At what age do you figure out how to expertly navigate relationships? After reading the memoir, The Naked Truth by Leslie Morgan, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all doomed to blindly (I mean this in the most non-ableist way) stumbling in the dark trying our hardest to not get hurt or to hurt other people (although we probably don’t put the same effort into trying not to hurt other people).
Warning: Spoiler Alert! It’s a spoiler to the memoir, but I guess not about Leslie’s life?
Leslie had been in a physically abusive relationship, became a domestic violence advocate and “expert”, got into an emotionally abusive relationship, got divorced and found her sexual liberation, and then got into ANOTHER abusive relationship.
I am not faulting her; people who abuse and manipulate should just not be buttholes. As someone who has been working with relationship abuse education for a while now, there were some obvious red flags I saw and definitely chastised her through the audiobook (similarly to how people yell at the characters in horror movies).
But it just goes to show that you can talk about these things all day and can help other people, but things get stickier when it comes to seeing things in your own life. I get nervous because I can get caught up in the attention because Cancer (again, the zodiac sign and not the terminal illness). In the accurate words of fellow Cancer Ariana Grande, “I can be needy.”
And Leslie was a feminist! She had decided that she would always remember her worth and what she was not willing to go through in order to receive “love” from a man. She was done with the BS. Or so she thought.
Most people have clear ideas about what they want and don’t want in a relationship. The trouble comes in when we’re told that relationships require great sacrifice and compromise. While that is true because humans are far from perfect, people end up sacrificing too much of themselves in order to preserve a relationship that can’t be saved by just one person; both (or all) people in the relationship need to put in the work on themselves as well as the unit.
Ugh. Relationships are so complicated. I would say I give up on men, but it might be easier to say that I just give up on humans. But alas, as I said (or quoted) above, “I can be needy”.
Relationship violence can happen to every gender, sexuality, race, age, religion, ability level, socioeconomic status, and any other identity there is out there. I am not immune. Interpersonal violence is an equitable force, that’s for sure.
I’m not perfect and I don’t have that much experience with serious, long-term relationships, but I feel grateful that I (think I have) learned to love myself more to make sure I don’t waste my time and energy with someone who doesn’t respect me and tries to exert power and control over me.
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you” Rupi Kaur
Don’t let my words get you down or scare you. Everyone isn’t destined for an abusive relationship. I also want those who have been affected by relationship abuse to know that they shouldn’t feel ashamed to get help or reach out to family and friends. Support is out there, and you shouldn’t feel shame because you did nothing to cause what happened to you. Again, people should just not be buttholes.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Loveisrespect (for my teen friends): 1-866-331-9474