My father is a preacher and not so long ago he preached a sermon that had a particularly lasting effect on me. Kinda like sticky goo, one phrase stuck to my mind and every now and then it just pops up and takes a seat there for a little while. Right now is one of those moments. As a police officer I noticed that there is a certain type of "job" that everyone has there niche in. Be it drugs, guns, aggravated assaults or even something simpler like giving out parking tickets. For me, its been handling domestic situations. I thought that I liked them because I would get to witness an untaped version of a reality show episode. I know, that was terrible, but I've found that I'm good at what my partner calls "counseling" the women we encounter. I just feel like it's my duty to let them know that they are not alone in this world and to give them a listening ear or words of encouragement.
I didn't start to hear it until recently but I've been building a name for myself as somewhat of a "feminist" and its because of my strong belief in the women who seem to have little to no belief in themselves. I meet women who have been in abusive relationships with their intimate partners, women who have been abused by their parents, women whose bodies are used and abused by strangers, women who abuse their own bodies by using drugs. It hurts to the core when I see one of these women and I'm left bewildered every single time. I've even seen young girls sleep with men for $5 dollars so they could buy a sandwich to split with their younger siblings. Women who had their voices taken away. I ask myself "why?" "Why do they let themselves go through this?" "Why would they let their children witness this abuse?" "Will she really walk away from him for good this time?" "Does she even want to ?" "Why doesn't she love herself enough to know that she deserves better?" Then I ask myself "Why didn't I?"
I found myself in an emotionally abusive relationship that I had no clue was even happening. Previously a very confident and strong willed person, I found myself looking in the mirror and finding absolutely nothing good about the reflection staring back at me. I cried almost every day. I second guessed every thought I had. The man who slept in my bed at night didn't even look at me when I spoke. I walked around my house like a ghost in the shadows, afraid to speak sometimes. Smiling on the outside, self destructing within. I lost myself. And I never even saw it coming.
Sometimes we don't realize a situation until we're so deep into it that we feel trapped. Or maybe we're following a generational curse and we're just following what we know, we saw our mother go through it and maybe this is just what we expect. Or maybe, no one ever taught us how to demand that we be treated fairly, respectfully, lovingly and to accept nothing less.
I grew up in an urban Philadelphia neighborhood where it was normal, and still is, to see young girls pregnant at 14 or 15 and then again by 16 with another man's child. It was acceptable for a woman to sleep with a man that would ignore her the next day when he was around his friends or just out in public. I heard a girl once refer to herself as an "ugly bitch". At 18 yrs old and on her third pregnancy, she told me that she did not believe that a man would want to be in a relationship with her and that all she had to offer was sex. She said that she had never been called pretty before. She was the first person to plant the seed in me that made me want to make a difference in the lives of as many women as possible.
Often times a while I'm out on patrol at work, I wonder why so many people have to go through such turmoil in life. Then my daddy's words pop into my head. He said "Into every life a little rain must fall". My dad is,for me, the perfect person to deliver these words. It began to rain for him 28 years ago. His storm began the year that he, his brother and his friend were in a car accident in which, after being prematurely pronounced dead, he was the sole survivor. He sustained a broken neck and back. He began drinking and using drugs. His marriage fell apart as a result. His battle with alcoholism and drug abuse began that year. It was a battle that lasted almost as long as I've been alive.
"Into every life a little rain must fall". Those words might not seem like much but when I think of it I'm reminded of what rain does. It waters thirsty plants and as a result they begin to grow. But in order for anything to grow a seed must be planted. A few years ago my father's storms began to subside and the seed that was planted in him as a child has taken root and grown into such a beautiful thing. Because of his rain he is able to speak encouragement to many people and give words of wisdom from experience. Because of his rain my younger brothers have a dad that they can aspire to be like and my father is able to plant seeds in them to grow into great men. Because of his rain I can say something that I never thought would come out of my mouth " I want my future husband to be like my daddy is today". Because of his rain I have a reference point to be able to relate to people who are going through what I went through as a child and young adult. Because of his rain he has grown and he is magnificent.
Thanks for reading everyone.