This story fascinates us, for a variety of reasons. And in the light of recent stirrings of the ex-couple rumored to be spending a lot of time together (and the picture posted on Rihanna’s Instagram about 30 mins ago with the caption “@fuckyopictures – Chris Brown - i dont wanna leave!!! Killed it tonight baby!!!), these reasons are presently in the forefront of our hearts and minds as spectators.
There are times when I feel a sense of empathy towards both sides in the aftermath of the unfortunate occurrence that sparked their break-up. But there are other times where I loathe the way this whole issue was handled, aiming that statement more specifically at Chris Brown than Rihanna. To start of somewhat chronologically, let’s use Chris Brown’s recent Rihanna-like neck tattoo for example.
Most people, including myself, aren’t buying that it was a Mexican sugar skull. I just don’t believe that, and I say that as respectfully as I can. However, I don’t necessarily care what it is, means, or represents. CB owns his body, and has the right to express himself through the medium of tattoo artistry whenever and however he pleases. My issue is him not just owning up to it.
Let’s just say the tattoo was some sort of remorseful monument to Rihanna, as most of us believe
Yes we would have an opinion about it, and the media would have immediately sunk its teeth into that news, but ultimately, it wouldn’t have been wrong for Chris to do so. He’s merely expressing himself through a tattoo. He himself even alluded to the fact that he is “an artist and this is art“.
But even more than that, maybe he is just expressing his love for Rihanna. And we can all agree that whether you love Chris or hate him, want them to be together or not, love is tricky. It is ugly just as much it is beautiful. But in both cases, it is important. We love our parents, siblings, friends, significant others, children, etc. It defines us. Its presence defines us just as much as its absence. It is the dictator of most of the choices we make in our daily lives, whether we admit it, understand it, or even perceive it.
Many people forgave Chris Brown for beating on Rihanna. Many people have not. But what’s more true is that he should exhibit more humility in all this. That’s why altercations with Drake or vulgar exchanges against people who poke fun at his mistake can only be bad for him.
Whether he is justified or not at retaliating against people who bring up his past transgressions, what remains is he was the one who did it. He has to live up to that for a very long time, not just a short moment in his life. There has to be a time where he completely says “You know, what I did was wrong. I won’t try to defend it. Let people say what they will say. I apologized, learned from my mistake, grew as a person, and I will move on to improve my life.” He owes that to his family, friends, and his fans, the ones who both directly and indirectly put millions of dollars into his pockets. But much more than that, he owes it to himself and Rihanna.
Back in a 2009 when it all happened, I felt a mixture of anger, disappointment, and sympathy. The inner “I GUARANTEE he wouldn’t have hit MY sister/niece/friend/mother/aunt/etc like that!!!!!” came out of me. But there was still an iota of sentiment towards Chris Brown, in the sense that it sucks to have your identity defined by a horrible mistake. In most cases, the man should have the chance to be separated from the mistake.
More so, I was sad for Rihanna. I resented the hardcore Breezy fans who asserted that Rihanna must have did something to “deserve” it. No women deserves that (unless she’s the wicked witch of the west). And I think people who think she might have it are out of touch.
But I also felt some dismay towards the situation. Because whether it was on purpose or not, Rihanna did profit from the battered woman, sadomasochistic, love-the-way-you-lie image following the odious event. Some of that may be how her record company markets her, while most of that may be the media’s doing. Either way, it does appear to be a faint entity in all this.
My second thought about the situation was “You know what……she’s probably going to go back to him eventually.” From the looks of it, I was right. And to be honest, as a man, I don’t know how I feel about that. I won’t get into personal experiences of people close to me, but it seems like most battered women eventually go back to their violent partners.
I took a Multi-Cultural education class in college (once as a student, another as a facilitator), and there was a particular class where a domestic violence awareness group came and spoke to us. They said the most common question they get during their seminars is “why doesn’t the woman just leave him?”.
But it isn’t that simple. Many of the women are emotionally and financially attached to the man, so leaving isn’t an easy thing to do. These women still have love for the man. They give him the benefit of the doubt or compensate for him by saying what he does/did was a mistake and that they know “the real him”. The group said that the average battered woman goes back to the abusive spouse about 11 times. The type of abuse ranges from mental to physical (not just all physical), with the physical aspect of the abuse happening more and more frequent after the first occurrence.
My problem is not the idea that a woman can forgive a man for hitting her. I’m a strong believer in forgiveness, reconciliation, and that 99.9% of time, the person in the wrong is vilified so extremely that he/she deserves to be humanized (to a certain extent). What I don’t get is that forgiveness does not mean you have to go back to them.
Maybe I will never understand the intense, prodigious love that women in these situation had/have for their violent significant others. Maybe I will never comprehend why a troubled man who can be nurtured is more desirable than a nurturing man who isn’t any trouble. Is that “love” more of an psychological attachment than a true wholistic connection? I’m not sure, so I definitely don’t want to criticize.
Some will say Rihanna is weak for going back to him. They will say that going back to someone who beat you is an underlying issue of you’re own insecurity. Deep down, people who do that don’t believe that they can find someone “better” than their ex (better in the sense of only remembering the good times, and retroactively rationalizing the abuse). Others make the case that it actually takes strength to allow him back her life. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do, and if he has changed for the better, taking him back exhibits Rihanna’s tremendous inner fortitude.
What I will say is that I hope any woman in this situation realizes their own inner strength and self-worth. They give the man the benefit of a doubt, but never give it to themselves. They rationalize and say “Well, I shouldn’t have provoked him” or “I know he gets mad when I (fill in blank) so I shouldn’t have done that.” I pray that they stop defending a man’s weakness instead of quickly filing it into the “none of us are perfect” category.
We all are imperfect. There isn’t a fact truer than that. But we all make choices. And subsequently, we all have to live based off those choices, good or bad, mistake or otherwise. I agree that any man in Chris Brown’s situation who asks for forgiveness and works for that forgiveness should be forgiven. I don’t think he should get the girl back though. That’s just me.
All women deserve to be loved, appreciated, accepted, comforted, protected, cherished, adored, adorned, embraced, respected, acknowledged, kissed, cuddled, caressed, loved, loved, and loved a thousand times over. I entreat women to stop making excuses for the men, and start making excuses for themselves. Excuses to live without fear, gain the strength to forgive, but also the courage to move on. To realize that they can find strength despite their insecurities, not that strength is letting a man exploit them. Women should know that they are worth far more than they even imagine, and for every man who treats them like trash, there is a man who will step up to treat them like a diamond. Happily-ever-afters should be the norm, not the ideal. They should be demanded, not hoped for. Because you can’t stare at a page and wait for the picture to draw itself.
Regardless of what we think of Chris Brown, whether he is the misunderstood soul or the brute antagonist, one thing is for certain: he’s dealing with personal demons that only he can conquer. He committed a heinous crime, was punished for it, and will continue to be punished for it as long as he is in the forefront of the public eye. This is true, whether he wants to accept it or not. He can either cope with it, or adopt a me-against-the -world-who-are-you-to-judge-me aura.
So my point is this: Do I think Rihanna should take Chris Brown back? No. Does Rihanna have the final say in the matter? Absolutely. Does my or any opinion beside the two of their’s matter? Not at all. Is Rihanna strong/weak, right/wrong for going back with Chris Brown? We can make a case for either.
Should we still have candid but sensitive, thoughtful but honest conversations about topics like these? Most definitely.
If they are back as being great friends, that’s good. If they are back into a relationship, that’s good too. Regardless of how I or anyone else may feel about it, it is their lives. I wish nothing but the best peace, joy, love, and happiness for both of them.
I pray that Rihanna isn’t rolling the losing dice on this one. I hope she finds happiness in a new man or a renewed man (a transformed Chris Brown). I also hope she puts him in check this time. Don’t give him the ultimatum that if he does it again, she won’t come back next time. Be unyielding when exclaiming that there will NEVER be a next time. That way they can have their storybook ending. If not, I’ll just become an international pop-star and take her from him.
We Out Here,
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