The Chain

Chimene told me this story while I was shadowboxing my own pain in 2018.

Then, as I do today, I call these War Stories shared by women in our healing, a healing which cannot be done but with other women.

Males are never welcome at this table.

Because in great part, (cis straight) males are permitted to behave in this way because other (cis straight) males encourage it. Or protect it. Or don’t call it out. Or turn a blind eye to it. Or make excuses for it.

So again, these males – no matter how gentle and kind, gracious, compassionate, decent, emotionally intelligent they might be, they are never welcome at this table. They may, however, hear our stories only after we have healed at the hands of other women.

Even then, Alexandra and I both agree that we don’t ever share the breadth or width of our history. It is simply never safe enough to do so, no matter how deeply we might experience love for a new partner. Maybe after 30 years, however. Maybe.

I had been struggling to read this, avoided buying it even until tonight. Begun and finished this same evening. I devoured Chimene’s words, turned them a part of my own skin, linking myself into the chain itself.

Struggling because I knew the pain of it, the absolutely horrifying trauma of it. I wasn’t sure I could stomach it again, as I barely had the first time she told me. I adore Chimene something fierce; respect her work tremendously. Like so few others, Chimene pulls her lips back to show you her blood-covered teeth after she’s been hit. This is how you know she is a safe space – her own ability to stand unashamedly in her experience, eyes wide open.

Seek out women who are absolutely unyielding in their truth; we are in a world built to maintain and protect all but ourselves, and so it can only be in (some**) other women that we find our safety. Allah will send us the right women.

“To the individual, what he had done was isolating and bleak, but to the chain locking itself around him, the man was a farce.”

This is a must-read for any woman who has even once experienced the malice of an intimate male partner.

All love.

**To address this point, read the absolutely brilliant White Tears / Brown Scars by another beloved.


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