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Redefining a Woman


Cinnamon Brown

When I was a little girl everyone would paint a picture of what my future should be like. They would say that I am supposed to go to school, learn to cook and clean, sew and do all those domestic duties. That way when it was time I would find a husband who made a six figure salary and I would stay home and have all of his babies. I carried this picture into my adolescent life and later into my adult life believing that this was the only way I would feel happy. The misconceptions of my youth caused me to be a bad judge of character.

Starting at the tender age of fourteen, I met the man that would eventually father my firstborn. What I did not know about this person was that he would control my every move; he controlled my thoughts, my money, my clothes, my life. I have read many stories about women who were in abusive relationships. The sad thing is that we all sing the same love song, we all are looking for those father figures either for  ourselves or for our children so we mistake their abuse for concern.

I had a million excuses why I should stay but no reasons to go. I did not love myself enough to know that this is wrong, that love does not physically attack you and make you feel like you are the smallest thing on this earth. I can't even say where this all began. I do not know if I said something that offended him one day or if he was just having one of those days, the very first day I felt my face stinging from the palm of his hand striking it as if rejecting a basketball.

I swore that day that it would never happen again. Every time after that I swore it would not happen again. When I got thrown down the flight of stairs the tears in his eyes made me feel as if he would never want to see me in pain again. I trusted him; I believed that everyone else was against me no one was for me only him. I was only a child, he was an adult, he had spent more time in this world than me; he knew what to expect. This man could teach me how to be a better individual, or so I thought.

When I learned that I was pregnant with his child I was barely 15. I was afraid that he would kill me or the baby so I kept my mouth closed. But during a routine check of my private areas (he always checked to make sure I was not sleeping around) I blurted it out not knowing what he might have thought. I almost died that night from strangulation. He swore he could not have children and that I was with someone else. I escaped only to repeat the same torment four years later from a totally different man. I started to think I had to get inside myself, do some soul searching. I asked myself some questions. What attracts me to these types of people? The logical explanation would be that I am just a horrible judge of character. I am not into logic though, logic is a cop out to digging deeper. The truth is that I have never had a love affair with myself.

My life has been so consumed with my son, my dead-end jobs and family that I have never been able to be me. I have been unable to discover what I want to be. I can write about it but I can never make it happen. I liked the possessive characteristics in these men; it made me feel like someone cared, and as much as I hate to admit it, I used to think that it was cute to say "my man won't let me go outside." Sad but so true.

Today I have got to say that I love myself more than yesterday. I am taking a little time out to reflect on me. I cannot say that I am completely recovered from battered woman syndrome. Which is a true disorder not only in the abuser but also in the abused because we either go to another man with the same qualities or we bring those abusive behaviors into healthy relationships. If I accept who I am then it will help me find someone I am compatible with. I am not an excellent writer and I know this. I like writing, it is my therapy. I have a lot to say and just want to be heard. I am a woman in every sense of the word and that is the only thing that truly defines me.

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