The old woman in the mirror greets me with a sleepy scowl. Wrinkles are breaking out like acne. I used to have a neck. Where did my neck go?
I am sixty-two. How did I ever get this old? Half way to one hundred twenty-four.
I guess a few wrinkles are appropriate.
Some days, I see my mother in the mirror.
Today, I see my grandmother.
She was never as much fun as her sisters, my darling great-aunties. They were irreverent, occasionally foul mouthed, and together they could make you laugh until your sides split. They smoked, and drank whiskey and ordered take-out. I loved them so much.
My grandmother must have been the milkman’s kid. She was no fun at all.
The bottom line is, always, abuse. Whether verbal, physical, mental: Abuse is the killer of happiness. The breaker of hearts. The shovel that buries the cheerful soul in the dust. Abuse runs rampant until somebody stops it.
Neither of my daughters will take one moment of abuse. I know this for certain. Neither of them wants to live the life I lived. I didn’t want to live my life. My mother gave me her life, and I lived it for a while, but I have STOPPED the circle of violence. I have taught my daughters that they are valuable, wonderful human beings and that they deserve love and a peaceful life. I have finally found those things in my life. I will NEVER go back to abuse. I will not accept violence, ever again, in my life.
My work is to reach others who do not believe they are worth saving. Those women who expect to be treated badly. My sisters who are too tired to fight back any longer. Try. One more time. Please. It is so very worth it to be free.
Yes, I am an old woman. Yes, my bones ache, and my hair is grey, and some days I just hate that mirror, but I am alive! And, when I wake up and look in that awful mirror, I know that no one will hurt me today. I so wish the same for you.
Talk to me. Talk to someone, anyone. Get out. Be free. Run while you are still alive. There is so much more to live for than fear and pain.