Dear Rihanna

It must be pretty sh!tty to have to live your relationship in public like this.  Particularly when so many people are looking to you to show their children who and how to be when you probably don’t know for yourself who and how you should be. 

In no way shape or form do I advocate you staying with the foolish boy.  However, I also suspect that the last thing you need right now is more people telling you how you are screwing this up.  Not all of us get hit, but at some point all of us get involved with a man that confuses the hell out of us.  Unfortunately, the only way out is through. 

In other words, you have to go through it until you know what to do with how you feel, how he makes you feel, and what you want next.   No one can do it for you.  Your success won’t help, your fame won’t help, and your fans won’t help.  In this, you are a woman.  No more, no less.  A woman just like the rest of us trying to do the best with what you’ve got. 

I’m going to throw a couple of my “smart girl rules” out there for you.  Not so much as advice but as some things to think about.

1. No one is going to have to live with the consequences but you.   This means that if he chooses to go after you with his fists (or worse) again, no one is going to be there to take the beating but you.  So it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, no one else is going to be in the bed when you lay next to him, no one else is going to have to listen to his pleading, no one else is going to have to ride the highs or the lows.  It is all you.  You probably already feel the loneliness that implies.  But think about it, you also have some power here.  You know how to get out of it too.  You know what you need to do to move on with your life.  You have the power of choice here and your future is going to be exactly what YOU choose.

2. Choose carefully.  You are going to have to live with what you choose. 

3. His consequences are his.  He beat the sh!t out of you to a felony degree.  He should have to face the legal consequences of his actions.   We all have to live with the choices we make.  That may be harsh, but it is also inescapable. 

4.  Hang in there.  As much as our society values youth, your twenties basically suck.  You start with an adolescent view of the world and you spend the decade letting go of being a kid with childish expectations and learning how to be an adult. 

5. Don’t worry.  Nobody has it figured out any better than you.  We are all basically two years old: terrified that we will get left behind at the mall and desperate for someone who will love us even after we’ve thrown a temper tantrum. 

6. The only wasted experience is one you don’t learn from.  Our goal here is to get smarter as we go through life.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.  As long as you are learning and trying something new, you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. 

7. Have some compassion for yourself.  You’ve been through a sh!tty experience.  Just sit with it for a minute, don’t try to fight it, just sit with it, measure it, take its picture and figure out what place it deserves in your life.   Decide if the experience is one you want to carry with you.  Is this particular boy the burden you wish to carry with you?  If not, find a place for it to sit in your past and take a deep breath.  Then walk forward with empty arms – arms with the room to embrace something new: like music, yourself, a new expression for what is inside you…  Open arms are free to pick up just about anything.

8. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you hold on.  Forgiveness is more about letting it go.  You should absolutely forgive him.  You should also forgive yourself.   

9. Rock bottom doesn’t last forever.  There will be a time when this is all a memory and you won’t recognize the woman who the world saw battered and bruised. 

10. It may take strength to beat someone.  It takes more strength to survive it.  While this is true, it also doesn’t require staying around for a second beating to prove it. 

That’s probably enough for the moment.  You know what you need to do.  No one else can tell you.  Certainly there are lots of women who have been beaten, and many of their stories sound remarkably similar.  But nothing translates exactly.  Your real task is trusting yourself to find your own way forward.  Everything will fall into place after that.


Dear Rihanna

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