Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday's Words for March 11, 2009

The old women, that when I was a child I remember being on the periphery of my life, used to have all sorts of sayings. You’ve likely heard most of them: many hands make light work; a stitch in time saves nine; nothing ventured, nothing gained.

One such saying I recall, uttered by a particularly acerbic woman as she was talking about a mutual acquaintance who had made a mistake has always stayed with me. “This I say, and say it plain, what you’ve done, you’ll do again.”

We look to the icons in our society for many reasons. Sometimes to imagine with a touch of envy what a life blessed by fame and fortune might be like, on days when we feel battered and bruised from our own scrabble for survival. Sometimes we look to them to see the real person buried beneath the glitter, or because their industry entertains us; or because their views inspire us.

We forget, sometimes, that leading a life in the spotlight doesn’t diminish or enhance humanity, and that ‘stars’ – for lack of a better name for them – can have just as many obstacles to happiness and peace as the rest of us.

For those of us who are older, this concept isn’t new. As we age we learn to not covet the life of another, no matter how rich or famous, for we know that we all have our own crosses to bear.

For the younger ones – teens and young adults who have not yet learned this lesson—I find there are moments, and people, whose influence over them I would call unfortunate.

A singer named Rihanna has sadly made headlines lately, after being the victim of domestic violence. Gosh, don’t you hate these ‘politically correct’ terms? I do. So let me say that again, in real-speak. Rihanna made headlines lately after her boy friend beat the crap out of her. This thug placated his anger and his temper by using his fists on a woman who trusted him.

That was bad enough. But now, if reports are to be believed it seems that this young woman has forgiven the thug, and reconciled with him.

She’s an adult and entitled to do what she wants, granted. Chances are the thug will hit her again. Statistically, she has a good chance of being murdered by him. What bothers me above and beyond that is the message she is sending to young girls who look up to her.

This is a facet of the female personality that I wish we could circumvent. It is as sad and pathetic as it is real. “But I love him!” I can hear that being wailed by young women to anyone who advises them the man they are with is scum.

“So what if he beat the crap out of me. He didn’t mean to, he said he’s sorry and I love him!”

“So what if he took all his pay check and spent it on drugs and alcohol. He works hard and deserves to relax and I love him!”

“So what if he leaves me to handle the bills and the kids while he goes out with his friends, he has a hard life and I love him!”

Get a clue, ladies. You may love him but he sure as hell does not love you. He loves no one but himself.

My heart goes out to Rihanna. That she suffered at the hands of a man in whom she had placed her trust is horrible. But the real tragedy lies in her acceptance of his apology and her haste to reunite with him. To make herself vulnerable again. To risk herself again.

It isn’t that I don’t believe people can change, because I do and they can. But I believe that trust, once broken, must be earned—and that is not, nor should it be a fast and easy process.

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