Abuse

5 LOVE LESSONS THAT CAN GUIDE YOU 5 YEARS AHEAD

Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again.  Don’t settle. – Mark & Angel


1. “Relationships must be chosen wisely.  Don’t rush love.  Wait until you truly find it”: – Take it one step at a time. Take time to reflect too. Sometimes in the frenzy of the moment you do not hear everything that was said or done. It is only when you are alone, that you can put the pieces together. Look out for patterns and red flags. Don’t feel afraid to walk away if don’t like what you’re sensing. Our instincts often never lie. Don’t let your emotions overpower you and don’t deny them either. Only let your head be clear. If he is not your idle man or if he’s beginning to show traits that make you feel the slightest uneasy. Go no further. Wait. There is true love for everyone, sometimes you have to wait longer to find yours.

2. “Don’t let loneliness drive you back into the arms of someone you know you don’t belong with”: – You’ve been with someone before and you know he is all wrong, wrong for you, wrong for your peace of mind, wrong for your life, yet you go back because you need someone. I’ve heard a few whining in that direction, ‘I don’t have anyone else and I need someone…’ If that someone isn’t meant for you, there is no way it is going to get better, only worse. Save yourself from trouble, save your precious time and save your precious heart from ache that can wreck it beyond repair.

3. “Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely”: – When you are ready for love, you will know. It means you have resolve all your past conflicts, and have let go of past weights of pain, hurt, regrets and are now whole. True harmony with oneself is a platform of strength. Such inner peace can only attract to you equal peace and wholeness. There is not saying you should deny being sometimes lonely, just don’t make that your criteria for getting hooked. Wait till you are ready. A chinese proverb says, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Same goes for finding true love, when you seek love from a place of consciousness instead of hypnotizing yourself with self-made assumptions, you attract to yourself exactly the right man for you.

4. “Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed.  If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse”: — if your relationship is going down hill for the umpteen time stop trying to rescue it by pulling it back uphill with your teeth. Let it go and get a grip of yourself before you do something to hurt yourself badly. Some relationships can’t be helped. But you can be, so save yourself and take care of yourself. Care for your physical body, feed your mind with affirmations about yourself. Don’t stop loving the things that make you special. Get your groove back.

5. “Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something better.  Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over again with a smile on your face and passion in your heart”: – Do yourself a favor and accept that every ending is a new beginning. For every door that closes, somewhere God opens a window. Never give up on life. Never give up on you. Never give up on love. That you’ve had it bad doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist for you. You have to have faith in the impossible and that can only begin to unfold for you the moment you begin to tell yourself it is okay to start over. Life is about endings and beginnings. That is what makes it so exciting. To know that somewhere out there, there is someone who is going to be madly in love with you for you.


P.S. All quotes by Mark & Angel.

Love lessons

Bless The Past & Say Hello to Your Future

You have to make peace with your past in order to keep your present and future from becoming hopeless battles. – Mark & Angel


I spent some quality time with my mum today. Talking about the challenges I’ve had in the work environment and sharing the victimizing experiences I’d had with former work colleagues over the years. I found myself laughing as I recounted the bizarre stories, and quietly but briefly, relived a few of the demeaning and humiliating moments.

I felt sweet gratitude wash over me as I shared these incidences because somehow it was hard to believe that I actually did survive them. I felt immensely thankful that they would now forever remain in my past.

I also felt hopeful about the future, knowing that the lessons I’ve learnt can only bring me good and gracious rewards. Just hearing myself laugh as I related these stories of meanness gave me a sense of contentment and tranquility that meant I was at peace with that part of my past.

Another thing that was so comforting during the conversation with my mum was hearing her share about her own sordid experiences in the work place. Many years ago as a young military corporal, and practicing Dental nurse, she had the devil for a boss.

She told me about the unrelenting sexual harassment and unwarranted punishments she had to endure and eventually, foregoing a promising career was the only way to end the continuing coercion.

Years later, she would later to be told by friends and former colleagues, about how the said officer was paid back in his own coin and severely too by time and chance. At the time, she had regained back her profession, and had had many more promising opportunities, some of which she voluntarily relinquished because she wanted to spend more time with us her children.

Today I’m reminded again, that life itself has got its own memory bank where it stores our dos and don’ts and then processes our wages alike. In due time it will give to each of us a corresponding feedback. Everyone in his own coin.

In this regard, I am reminded to consider my present moments as blessings, no matter how they turns out, because I know one day they would be my past. I am reminded also to bless the hardest and toughest of memories and to never hold on to pain, rather release them completely.

My mum also shared about another very disturbing encounter of victimization which she suffered from the hands of two female instructors at the Army Training School in Ojo cantonment, Lagos; in the 1970s. I wasn’t born at the time.

They were both her junior in age but she never spoke back in defense nor did she act rudely in any way. She was the only girl in her class, and for some reason, these instructors decided that they would make her life a living hell. In an attempt to explain how cruel they were, mum said that the only thing that kept her going was because she was bent on becoming a dental nurse by all means. Otherwise under normal circumstances, she would have quit.

Unbeknownst to them my mum’s uncle was a LT. Colonel at the time and as a result she had the acquaintance of several officers who knew her to be his niece. Still she never for once, did she fight back. Least of all make a boast or threaten to use her connections against these female instructors.

They would finally come to this knowledge during an unfortunate encounter with a third party and senior officer who witnessed the ill treatment they rendered to my mum. It was only then that the mistreatment stopped.

Several years down the line, their paths would cross again; they met at the military hospital in Yaba. Mum was visiting an old military acquaintance who worked there as a senior nurse. The story that ensues is one of soberness and regret with tons of apologies to my mum.

That nothing truly goes unnoticed will be my solemn conclusion from these stories. Life sucks it all in into its master memory board and each one of us must tread carefully as each step is a written code in that drive.

How about me and you? We too have also played our sordid roles one way or the other; somehow we have hurt others, mistreated another and betrayed some. Though the memories remain in the past, even so that past too should be blessed and released.

Today as you reminisce upon your own toughest and most engraving encounters, remember to bless them and release them, so that you can embrace the future. Life is too short to hold on to pain and too brief to hold back from liberation.


 

Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision – Mark & Angel

Bless the past

UNDERCOVER VICTIM

I’m thinking about a horrifying story I heard recently about an undergraduate who took the life of his father; stabbed him and chopped him up into bits. This is not a crime story on TV, it happened real in Nigeria, in a country I live in, a real life horror. And all I could think of was, “Whatever went wrong?…How did he get there?”


Unearthed earth
Underwater casket
Deadly secrets
Underlying dirt
Caked clay
Hidden weapon
Covered corpses
Glossed surfaces
Layered strata

Concealed issues
Hidden murders
Secret hatred
Smoldering embers
Unresolved riddles
Colored perceptions
Twisted images
Silent rage
Sleeping volcano

Breaking and entering
Bloody vendetta
Stained carpets
Seared consciences
Broken fences
Broken hearts
Shattered confidence
Death


“Death of the human soul, death of friendship, death of trust, death of a loved one, death of peace, death of love, death of truth. Death is inevitable when we do not speak out in the open, when we do not speak up with courage, when we let things slide, go under. Death is inevitable when we don’t allow the light to shine through.

Underwater

Sometimes you have to say yes to what you really feel to be free indeed

 

I know we try to do our best all the time. I know we all truly wish to be good and try to do right by all means. I know we try to change our thought patterns and try to adopt new value systems. I know in general, we want to forgive, we want to let go, we want to move on.

We try every tool in the box and follow the 7 steps written in the book but if we are sincere with ourselves, if we keep still for just one minute, one-second, we will sense the rumbling deep down inside of our stomach. Down underneath the sea of conflicting emotions, lying still and undisturbed at the bottom of our hearts, is the hate we truly feel, the raging anger, toxic unforgiveness and bitterness eating away at our core.

While we go about our quiet lives, we sense its presence, and every now and then amidst our devoted worship and sincerities and professed goodness, we sense a faint vibration, a small movement of the beast sleeping within our subconscious. Even though we have successfully concealed the hate with layers and layers of positive affirmations and pronouncements, in group gatherings and in private therapy, we sense the phantom, the sleeping beast, a looming disaster, the deadly clutter that holds us back from being the best and greatest that we could be.

Here then, is my theory. Why tell ourselves a lie when we can tell ourselves the truth. Sometimes it is only when we have told ourselves the truth about what we truly feel that we can then recreate a new and transforming truth that frees us from the bounds of hate. Sometimes these negative feelings need recognition, airing and verbalizing as much as we can.

Sometimes to gain closure, we must take a bold step to being completely open with ourselves. We must vent in the true sense of the word. It is not okay to say simply “When I was with you, you hurt me real bad, and its hard for me to forget…” rather say, “When I was with you, you pawned me like a game, and of all the people I have been with, you hurt me the deepest and the longest. You made me hate myself for being so vulnerable, I hate you for what you made me become and I hope you feel the hate for as long as you live…”

Whoooo, you may be thinking, that is harsh, that is hatred, that is bitterness. Yes, it is, but isn’t that what you truly feel for that person whose memory always grates your senses whenever you hear their name mentioned? If you will be truly free, you must let those feeling out of the bag, and only then can you release them. You can send it in an email, or simply write it down on paper…whatever works for you.

The idea is, you must let out the venom or otherwise be poisoned forever by it. When you do, you free your subconscious of it’s deadly sting and you free your mind to embrace your future without any limits or hold. Remember to do this intentionally too, by that I mean, if you are going to let out the venom, do it with the sole purpose of wanting to be free of the hate. Do it because you want sanity for yourself and peace deep within your soul. Do it because it is what you need to be truly free of your past and the people that have hurt you so badly. Do it for yourself, to be happy and be free not inflict hurt on the other person or cause more damage.

That is why I do not recommend the email, because every word you write to describe your hurt will be carrying the negative vibrations of the hurt, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness you’ve soaked in all these years and months. And what you will invariably do to that person is poison whatever peace they may have at the time and cause them to revisit the past again with guilt and regret and sometimes the person becomes damaged goods and they may never recover. You don’t want that. You don’t want to be responsible for any more hate and unforgiveness.

What you want is peace, love, and hope in abundance. In other to achieve that you will need a little bit of faith and a large chunk of belief and courage to trust that simply writing it down (which is what I recommend) will set you free just as much but without causing any more damage. And because every word you write down is negatively charged with all the bad energy from that experience, that piece of paper becomes the victim of that venting and the out pour of your venom. It is that piece of paper that bears the cross and the crucifixion.

After writing down your hate, what you do next is write down your freedom on a separate sheet of paper. Write how you want to feel and how you believe you should be feeling about the experience. Write you healing, your forgiveness, and your hopes. Write them all down and bless your past for the lessons learnt. Write something like “I forgive myself for being a victim in this relationship, for allowing myself to be pawned and belittled. I forgive you for being the mean person that you were and I hope you can forgive yourself for how it all ended. I release you today.” Whatever represents your story, just make sure you are kind and express the freedom you yearn.

What you do next is as bizarre as this whole therapy gets, you burn the first sheet of paper and from your hearts of hearts let it all go. Let go of the hate, the anger, the bitterness and the pride. What you have left is the new truth you have written on the other sheet of paper, it is your testimonial of having fought a good fight and run with perseverance the race that was a failed relationship, a betrayal or broken trust or whatever it is you are battling.

If you still feel the urge to send an email or a text, then you can send your new truth, in doing os you do not hurt the receiver nor send them back into limbo or anything of that sort. Instead you leave them in a good place. A place where they are free to deal with their issues objectively and however that turns out is really none of your business because some people are die hards and never forgive just as much as they never forget.

However, what you would have achieved is really big. You would have aired your negative feelings and emotions, freed your self from a self-imposed prison, and self-afflicted venom that could have destroyed you. You would have earned your freedom and above all else gained closure. You will be free. Free to embrace your future and all your hopes and dreams with nothing holding you back. You would have done the right thing. You have said yes to your feelings. You have let go. You are free indeed.

None of this may make sense at first but the results are huge, if done intentionally, your heart literally feels light and you happier, and thoughts of the past and persons in question will no longer hurt, grate or embitter.

Finally, it is always good to go through the process with an experienced coach who can guide you each step of the way so you don’t find yourself back at the same spot where you began. A coach is someone you trust, someone that walks besides you and guides you without judging you. Allow yourself the freedom to drink in life in all its fullness. Release your hate and release yourself. Life awaits the free and authentic you.

Free

UNAFRAID TO APOLOGIZE

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
― Charlotte Brontë

I’m sorry I do not know how to conform to your idea of woman. Do not bother to teach me for I am not in the least interested in becoming your mindless guinea pig of experimentation. You can sulk all you want and smack your head on the ground if you must. I am not in the least keen.

I will not become subject to your senseless ideology in an attempt to fit in. I will not force my tender being through a funnel of such cruel thinking only to emerge a massive lump like yourself. I will not handover my brain to your obtuse traditions nor give my mind in exchange for your poignant beliefs.

I’m sorry I have constantly failed your expectations of me, to become senile, doddering or condescending. I do not match-up to your qualifications for the properly metamorphosed female. Somehow I must have skipped a stage or two, to become unorthodox and the warped and bizarre one among you.

I do not apologize for leaving your precious carefully written script to be swept off by the river nor for forgetting  it time and again by the burner to smolder into ash. Your sacred pages and rules of engagement, oh how you painstakingly scribbled them for my own good, and for the good of all humanity, if only I would show some common sense and cease to destroy them.

I will yet debase them. And utterly annihilate them for I see it is a choice I must constantly make to keep my lovely head hanging high on my neck. Otherwise I would be surrendering my dear soul to imprisonment in the name of qualifying to become acceptable.

I will not subject my mind to puppetry neither would I surrender my wishes to the execution blade of general opinion. You can snarl all you want, sit around your smug counterparts, and grouch over my stubbornness and obscurity. Walk on broken glass if you must, to show your loyalty and devotion to lame titles or status of enslavement.

I will not be, yet another sacrificial lamb just so you can prove a point, one of helpless subjugation. I reject being that lamb and hobble blindly behind you to the slaughter, so I can become another zombie in your dignified gathering or simply another sad addition to the sorority of the haunted, maimed and despondent.

I like your outward disguise and admire your skillful art of masquerading, of pretty dresses and fancy jewelry, of false completeness and deserving the praises and approval of the majority. However, I despise the scars you unfortunately seldom succeed to hide beneath those fancy clothing and sunglasses.

I hear the weakness in your laughter and I see the wincing of your muscles, however so slightly, whenever you try to dance or fake laughter in the open. I sense the looming depth of sadness that hum violently in every given space of silence. It is inevitable, your bared vulnerability, as one can seldom wear a white garment and successfully conceal mud. It would be an eyesore.

I also know that joy cannot be faked, for it is not a garment to be worn but an aura that emanates from within. Thus, in spite of your presumed state of contentment and your glimmering appearance, I chose rather to be who I am and do what I want whenever I so please and at a time that I choose.

I choose my own happiness, I define my own completeness, I chose my path and I chose my seasons. This life after all is only lived once, albeit twice through the choices we make in the end. Hence my resolve, I choose what I choose when I choose it. Thus is my happiness complete, and my meaning settled.

I do not suppose you can see sense in my choices, I do not expect you to. To insist that you do would mean that I become like you. This is not a fight of superiority, neither is it the battle of the titans. It is simply what it is, that some of us do not and will not conform, we simply can’t. Live then, and let live. However so sorely, however piqued. Live, and let live.

I write for those women who do not speak,
for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified,
because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves.
We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
– Audre Lorde

Masquerade girl

Fighting my battles

I find myself in a dark place. I’m taking slow baby steps with my two kids by my side and a crumbling marriage on my mind. I can’t see what is ahead and I cannot wait to make a fire. I do not know how to make one even if I tried. These are strange territories, there is thick darkness all around me, my heart is sinking beneath the weight of the past 6 years, and my mind is screaming all kinds of menace at me. I can barely think!

My body shudders for terror and my hands clench with fear, my kids moan with fright. They grab my hands, each on one side. I can feel their bodies tremble as well, even in this darkness I could feel how the tremor of the horror I felt, crept through my veins into their tiny hands. I drag my two kids closer to myself, I try to take quicker baby steps, but I must go slowly still. I’m feeling the grounds around me for pitfalls; I do not want to end up in some booby trap, not with my babies.

I know I have to make a fire, I need to, so I can see my way in this dark place but the screaming in my head will not stop. It would not let me think. I can hear all the voices of accusation from the last six years, they are growing louder and angrier. How did I get here? How did I find myself at this unfortunate bend? How is it possible, that I am here now, with two toddlers and a fractured marriage, walking blindly through a dark, dark, dark place?

Have I made the right decision to leave? Is this the right thing to do at this stage of my life? To be without a husband and a home? Should my kids be a part of this now at this point of their development? Should I have stayed for their sakes? Should I have bore it all; the verbal abuse, the mental degradation of my self-pride, my self-esteem and my beliefs? Should I have stayed to receive the constant battering of my mind, bore the loss of my self-dependence and self-containment? Should I have let him suck out the life from me so long as he didn’t lift a hand to physically overpower me? Should I have bore it all in silence?

Where does one draw the line between verbal abuse and physical battering? How does one determine the PH value for abuse? When does it cross from alkalinity to acidity? How long before verbal abuse morphs into physical battering? What are the parameters for determining how and when physical battering can lead to maiming or death? When do you take precaution? What is precaution? Is it the loss of faith and belief in the vows that you’ve hung unto for as long as you can remember? How does one condone abuse? Do you shot your ears from without or from within? Without I can hear him call me all these names; he has given me an identity that is tantamount to useless and worthless. Within I can hear the indictment, of self-abasement and self-accusation. So tell me, how do I shut out the accuser? Who is the accuser? Is it my self-absorbing husband or my guilt stricken self?

Daily I am becoming this monster, this monster that he has brandished me, this monster that I have remorsefully nurtured, like a werewolf, I have become this being, and I cannot recognize who I am becoming. My head is swelling with regret and anger and with confusion. My heart pounding with fear and with terror, and frustration, for I became a prisoner in my own home. I thought a woman’s home was meant to be her castle, her palace, her fortress. I thought it was meant to be her citadel, her stronghold, not her jailhouse.

Woman in the mirror
When I look in the mirror, I do so, not to examine the shadow I have become, but to find the girl I once was; that rich, zesty, and centered girl. She held her own and had this strong presence about her. Her voice rang out with gusto and with pride. Her strides, long and assertive with strong athletic feet that bounced with exuberance. Her vision sharp like that of an archer, her bow in one hand, arrows in the other, she had a dream, she had a plan. This marriage was meant to be part of that plan. I stare into this marred image, searching, hoping, weeping. Where has that girl gone? Is she asleep? Did she fall off a cliff and break a limb? Is she badly injured or is she on a journey? Will she be back? Will I still be here when she returns? If she returns, will she find a home or a wasteland? Will she recognize this body to be encapsulated by it? Will she recognize this battered mind to embody it?

After much pondering, I chose liberty above detention. When it came to it, I had to choose my humanity above being a werewolf. I chose my sanity above mental torture and deficiency. I chose this temporal darkness and I reject the artificial lighting of my glorified prison. Permit me to say that I chose life above death; death of who I am — really and truly — my worth, my beliefs, my dreams, my values. I chose my invaluable self. Hence my new creed and statement of belief; I choose my true authentic self even though now, I am only a shadow of that girl.  I choose my strong, beautiful, and ambitious self, even though now, all that is left are shards and pieces of what she used to be. I chose my strength, my resolve, my dreams and my pursuit of happiness, even though there is barely a trace of such left.

My heart is wrenching in two places as I walk away from the one whom my soul loves. I can barely contain this feeling, for it is gruesome as well as liberating. I feel pain and I feel joy. How is this even possible? Why does following my dreams have to be so grisly? How can love suddenly transmute to abhorrence? My heart is wrenching, and I feel bloody lumps of flesh fall off and splatter around me as I walk away with a broken heart. Which brings me to the question; am I walking away from love? Am I walking away from what could have been? Or am I walking away from abuse; am I walking away to find safety? Am I walking away for dear life?

One minute I was contemplating jumping off the balcony of my home, the next minute I am scrambling with my kids in one hand and in the other, a dozen fragments of what was meant to be my luggage. I am desperate for life. So I chose to leave through the front gate and not the balcony. I chose a flight to safety by plane, not a leap off the terrace with despondency. After much running, I find myself here, in this dark but safe place. It maybe dark now, but soon, would light up with brightness, and with sunshine from within, like the rising of a phoenix. I know I will find myself again. It may take a while, but look out for me like you would the rising dawn. It is not too long from now.

I do not know where the road ahead is going to bend, but first, I must fight my battles and overcome my demons. I must overpower each of these growling voices within; monsters fighting for my soul, I am certain they will not win. I will yet rise. First I must heal, I must believe again, I must hope again. I must awaken the girl within, I must find my strength. I must choose my life again. I must love my self yet again. I must nurture my dreams again. I must get back on the race. I must run to win. I was born to win.

I don’t know how to fill this hole in my heart but with each step I take towards the light, I remind myself that this walk is not going to last forever. Nothing is cast in stone. Everything is but clay in my hands. I smile. I’m hopeful. I can now see the light ahead. It is like a tiny dot on a thick black blanket. Like a sparkle at the end of a tunnel. If I can hold that image long enough, I know it would emerge anytime now and the light will flood my being again…

…but first, I must fight my battles…

Tell me when, the time we had slipped away,
Tomorrow turned to yesterday,
And I don’t know how…
Tell me what can stop this river of tears,
It’s been building up for years,
For this moment now…

Tell me how the road ahead is going to bend,
And how to harness up the wind,
And how to say goodbye?
Tell me how to fill this space you left behind,
And how to laugh instead of cry,
And how to say good bye?
– Michael W. Smith

“For Vanessa and all the women who suffer abuse in silence. XOXO”

Keeping strong