Mainstream TV has popularised dysfunctional relationships under the guise of passion. The more intense the connection, the more insanely jealous you become, the more passionate the relationship, the deeper the love. This is the flawed premise upon which all our relationship ideals are based. The proverbial bad-boy is the one we want, at any age. Always, to our detriment.
I am no stranger to bad relationship choices. I’ve experienced them all – from the misogynist, to the chauvinist, to the narcissist to the down-right dirty…I’ve had them all. I kept choosing the men who needed saving in the hope that I would be the chosen one, the one who saved them and cured them. I was the poster girl for co-dependency. It took me years of suffering to finally take a long, hard look in the mirror and call it what it was – I was the one in pain. I was the one who needed saving and healing. When I made that distinction, I was able to attract different relationships into my life. I had to rediscover the meaning of love. I had to unlearn all my school-girl fantasies about a knight in shining armour, which later changed to a tattooed-biker, which later changed to a conscious man, which later changed to just an ordinary-bloody-normal-emotionally-available man. This evolution of mindset came as a result of deep suffering. It was through my suffering that I eventually started looking at things differently. When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that is when you begin to ask the hard questions. I realised only after starting my self-love journey that pain is not love. That chaos is not a natural element of relationships and that I didn’t have to put up with abuse just to have a man love me. I had to learn how to love and accept myself – a process that never ends. But small steps result in massive progress. I learnt how to put my needs first, to ask for what I want and to never accept any level of disrespect. I quickly learnt how to identify bad habits and put a stop to them and could assess when someone was good for my soul – or not. Previously I ignored the warning signs and remained silent. But being #DoneWithSilence, also means calling myself out on my bullshit. Self-awareness is so important when you want to change your life. It involves disruptive thinking – out of the ordinary ways of behaving, and all in an effort to be better and healthier.
For the next few months, I will be sharing a series of posts centred around an amazing campaign, which I’ve become a part of, as an Influencer. Choma (a South African-ism meaning ‘friend’), a project of HIVSA NPO is focused on empowering young women. Their recent campaign, #DoneWithSilence, is an inspiring initiative which aims to break down silence and give women (and men) the courage to be able to liberate themselves. My role in the campaign, as a self-proclaimed truth-teller, is to share my story candidly, in the hope that others follow-suit. I hope to begin the conversations that truly matter.