WINNERS: Maddy, Glenda, and Hayde
Thanks for playing!
Okay, I’m about to get a little heavy here so to make it up to you for wading through the darkness with me, I’m giving away three e-copies of Coming Around Again. Leave a comment and the happy heathens at Women and Words will randomly pick the winners.
Andi note: And those happy heathens will do the drawing Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 9 PM EDT US!
One weekend last summer, I had a bunch of women visiting. We were hanging out on the back porch in front of the fire pit, drinking cocktails, and processing our trauma – you know, like you do. We talked about how so many of us have felt broken and how we’ve been told that if we can’t love ourselves, we can’t expect someone else to love us.
That’s unfair. Self-love is an on-going process and we live under the weight of a society whose greatest mission is to profit from our self-doubt. Loving yourself despite the patriarchal and capitalist conditioning that tells you that you need to look younger, be thinner, keep a cleaner house, and have smarter kids is like stepping out of the Matrix. You can look back and see how you were kept captive, but sometimes, it would be nice to just pretend you haven’t seen behind the machinery.
It’s unfair to tell people that if they suffer from low self-esteem, they don’t deserve healthy, natural love because we all feel like shit about ourselves sometimes unless we are complete narcissists.
I started writing Coming Around Again because I wanted to address domestic violence between same-sex partners. I don’t think it’s talked about enough and women in those abusive relationships often feel alone and unsupported. When I started outlining the book, my wife pointed out that even without physical violence, a relationship can still be abusive. We started comparing our stories and found that there were so many parallels between an emotionally abusive relationship and a physically abusive one.
When Karma and Jane started taking shape, I wanted to tell the story of what happens when you meet the love of your life, but you’re still so enmeshed in that abusive relationship, you can’t see a way out of it. Reliance on an abuser is real. They start small, controlling little pieces of a person’s life, and working their way up until the abused starts to feel they have no other options, that they are so fucked up and worthless, they don’t deserve anything better than what they have.
But what if that glimmer of a different life was the catalyst to saving yourself? What if meeting your soulmate and getting just a taste of what it might be like to be with someone who cares about protecting your heart puts just a little seed of an idea into your head that maybe you are worth being loved?
Karma and Jane aren’t bad people – they’re just people who have been told they aren’t worthy often enough that they’ve begun to believe it. Meeting each other, recognizing each other is the spark they need to start the journey.
They’re lucky enough to have a great support system. David and Carter are a gay couple who live an example of a loving and healthy relationship. Karma’s parents are kind, forgiving, and open. Having access to good people helps the process of getting out of an abusive relationship, but it isn’t mandatory. Abusers often isolate their targets, so it’s also common for someone in the relationship to feel trapped and alone. And sometimes, even if a person does have loving people in her life, she might feel ashamed that she’s in the situation and can’t bring herself to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes, no matter how often we hear it, we still have trouble believing that it isn’t our fault. And shame is a huge motivator when it comes to asking for help. Do I think I deserve help? If the answer is no, the chance of reaching out becomes so much lower.
This is a love story. It’s also a story about Karma’s struggle with violence and Jane’s struggle with religious oppression and a controlling marriage. It isn’t a light-hearted read. It’s intense and sometimes hard. But it’s worth the journey. It’s worth the work. It’s worth wading through the darkness to come out in the light. Just like you.
*** If you are dealing with domestic violence, please check out the resource on LGBTQ relationship violence here and if you’re unsure about whether or not you’re being abused, check out the signs of domestic violence here.