Sunday, April 13, 2008

Walk Into Walls

I once posed as a battered woman for a newspaper article on domestic abuse. I could do fear and self-loathing so well that nobody even recognized me in the photo. There was a big gap between the happy girl I seemed to be and my secret life. A lot of people have it; artists learn to manipulate it and live there so long that they don't know anything else. Because what we believe to be true of ourselves is so often not. Know a lot of women who say they wouldn't stay around if a man hit them and did and do and find themselves on the end of a fist, hiding bruises, walking into walls. My grandmother was one of these women and her favorite books were romance novels, those gauzy unfoldings of love and sorrow wrapped up in a happy ending.

My friend Melissa used to have a theory that married couples lost their sight as they got older so they could see each other as they were when they were young, that they never saw the reality of time's ravages. I never ever bought this line. But a black eye can change your perspective. Some internal bleeding followed by a honeymoon period where there's nothing but love. I offer you this; I have often been hit, but more by myself than anyone else, and I'm as clever as any garden variety abuser who follows the cardinal rule -- never where you can see it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A l lot of films I've done are essentially about women who are finding their voice, women who don't know themselves well." Meg Ryan

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Ruby In Paradise

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday! Thanks for all the great comments on the post about the girl in Target. I'm sure that everyone who commented about worrying about saying things to their children are excellent parents. I'm just sad about the culture that continues to make women hate their bodies, whatever size and shape. Both the mother and daughter are victims of this bullshit. Like my dear Miss Jodi said, Best to forget about it and share a bottle of wine! Life is short -- enjoy/flaunt/eat.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes words can do more damage than a fist, especially over time. And these are often the wounds that no one will ever see. Including the victim. I agree with you that the victim can often inflict more abuse upon themself than the abuser ever could. My question is this, Did the victim have the emotional self mutilation tendency before she was abused by another, or was the propensity for self abuse always there, lying beneath the surface?

Phoenix Rising

the walking man said...

"But a black eye can often change your perspective."

Aye lassie, that is too true. I would, if it were possible, for all of the abused of the world to become as physically large as I am and emotionally enraged as I do at times. While neither is possible I found that the best defense of the abused is stand, never quit living and realize when it is time to walk away body, soul and, spirit. Some fights are better left to the accumulation of karm.



Anonymous said...

I can't help but be autobiographical in everything I do.--Madonna

Anonymous said...

Researchers have found that physical scientists are less likely to believe in God than social scientists, that traditional religious beliefs make people more likely to forgive, and that temporary, self-absorbed sadness makes people spend money extravagantly.--Findings

Charles Gramlich said...

Over the years, the things that have lingered longest with me have been words. I think I'm lucky in that, though. As bad as it was, adding the physical would have been so much more to bear.

Anonymous said...

To Charles Gramlich,
I think that the emotional is the hardest to bear. Like you said, the words lingered the longest with you. One of Michelle's recent posts talked about making yourself small and finding a place to hide. That is what the 'words' can do. They eat away at the heart, body, and soul. This causes the need to make yourself small and want to hide in the darkness. To conceal yourself among the shadows while trying to be invisible. The physical usually heals. That is not to say that with the physical harm, emotional harm does not follow. However, the words, the emotional damage, is the hardest to recover from. And if you're lucky enough to rise from the shadows and walk in the light again you may, perhaps, find yourself looking for the shadows, those small dark places to conceal yourself when you feel there is the threat of the words.

Phoenix Rising

Anonymous said...

We take graffiti seriously at Oakland University. That's why we're shutting down.--Sam Lucido

Lana Gramlich said...

I was one of those people who wasn't going to be abused, too. After 10 years I realized that I'd taken a spoonful of his shit on me every day & now I was buried in it up to my neck. I was surprised at how easy it turned out to be to leave him & when I cried for those 45 minutes it was over the loss of 10 years, not him. After that the line of what was acceptable/not acceptable was drawn in the sand of my life & woe be to those who crossed it.
Life has been a true blessing ever since. Particularly since Charles & I got together. Better late than never. :)