If you have never lost anyone, I don’t know if I should say that you’re blessed or you’re cursed.
Blessed because of the obvious, because you’ve never had to deal or learn to cope with the loss of someone you treasured. To know a pain so deep that no doctor or medicine can heal, but a pain that you must conquer alone. Despite all the assistance to help you grieve, inevitably, it is a desolate path that you are forced to take alone until you feel it no more, or at least not as deeply.
But the curse in never having experienced a loss, is that if you live long enough, you will undoubtedly have to go through it. And it affects each person differently when it happens. And the saddest part, is probably not realizing that you may have already suffered a loss that you’ve buried and/or refuse to accept.
The loss of self.
Where the physical is still present, but all of the other parts that make you human have withered like petals of a dehydrated rose and fallen petal by petal down the sides of a dusty vase that no longer provides a nourishing environment for you to grow.
Many women, who have experienced a heart break, have felt strangled by the pressure of loss. Believing that something would last forever, only to find that forever doesn’t last always.
As women, we are groomed to always think outside ourselves. Taught to believe that our life is never really ever our own. Whether it’s to care for a younger sibling, self-sacrifice for a child or give all that we can to support a significant other. A woman who looks out for self and self only is viewed as cold and unwanted. But ironically the woman who gives all she has to others and never recieves reciprocation, ends up feeling like the same woman, cold and unwanted.
Many men make a mockery of women who get “too deep” in their feelings. They say things like “you’re blowing it out of proportion” “you’re being too sensitive” “it’s not that serious” all the while forgetting that they’ve been raised differently. Groomed to separate emotions, to not be expressive, to bottle feelings and drown them in ambition and/or outlets. As little girls, especially daddy-less girls, the messages we get aren’t crash courses on how to rebound from life’s tough truths — but messages of self-sacrifrice, “it is what it is”, deal with it and keep it pushing.
And we are scrutinized when we act out because it is too emotional.
Men act out too. It’s just more socially acceptable when a man runs through more girls than he has draws, more clout when a man devotes his life to his work and success, an easier pill to swallow when he says he doesn’t want or need distractions from what he’s trying to accomplish. The stigma will follow a woman no matter how hard she tries to hide from it, no matter how undeserving she is to be labeled as such.
Vulnerability is seen as a weakness, so many men fight the temptation to make themselves available to that vulnerability. Meanwhile, they navigate social circles where women bear themselves naked, whether knowingly or unknowingly. A buffet of unsuspecting nudes (and we know men love a good nude). And then they are slut shamed for being undressed. And boys get trophies for acquiring the most bodies or the best bodies.
What are women left with? “Some simple bitch with a bad attitude.” -Ntozake Shange
The real horror is in not realizing that your life is slipping away even when you are giving it away. All the times she’s put him first, willingly I might add, not knowing that when/if he leaves –she’ll be at ground zero. A rustic pile of discarded fragments with no blue print how to piece it back together; blind-sided to the pre-scheduled demolition of herself.
Men will question “how could she ever be so invested in someone that she loses herself” “how is that even possible” “I would never let that happen”. You might not, you’ve got titanium guards up that protect your sensitive areas. All the more reason why men who have previously been bull-dozed, find it so hard to let anyone back in. They’ll fortify themselves with a fully stocked armory and gator filled moat and expect us to build a bridge and get over it.
And the woman who suffers a loss, can’t arm herself the same way or else she is bitter, angry, or unreasonable.
Made to feel like her sentiments are unjustified.
But there is a win in every loss. You learn that in every situation you thought you wouldn’t survive, that you have the capacity to persevere. And when you recognize that you can be burned to the ground and still rise as if it never happened. Back and better?
That, that is a woman to be feared.