[Reinventing S.H.E] I Can Be A Soldier Of Love Without Holding On To My Battle Scars (And You Can, Too)
As we approach Valentine’s Day, thoughts are all about love…getting cards, flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners, right? Hmmm. I started to wonder. What about acceptance, being there in the tough times, giving, forgiving, understanding the beauty in differences, knowing that anger may not be about you, seeing good instead of looking for what needs to change?
I speak from experience. For years, I was all into the trappings of love. If I didn’t get the flowers, cards and romantic dinners on the regular, then I wasn’t happy. Funny thing though, when those things were coming all the time and the more substantive aspects of real love were not, things didn’t last. So I had to take a step back and see why the niceties of love meant so much to me.
After much reflection, great counseling and prayer, I came to realize that I was protecting myself. You see, I lost my best friend Linda at 19. She was killed by her fiancé. I was a student at Howard University, and she was a student at American University. We worked at a fashionable boutique in Georgetown and talked everyday on the phone. Linda had the most wonderful laugh, and biggest dimples ever. She lived with her guy, and I thought it strange that he always answered the phone.
When she met me at my dorm late one Saturday night crying and scared because he had threatened her life, I tried to get her to never go back. But she did. That next Monday she didn’t show up for work. When her Mom finally called, she said, “If you want to see Linda alive, come to the hospital right now.” She died the next day.
I learned that while she was the ultimate victim of domestic violence, I was one as well. An emotional one. My emotions shut down, and a wall went up. Any indication at all of an argument, loud voice, anger, etc. and I’d go into Kung Fu Warrior mode. I had to be in control. So, what mattered were the niceties.