It is noble and highly expected of humans to keep their shits together. Not wash their dirty linen in public and smile for the camera. Am reminded of the movie Madagascar, the leader of the penguins telling his troop, “just smile and wave, smile and wave” (input black American accent) So we learn to infuse the penguins mantra into our system even in abusive relationships. We keep sweeping the pains under the carpets of our hearts, but for how long?
The heart can only bear so much.
The society is extremely pleased with us when we keep smiling and waving and tell them how we’re blessed of the Lord with a black eye. When we lie, “the door hit me” When we run home to cook not out of love but because the authority in the house demands so, failure to which we will have a test of their medicine.
The society applauds us when we strive and vumilia some more because the woman is the keeper of the home even when the leader pounds her to a pulp. Yes they’ll applaud us when we walk in tow with our husbands even with a limp inflicted by the leader. It will brand us strong women, worth emulating, good women of this generation, the remnants in wives history. And at some point it gives us a little tickle. But we don’t spend the night in church or at the conferences or seminars, or the chamas, we go home as the sun sets. The leader awaits. He awaits to prove to us that the applause and the smiles are facades, it was for the camera.
In the confines of the home, truth screams and yells to be heard. But the society is at the door. The church members are locked out, the elders are locked out, and the relatives are locked out. The applause is locked out, the wows are silenced.
And we can’t smile and wave. But crouch in the bathroom and cry and cry some more, then we splash a bright blinding smile to our babies. Then we call our partners “daddy or mummy” the way we do when we can no longer pronounce “honey” because it’s all bitter.
In the onset of abuse, we ought to call it out, call it by name without reservation. Call that pain by its name, stop caressing it with easy words like “it was just a slap, s/he just said stupid. We ought not to minimize evil; we disrespect ourselves by doing so.
Now as we keep enjoying the wows and the wife material tags, a time comes when the lid off the heart can’t contain the filth no longer and it splatters. And the pouring starts, but who will believe you dada/ndugu? Remember what we display is what we get, inauthenticity begets inauthenticity, give the society your plastic self and it will serve you plastic in torrents. Society will be genuine according to our display. Even our own parents won’t believe us in most cases when we report domestic abuse depending on the side we displayed or sometimes fate decides, the church where we paraded love won’t believe us, they know what they saw. We displayed “We’re blessed and highly favored, we thank God for our marriage, s/he loves me deeply”.
We run to the hills and hit a rock.
We keep running, asking who will believe us, we explain ourselves unnecessarily to no avail. Then we’re branded some other names again by the same society, now we’re no longer strong women and all the niceness that our pretense commanded.
You’re alone my sister.
But God, the present help. The one who sees, hears and feels you. God believes you. He saw it all.
What to do…
Believe your truth.
Call it by name, you experienced it, you lived it and you swept the filth into your heart to make the environment smile.
Believe your truth, and make yourself smile.
And by the way, our worship to the Lord can be so religious that when we’re out of that environment it’s all a breath of heaven.
We don’t say no to abuse in our childhood, while dating and even in marriage. We keep it low for the sake of peace. But for how long? The Lord is in need of us for the furtherance of His kingdom.
While dating I was told “Don’t ever cut your hair, you look so bad” Instead or saying “am beautiful my brother” I went to the nearby market bought myself hats and caps of all kinds to cover it all up. To please him. But you guys I was beautiful, I thought I look more of Ajuma Naisenyana, I admired that girl then and even today.
Then in marriage one morning am told, ” Haki you’re so ugly, you don’t turn me on” eehh yawa. I think I had taken an oath to please and to behold. And I agreed with him that I have no woman genes in me. And I became bland. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, will definitely invite physical abuse.
And in the silence, we die a million times that when our feet finds just a little strength to leave that forsaken environment, we revive. Then we speak, chatter, lament, rebuke, scream, whine, yes we do all types of speaking till we’re whole.
And here I am writing and shunning abuse of every kind.
How comfortable are you in your silence?
What’s stopping you from calling out any form of abuse?
I wanted to belong so I didn’t call it out.
I wanted to make people happy so I didn’t speak.
I wanted my children to belong so I didn’t speak.
I thought marriage gave me identity and so I couldn’t call out the one that together we gave it a name.
I was religious, and so I kept keeping the home.
I wanted to be loved, like so much, I yearned for love.
Ooh how I yearned for acceptance!
Silence is domestic violence, there’s no comfort.
Find your voice.