By Pamela Chapman
According to Webster’s free online dictionary, profile is defined as a. Side view of an object or structure, especially of the human head. b. A representation of an object or structure seen from the side; synonymous with form. With that, please sit back and take this brief journey with me.
Disclosure: though the following may remind you of someone and possibly even yourself, the story is written with no particular or specific individual in mind. It is only a profile.
I’ve been introduced to a lovely sister. She dresses impeccably. Her clothing fits her well showing her voluptuous curves; yet, she exposes nothing. Her shoes and handbags are designer. She is a smart shopper so she may not necessarily pay designer prices. She wears smart, high-end costume jewelry as well as pure gold. Her hair is always immaculately groomed, colored and cut. She frequents a stylist but when necessary she is capable of taking care of her crown of glory herself. Her lips are large and colored softly; the arches above her eyes are perfect without manicuring. Her cheeks profess the slightest blush. Her makeup, overall, is conservative and brings out her God-given natural beauty.
She is successful having finished top in her class: high school, undergrad and graduate school. She has worked her way up the corporate ladder. This invisible thing called the corporate glass ceiling is laughed at; but, there must be one. No matter how hard she works it keeps getting in her way and her male counterparts are promoted over her. It doesn’t slow her roll at all. She keeps marching along with great strength. She does her job well out of pride.
She smiles at everyone. It is a white, bright and dazzling smile that not only lights her face but the entire room. She never has an inappropriate remark or unkind word. She speaks gently and softly but there’s something powerful about this woman’s speech. It’s a power that comes from somewhere deep. You just can’t put your finger on it. Her very presence mentors. When you look into her eyes there’s a fire. But no one knows this woman’s other side.
Because of shared intrigue, I followed her home one evening. She lives in a lovely neighborhood. Trees line the street and tall walls with gates hover around the houses protectively. There are large homes but hers is modest. The surrounding landscape is well kept and well manicured.
She opens her front door, kicking off her shoes immediately throwing her car and house keys on the round, glass kitchen table. The home is cozy and immaculate. Everything in its place: the carpet clean and vacuumed, the windows sparkle, even the window sills show no sign of dust.
She does a 190 degree look around her welcoming living room. Spotting her newly broken-in couch, she rushes toward it and plops down. The leather couch gives off a slight whooshing sound. She could hear her mother’s words, “Sit down like you’re a lady. No one’s going to want to marry your wide &$%.” She thought, “This is my house now I can do what I want.”
Squatting, peering into her window, I continue to watch her sit quietly now appearing to be in very deep thought. And to my amazement tears begin to roll down her cheeks. “What is going on?” I wonder. She’s never appeared to be sad or upset. After a minute or two, she begins to sob and the words, “God I’m so tired,” ring from her voice.
She had carried the weight of the world raising her children alone even though there was the appearance of a husband for most of the years. She had put up with the abusive words from this man always followed by a joke, a kiss or a hug so it never seemed like he was attempting to hurt her. “Honey, gray fits you well. Your behind looks like an elephant’s in those pants.” Her heart sank. She had chosen them just for him.
When he was angry or drunk, it wasn’t unusual to hear fiery vile words of anger targeted her way. “You no-good whore! You’re lucky I married you after you got pregnant.” He’d so quickly forgotten he’d played a role in the pregnancy. “I could have been something great if it weren’t for you.” He’d even slapped her around a few times only returning minutes later with a hug and a, “Baby I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I love you.” She’d forgive him each and every time.
Because of this, her children had left at early ages. Even though he was now gone, they didn’t come around much. They couldn’t understand why their mother had put up with such abuse. They couldn’t comprehend her devoutness, her relentless love. They thought she was a fool—well educated but still a fool. But she believed they were the ones who were fools. She held the belief if she prayed hard enough, God would save her husband and they would all live happily ever after.
He had come home one evening smelling of expensive booze. It’s amazing it doesn’t matter how expensive the drink, when taken in large doses it makes you act like an imbecile. “I’m leaving you. You’re not worth that diamond on your finger. I’ve found someone else and I’m tired living this lie!” he shouted. She stepped in front of him only to receive a swift, cold, hard slap to her face. As a thin line of blood oozed slowly from the left side of her mouth, she fell to her knees tired and crying, “Please.”
“Wow!” I could hear myself mumble as I continued to watch. “So amazingly together on the outside; yet, so bruised, battered and broken on the inside.” She continued to sob. “God, if I had only prayed harder; if I had only tried harder at our marriage. Lord, if you only answer my plea, it will be all right.” She still held on with great faith believing he would one day come back—a changed man, of course. He would have a change of heart loving her more than ever. After all, her clergy had told her if she just continued to pay her tithe and offering and believe everything would be all right.
She rose from the couch wiping her eyes, while simultaneously thinking “I guess I should get my big behind up from here.” She walked toward her immaculate, modern, white and red kitchen. It was time to think of dinner. No need sitting brooding over the matter. Life goes on. She’ll just keep living with the aching pain day after month, after year. After all, it was life and like everyone else she had to carry her cross. The woman thought of heaven. A slight smile came to her face. She would one day be rewarded for all her pain and life misery. She thought again, “Or will I?”
Having observed enough, I thought I’d ring the doorbell and see if I could bring her comfort. She swiftly answered and to my surprise there she stood: makeup clean, eyes dry, with the biggest, brightest welcoming smile ever. She appeared quite composed—as never being ruffled. “Come on in, dear. Good to see you. I was just about to prepare some dinner. Can you stay?” she beamed.
Pamela Chapman is Founder of iAscend Programs, an author and certified life coach who has worked extensively with victim services organizations and advocated for many years. She now spends her time writing and traveling, living each day as a new adventure! Her latest blog is You Are Not A Victim