I used to cry myself to sleep, wanting to find my soul a home, feeling like a caged bird singing for things unknown. This feeling of disconsolation was essentially me for years – breathing just a little and calling it a life. I was a victim of circumstance and bad decisions which I felt was my penance for the choices I consciously made. Similarly, countless women I know have become victims – silent victims of love gone wrong who suffer endlessly at the hands of the men they choose to be with. Never contemplating a life other than what they live, because of fear that debilitates them or obligation because of children or simply because of what they perceive as love. Worse than staying is the choice of remaining silent for fear of the aspersions that would face them should they choose to leave.
I have chosen to live on the other side of Victim. There has been solace in breaking my silence. I have developed a strength of spirit when I shared my truth. A truth which resonated so deeply within so many women whose affirmations became empowering to me, making me continue to tell my story authentically – as ugly and real as life tends to be – irrespective of whatever criticism or judgment I may encounter. It is a tragedy that even in spite of affirming me, the very same women could not speak their own truth, while commending me for verbalising mine. It is a paradox that I don’t understand.
As women of this generation, we have the freedom and choice to empower ourselves. We are solely responsible for the protection of our hearts and emotional wellbeing. In all our multifaceted layers of beauty and strength, both internal and external, we need to know that we are worthy of love in its purest form. Having experienced the hurt and the pain associated with “love”, I now know for sure what love is not. Love is not pain. Love does not break you down. Love does not criticise. Love is not fear. Love is not silence. Love does not lie, cheat or resort to emotional or physical violence. Love is not self-serving. Love is not unsure.
To the women who doubt your worth, know this. Most of us are born with an inherent strength that far surpasses even our own expectation or assumptions. We are instinctively nurturing and sacrifice ourselves for the good of everyone we love, all the while forgetting that we need to have in order to give. We need to be fulfilled and content and happy and at peace in order to give off the love we often give so generously and get nothing in return. Become selfish. Make yourselves a priority and know that you are phenomenal.
To every woman living with a broken heart, and to my friend in particular, KNOW YOUR WORTH. You are deserving of the kind of love that involves no pain. Make the changes necessary to live authentically and allow yourself the life you dreamt of having. Do not settle for second best, you are all worth more than that.
To quote from my favourite poet, Maya Angelou:
“…Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
…You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise“.