Do you know what rituals are? The linked Miriam-Webster definition is accurate but I prefer Wikipedia’s version: A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value.
Rituals have set meanings and observances. When you are frightened or desperate, patterns that you can cling to are important. Sometimes, you create them out of the blue. As a way to cope, maybe. Or a smokescreen. Or simply as handful of grass on the slippery slope of sanity.
These are the things that you do… these are rituals of safety. You do them to keep yourself physically or mentally safe. You keep them sacred and you survive.
If your ritual is touching all the ice cubes with a finger that just cleaned the toilet – and learning to love hot or room temperature beverages – because knowing they’re drinking toilet flavored tea helps keep you sane? You do it.
Or making sure that you are the first one up, to make breakfast – oatmeal, two lightly fried eggs, one patty sausage, two strips crispy bacon, two charred pieces of toast – so that your day doesn’t start out with violence? You do it.
If you keep a photo hidden away of the people who actually love you so that you can look at it when the house is empty so that you can remind yourself that you aren’t alone in this stupid world? You do it.
Dinner is always within fifteen minutes of being done when they walk in the door after work. You can hand them their perfectly rolled joint and a glass of chocolate milk as they settle in to wait. Any punitive “lessons” averted are worth it. You do it.
You do these rituals and you keep them sacred. But…
For chrissakes, you be plotting and planning and calling for help (furtively, if you have to) and scheming on how to get the fuck up out of there.
You find a safe place to be. You surround yourself with love and acceptance and friends and healing and therapy.
It can be done.
We don’t need a Day of Remembrance or a half month of activism against it.
We need this shit to stop.
There is help. Yes. There is. Don’t say “even for me” — this help is especially for you. Because you deserve help. Because you are loved. Because no matter what anyone says – you are a terrific human being and you.are.loved.
The National Feminist Majority Foundation will also be able to help.
Or if you think that someone you love is being abused – there are resources for you, too.
As a final thought: You matter. You matter. You matter. You matter. You look in the mirror, into your eyes and you repeat that until you believe it. And call or email or do whatever it takes to get yourself out of there and to a place of safety.