The Girl Whisperer
as published by
The Sunday Guardian
of July 13
Somewhere out there, we all know one, if not several people whom we and the rest of society, could term as damaged. In our eyes, their appeal is lessened because they have had bad relationships, bad marriages, or gone through terrible times, ending up being 'wounded' in the process. They bear this mark like the mark of Cain after he killed his brother, Abel, and all cringe at their arrival into gatherings and their joining of conversations. Being damaged is not about physical injuries; it’s the loss of face in front of friends, the disgrace in the eyes of the society, the shame that hits us harder than a physical blow ever could when a partner walks out on us, the stigma that follows us like we have the plague when we make mistakes in relationships. It is what we assume to be the loss of our place in the strata of society, the inability to look the Joneses in the eye and relate to them as equals because we are now alone. It is a sad place to be, a heavy cross to carry and many never recover, never finding their strength or pride again. As an aside, those who do not think it possible to rise up from that twilight zone of defeat should learn from the Whisperer, you can get up, you can get back to your feet and walk away with your head held up high. Nothing is impossible except what we allow to be, and in the hazy land of half-shadows where loss and defeat lies, it is good to remember that life was made for us to keep moving, and forward too.
People can be ‘damaged’ in many ways; getting entangled with the wrong sort and not recovering from the trauma of a break-up with this person, the physical loss of a loved one, a betrayal of trust on either side and other examples too many to mention.
Dolly Parton sang of a broken heart and the desire to start a new life in her song, ‘Bargain Store’- ‘My heart is like unto a bargain store, you may find just what you’re looking for; if you don’t mind the fact the merchandise is used; with a little love, it could be as good as new’. The problem however, is that many are content to wallow in self-pity, to take defeat as a personal friend and stay in its company for indefinite periods, instead of grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and continuing on the journey they started on irrespective of who has left them for dead.
The female who spends seven long years in a relationship with a male she once loved and trusted and who suddenly gets ditched by that male for reasons she cannot begin to comprehend, must learn to shrug off the pain like water off a duck’s back, take the blow on the chin 'like a man' and continue moving. You must never let anything grind your life, your ambitions and your hopes to a halt. We often only get one shot at life, it’s important to make sure the shot is a clear one, free of obstruction and any other distractions. If you are slapped in the face by a situation that has no precedence in your experiences, you must remember that even though the situation is one that is new to you, there are millions of others who have gone through what you are wading through and lived to tell the tale. You must make up your mind (like the donkey that was rejected for its age and worth, and thrown into a large ditch where there seemed no escape) that ‘you must shake it off, stomp on it and rise a little higher’. The need to feel sorry for ourselves is what leaves us on our knees when we should rise to our feet and continue the journey that was interrupted for whatever reason.
If you are unprepared for a blow, anyone can hit you without warning, making you fall to your knees. It then becomes your responsibility to decide whether you want to stay down or get up and re-join life’s race at a fast trot. You do not need a tag to let you know how valuable you are. Self-worth comes from within and no other man can validate you. Many years ago, I fell in love with a D.H. Lawrence poem. It went thus- ‘I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself; a small bird will drop frozen dead from its bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.’ When life and society gives us a tag, we must remember it is our prerogative to choose to accept the tag or to decline. Surrendering to the tag ‘damaged goods’, is a sure sign of a defeated mind and spirit. Humans naturally, are given indomitable wills but often we tend to forget that the heart has the ability to bend like a reed but is a very hard thing to break. If the partner of your dreams walks away from you, do not spend the rest of your life castigating yourself and paying penance. If in truth, the break-up was his fault and you were left without a chance to salvage what you had hoped would be forever, gather your dignity around you like a cloak, hold your head up high, and let your pride support you in moments like this. Finally, the Whisperer says, you are only worth as much as you value yourself. No one will ever lend value to damaged goods, therefore, reject the tag and open your heart to new business. One’s life is an important possession, be careful about whom you let give it names.