It is a beautiful day. Spring. The season of love seems to have begun. The air is fragrant with it. In the park I watch lovers hold hands and gaze expectantly. Couples kiss openly in public. I wonder as I watch. What I know makes me not trust in what I see.

As they drive to the airport for a much anticipated vacation, he shoves her head so hard against the passenger window she is left stunned and unable to talk.

An everyday dinner. A fork stabbed into a hand.

A sudden rage out of nowhwere, a punch, followed by a push down the stairs.

The first introduction to the family, a whisper at the dinner table ‘do your parents know their daughter is a whore’.

Four women. Our season of love. Suddenly bitter and cold. Our firsts. Random. Shocking. No acknowledgment of what had just occurred. Left to wonder if we’d imagined it. It could not have been real. These were the men that loved us.

It passed, sweetness showered on us, we relaxed for a while. Tricked into complacency, only to be assaulted again when our guard was down. The cycles continued and we soon began comparing ‘normal’, and viewing ourselves to see where we fit in. Wondering how to get there. Sinking deeper, normal seemed so unreachable the goal changed to survival.

Slowly, surely, our partners took away our image of self, and replaced it with confusing images of physical and emotional pain in the name of love. The bait of charisma and charm and wooing infused with sweet lies until we were solidly in. The switch to selfish, brutal men without empathy who wanted us on our knees. When we were there, even then it was not enough. Continually trying to please someone unpleasable, to dodge the assaults.

Slowly, surely, each one of us tucked away what was left of us, in a hope chest saved for ‘one day’. We learned superficial and guarded interactions, lived anxious and helpless. Our struggles inevitably yielded to resignation and acceptance. This is the way things are. Our long view shortened to averting the immediate crisis dujour. Dreams not only stolen, no longer even dreamed. Making the best of what we had to work with.

We are bonded. We share it. This ugly commonality of our lives. Our stories very different, yet the same. Each of us came to a point where the pain became unbearable. Our strength as inviduals is now powerfully united in our stories. Where once were only impossibilities, we now share endless possibilities. I believe we are tasked to help others who are caught in the cycle and can’t seem to spin out. I believe all of us, including each of you, are called to share those possibilities the four of us are now living with anyone who has stopped dreaming.

‘So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable,
and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable’… (unknown)


About Lisette d. Johnson

Murder-Suicide Survivor, Mom, Writer, Speaker, Serial Volunteer in the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Arena, Entrepreneur, &amp Friend. I survived, my kids survived, and I am here to tell the story.
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2 Responses to Juxtaposition

  1. Lynne says:

    Awesome! Is this the foreword to your book?

  2. Kathleen says:

    This explains why I do not hang any pictures from family events. Ordinary events and even vacations that should have been fun made sorrowful by bad behavior. Events marred by bad behavior either toward myself or the children.

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