As I grow older, I learn that certain things I felt to be normal aren’t normal and living with them right from the age of four when my consciousness kicked in is one reason I am different shades of fucked up. It felt pretty normal to be a part of this dysfunctional love stamped and approved by society.
It felt normal for my parents to fight in front of us and threaten to kill one another while saying things that you shouldn’t say to a loved one. At first, I cried when it happened and because of the frequency; I adapted to the hate/love relationship I was a product of.
This is the singular reason I don’t understand what love means in relationships. I know love because I feel it with my niece and nephews and I know if it comes to it, I’d lay my life without thinking twice. I guess I am just learning how to love in a relationship.
It felt normal for my cousin who was over eight years older than I was to put his fingers inside me and take me into a corner when he wanted to have his way with me. It felt like love. From the age of four, we were in a relationship. He could date all these other girls, but at night when I was in my pyjamas, he’d come back to me. I enjoyed this until I realised this was the worst thing that could happen to any girl. This was my reality from age 4 to 17. This wasn’t/isn’t normal!
This formed the premise that men only want your body. They keep on taking and never give back and if you could use this to your advantage, fine! Wrong! It is never to your advantage; you keep creating a black hole inside you and you lose yourself more than you find yourself. This experience damaged my chances of being in a normal relationship and I fight every day to embrace who I am as a sexual being without being reminded of my first encounter.
It felt normal to always be right. Just like the fights with my parents, it was about dominance. When you were right, it meant that the other person will come to you begging and then you could act as king.
This is just a bad trait that shouldn’t be excused. It made me feel like men were people with no vices and I had to hide mine and make up for when it reared its ugly head.
I felt it was normal that I hid my heart in a vault and could do without relationships with men because men only came to hurt, steal and dominate. It felt normal to be in various relationships and not feel anything for these people. Experience had taught me to be very wary and cautious and the best way I knew how was to totally and completely push my feelings to a place where I couldn’t hurt the way I had seen others hurt.
I wish I allowed myself to feel it all. I wish I had allowed myself to cry about breakups and found new ways to love myself as a teenager and allowed all the emotions to shape me. I wish I had allowed myself to love myself and learn to love truly.
It was normal for men to get away with murder. He cheated on her, so she had to be a better woman, a better version of herself. He beat her up, she had to cover his shame and make sure the world never knew the beast inside him. Oh! How about her being the cause of him beating her black, blue and corporate print? It was normal to see a man as a child you had to train, a beast you had to tame and a possession that made you worthy.
None of these things was/ is normal. Yet, we barely have conversations around it. A very large percentage of youths were sexually abused as kids and teenagers. For some men, this has become a bragging right while the women continue to hide their first sexual experience. So many people can remember vividly how their parents were at each other’s throats, most of them do not understand what it means to love because their realities have been so distorted, that loving becomes a weak act you must not venture in.
Hide it. Be strong. Do not talk about it. Manage it. Adapt. This is how life is.
We hear this and go through life thinking it is this ugly death trap that only rewards at the end. And so, the cycle continues. Two dysfunctional people meet and they continue the cycle and the next generation suffers and we wonder why the same things keep happening over and over again.
This dysfunctional cycle approved by the society might just be the death of peace, happiness and love.