Wednesday, September 10, 2014
As I listened to one of my favorite singers this morning on the way to work, I was reminded how dysfunctional many of her songs are. The singer, Billie Holiday, often sang of love that hurt, both emotionally and sometimes physically. Listen to one of her iconic hits, “My Man,” and you’re reminded of how this culture not only romanticizes love, but how it tends to romanticize the pain and torture that goes along with dysfunctional, abusive relationships. “It cost me a lot, but there's one thing that I've got. It's my man …” OK, everyone knows that love costs and takes a lot of work. Nothing wrong there. “Two or three girls has he. That he likes as well as me. But I love him.” Hmmm….. hold on a minute. Why are you staying with this guy who’s blatantly stepping out on you? And you say, you love him? OK….. “Oh, my man, I love him so. He'll never know. All my life is just despair. But I don't care. When he takes me in his arms, the world is bright. All right.” No, no, sister. It’s not alright. If all of your life seems like despair when you’re with this dude, then I don’t think he’s for you. Go on….I’m listening. “I don't know why I should. He isn't true. He beats me, too. What can I do?” You don’t know why you should, because you shouldn’t. And did you say he beats you? What you can do is call the freakin’ police! “What's the difference if I say, ‘I'll go away’ When I know I'll come back in my knees someday. For whatever my man is, I’m his … forevermore.” My advice to you is that you go far far away from him. I don’t care if he’s sobbing, on his hands and knees, with flowers in his hands — begging you to come back. You don’t have to be his. Just learn how to love yourself. Even if it means being alone, by yourself for a while.
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 9/10/2014 11:21:00 AM