abuse is happening to them. We must not continue the lie that is toxic and hyper masculinity. It is killing us. They are killing us!

How long will blood be the demand for those whom cannot fathom they are not the chosen? Yet, in not being chosen, their maleness doesn’t die. Perhaps these perpetrators, these man-cloaked animals, will remember a “No,” will not kill you, nor define your worth as a man.

Only you as your own man will. The power of that determination solely marked and forged by your character. Perhaps it is a show of the fallen world where the one whom is to protect, love and shelter, in his twisted form, only kills steals and destroys.

-(c)JBHarris, 2018

For My Daughters-Lesson 5: Struggle Love Is Not Love

 

Babygirls-

I want to you to know one crucial thing:

You cannot make someone love you. 

Here’s another one for free:

You should not have to make someone love you. 

 

If I can have you understand just how precious you are, and how amazing you will become–I think I will have done half of my job as your mother. Knowing these two irrefutable things about yourself as women–as Black women–this will allow you to be dynamic. Also, rendering you immune to the thirst to be chose!

There is this concept a friend of mine came up with. Honestly, she may not have invented the term, but for the case, I’ll say she did. She called it: struggle love.

What is this, you  ask?

This is the type of love that is toxic, dear ones. It is this promoting of the idea if you ‘just hang in there’ it’ll be better–when there is no reasonable hope of such! Now, don’t get me wrong:  every relationship has bad patches! Every relationship has moments (moments!) where you don’t like or can’t stand each other. In those temporal moments, you may have the choice to ride out the bad, knowing, seeing where the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not dark all the time! But dark times should not be ongoing! Those moments should be few and far between.

There were men that I chased, hoping they would see how beautiful and capable I was. There were relationships that I stayed in far too long, hoping it would get better. But better never came. See, what people don’t tell you is that ‘struggle love’ takes from you. It saps your youth, strength and focus. It takes or sabotages opportunities! This is what I heard from a man that  tried to keep, that it took over three years to leave:

“I don’t want you to go out of town for school, because I would miss you so much.”

And I listened. The thing behind that? He didn’t want me to be far from him, because he was insecure. And sometimes insecurity in the wrong man leads to controlling behaviors. Or to be clingy and manipulative.

Another man I tried to date wanted to change who I was. Hated how smart I was, that I kept myself up, and that I was ambitious. It was odd:  the same thing that drew him to me, was the very thing that made him hate me.

Struggle love props up this idea of the happily ever after at all cost! It promotes this idea that everything that makes you valuable as a woman is wrapped in being with man! While doing whatever it takes to keep him! It involves ignoring or tolerating outrageous, abusive behavior because ‘he’s my man, and you just don’t understand.’ No!

If you have any inkling; any type of ‘something told me’, any funny feeling? Believe it. This is the Almighty protecting you, warning you, from something that can hurt or trap you. The thing is, my loves, a hurt is something you can be be mended or healed from. A trap? That takes a while to get out of, and may leave scars or residue. With that residue, along with the hurt? This may make you susceptible to evil, manipulative people.

My dearest ones, my heartbeat in two places, I want better for this for you! I want you to remember you are a Queen. You are entitled to be both beautiful and ambitious. You are allowed to manifest your own destiny! You have the right to tell a man ‘no’! And that is a complete sentence! You are allowed to possess all pieces that make you formidable and feminine. Change for no one. Change for no man. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t fix something, or everything! You are entitled to leave any relationship when you believe that you had done all you can. It does not make you less than a woman to be single or walk away from what no longer suits you! Own your power and person, my loves.

You have the right to have healthy, lasting love. You do not, will not, have to give your body to boy, a man (or another woman) not be valid, valued or loved. Love is not a struggle. It is given. That which can be given, and given freely, is never a struggle.

I love you beyond the stars, to the moon and back.

Always,

Mommy

 

 

For My Daughters-Lesson 2: Value

Dearest Ones:

The world outside my door will confront you on all sides. It will try and tell you what you are not, what you will never possess, and need to attain to be whole. What I want you to know, what I need you to remember, is your personal value. I want you to remember that value–is priceless.

I never want you to sell yourself short. I never want you to think your value–how you see your own self–should be or is determined on something as ordinary as how you look. Or what you wear. I want you to never fear what people think of you, or have your worth be tied to what people think!

I want you, my dearest hearts, to remember worth and value are internal work. They come from, and spring up from what you  know of yourself; the things you know of yourself! You have been created for success, beauty, travel and ambition! I want you to embrace all that life has for you. Regardless of what the  world thinks:  they don’t matter!

The world outside my door is fickle, forgetting and feral in matters of the evaluating of what is feminine, girl and woman. You cannot depend of the opinion of the collective, any collective to determine who you are. Or what you must do! As young women of your mother’s blood and ilk, I want you to remember who you are.

I want you to discover the things about you which are different and unique.

I want you to be steady in the things which make you distinct. Your interests be determined by your own counsel and desires. I want you both to be confident in what makes you–you.

There are things about this life which desire to uproot and change fundamental things about you. As you mother, I will give you a key to withstand these onslaughts when they come. The way these sling and arrows of outrageous fortune will not win is when you know who you are–and refuse to change. You resist transforming when people are uncomfortable.

My dearest ones, I know who you are. So you must never forget.

 

Love,

Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daddy Lessons #2- Dating

 

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

This is the simplest, boldest piece of advice I have every gotten in regards to dating and dealing with men to date. My father had the habit of telling me this type of advice on a regular basis even when I was still considering boys as gross. However, the truth of this statement? Unparalleled. Armed with this secret confidence, I began to be a constant observer of male behavior.

I began to watch how he and my mother interacted. I began to watch how he treated her, and how she responded in kind. I watched how he did things for her, just because he wanted to. Or because they needed to be done! He got her flowers because he wanted her to have them! Not  because he had done something wrong.

My father loved my mother. Completely. It wasn’t until he died, and I really began dating, that I saw how completely he loved her. That kind of love, I know now, is rare. And worked for. The cooler thing is he liked my mother, as well as loved her. They still went out and did things together. They made time to talk and laugh and be a couple–independent of the three of us.

I took their marriage, their relationship, as a roux–the bare minimum that I would accept as a partner. I expected to be treated well. I expected to be listened to and respected. I expected to be valued. When I ran across a young man that couldn’t or wouldn’t? I ended the relationship.

Now, have I always gotten that formula right? Nope, not at all. I chased me that I thought like me, and it came to naught. I stayed in crazy situations longer than I should, because I gave people time to change. Hell, I stayed with my ex-husband waaaaay longer than I should have because I knew (or thought) if I was a little more patient he would change. This has been my Achilles heel:  I love too hard. I give too much. And I sometimes am way too patient in anticipating a human being change. But perhaps that is the maturity in my father’s statement; I waited to see if like would surface, resurface, or how often it would surface.

On the other hand, I have been on the reciprocating end of affections of young men that I, too, was crazy about. This young men that decided to call me just to tell me ‘Good Morning.’  Who opened doors for me. That got me the flowers. Gave me money to ‘just have’. Even two of them decided they could not live without me and decided to make me a wife.

This quote gave me the awareness of what being treated well is. This portion of wisdom allowed me call crazy what it is. It allowed me to know when relationships should begin or end. It allowed me become cognizant of my time. To value my body. My skills. My talents. It allowed me to recognize what I bring to any situation. It allowed and allows me to know if those attributes are not appreciated, I don’t have to ask for permission to leave. I can just go.

The best thing my Daddy ever gave me was a sense of self. From that sense, he gave his oldest daughter to knowledge that I was special. If any man didn’t see me as that, or able to love me past the pretty, I didn’t need him.