But for some of us there is still a dark place, a place wherein there is brokenness. It is a place that can only be filled with authentic love. It can only be filled with the kind of unconditional and compassionate love that is, too often, uncommon and seemingly esoteric. You see, some of us hold this brokenness deep down inside of us and quietly yearn for the one who can see it, hold it, and love us anyway. We yearn for the kind of love that doesn't make room for hiding or shaming. Instead it is the beacon for our soul to voyage into the light.
I want to be clear that my use of the term "brokenness" in this article is not meant to be synonymous with dysfunctional. The brokenness I speak of is the kind of hurt that tugs at your heart, but does not rip through to your soul. It is the kind of brokenness that makes us human. It reminds us of our humanity and our strength, simultaneously. It is the gateway to compassion and empathy for others. It does not define us but rather becomes part of the collective experience that is us. This brokenness is the flawed I AM in all survivors.
MY RAW TRUTH OF BROKENNESS...
My personal story of brokenness begins at such a young age that I have a difficult time remembering all of my childhood. Instead I have patches of memories. Fortunately, my brother is very nostalgic and keeps some of the precious memories green for me. As a little girl I endured my share of unspeakable hurts. I experienced sexual, emotional and verbal abuse that took a toll on my self-esteem. I remember being called painful names that pierced my heart sharper then any physical lash could ever do. The glory is that I have truly forgiven the one who delivered such verbal venom. The forgiveness was not a onetime act, but rather a journey that we took together. I wholeheartedly believe we are both better for it. As I get older, the healing continues and the hurt becomes less and less palpable. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't disappeared but it has taken a backseat to an unshakable joy. This remains my daily intention.
Surviving my wounded little girl has been nothing short of a miracle. When I think about those occurrences I do not do so with grief. To the contrary, it reminds me of my strength, perseverance and determination to defy that painful existence. From at least the age of 14 I realized that the God of my understanding had a call on my life. And even then I knew I would accept it. I didn't know how and I'm not even sure I truly knew what that meant at the time. But I do remember a resolve in my spirit. It was a resolve that didn't come easily. I fought for it. Thus, like any warrior, I did not come out unscathed.
With a beat-up self-esteem following me like a ominous shadow, I became self-destructive. I imploded and exploded as I tried to grapple with the rage. I didn't know that rage belonged to the ones who had hurt me. I thought it was mine to bear. Often I turned it outward, but mostly the gun of destruction was pointed directly at myself. So it is no surprise that I became suicidal. However as I reflect on this time in my life, I am very clear that I didn't want to die; I just did not know how to make the pain stop. I did not know how to make people see me...really see me. I had a total of three suicide attempts. First with a razor blade to my wrist and twice with pills. The second time with the pills was the last suicide attempt I would ever make. As I was being rushed down the hallway in the hospital staring at the ceiling with a glimpse of the tortured faces of my parents in my peripheral vision, it became clear-- I want to live. I want to live! In that moment I chose life...as unpredictable as it had been. Today, when I looked down at my wrist I see the small scar from the razor. Over the years, the cut has shrunken to a little over a quarter inch. It healed with a bit of keloid tissue and it is now my warrior mark.
I know that my story is not unique. I know that there are powerful women all around us doing amazing things, while holding a wounded little girl at bay. Like me, those women are also warriors. They are not amazing in spite of their brokenness; they are amazing because the brokenness could not defeat them. And all of us deserve to be loved, wholly and fully. I am grateful that I can proclaim to have found the kind of love that sees me. She sees me and she loves me.
To all those warrior women who recognize themselves in my story, I say --we are one in the same! To them I say--I am glad that you made it! Your experience does not define you. It merely gave you an opportunity to step into your greatness. Now, to all of those women who are fortunate enough to capture the heart of one of these women, I say – – blessed are you! The journey you have accepted will heal, amaze and inspire you both.
Here are 3 very key tips on how to love a warrior women with a wounded little girl inside:
- If you are trying to be her savior, then you have missed the point. Even more tragic – if
- Be committed to doing your own work too. The best thing you can be for your sweetie is the best "you" that you can be. I believe that who we attract as a mate is no mistake. We come together to heal each other, or at least the opportunity is there for us to embrace. We can take it or leave it, but the need for growth will not go away. We will find ourselves repeating lessons over and over until we welcome our individual emotional and spiritual evolution. When we come together, whether consciously or unconsciously, we will share our joy and our pain. Subsequently, we may trigger each other's old wounds. This is not a reason to run, but rather an opportunity to turn and face the familiar for the purpose of healing. I truly believe this. I've seen it for my clients and for myself. When it happens it is a gift.
- You must be willing to see your warrior woman with what I call "love bifocals". Okay, so the name may sound weird and honestly it even makes me giggle. :-) However it is no joke. Wearing love bifocals means being able to see your beloved it in her dichotomy and celebrate her fully. It means seeing all her parts and loving the whole. You must be able to see her hurt places and hold them gingerly. Sometimes the holding is meant to be literal and other times it means holding her in your heart with compassion and grace. It is about witnessing her story and never, never, never using it as a weapon against her.
Conversely, wearing love bifocals has another lens. Through the other lens you must be able to see her strength and courage. You must be willing to bear witness to all of her while not holding her on an unattainable, unsustainable pedestal. To genuinely understand this means to love the real person and not the fantasy that might make you feel good, look good to others, or serves as a trophy for your ego. Ahhh...this can be the tricky one. It is not for the faint of heart and not everyone can see through this lens clearly. But if you are able to focus your love bifocals in just the right balance, then you will find yourself gazing at a gem!
It is not a love of perfection but rather a love of powerful progress.
It is my greatest hope that this article resonates with your spirit and that you find beauty in everything you see. I honor your journey beyond the brokenness and wish you great success as you seek to Create Love in all that you do.
Nya Akoma! (Take Heart)
Imani Evans, MA
OTHER ARTICLES by Imani:
Sexless Love: Dealing with Lesbian Bed Death
Who Are You Really Dating? 11 Dysfunctional Dating Personalities
A Femme's View on Studs
My dedication to survivors everywhere!