Oh boy, my heart is racing as I type this. Bare with me as I work through the next couple of sentences. This morning I hopped on the treadmill, just like any other day. I pressed the QUICKSTART button (does anybody actually mess with the settings??) and hit play on my pod. The treadmills in the gym I use are all lined up to face a large set of floor to ceiling windows. Every day I gaze out at the street, wondering where passer-bys are headed and what their worlds might consist of.
Not even 60 seconds into my run and I see a couple arguing just below us on the sidewalk. Tears stream down the woman's cheeks as the man explodes into a fit of rage. She turns away from him, he follows like a magnet. She takes a step back. He takes a leap forward. Before my blood even had time to reach its boiling point, it happened...he slapped her across the face.
I screamed. I couldn't help it. My left hand raced to cover my mouth while my right arm reached towards the couple. I pointed and gasped and looked around me for similar reactions. Crickets.
Such is the single most enormous frustration I encounter in my life - feeling like I need to do or say something but knowing it's not really my business. It's a constant struggle in this here brain of mine. I've never been one to sit idly by when witness to an unjust situation. My urge to intervene jumps ten fold when physical abuse is involved.
But what could I have even done today?
After thinking about it long and hard this afternoon, I decided that if this had happened at home in the English speaking states, I would have at least gone up to the girl and asked if she was alright. But being in a foreign land, unable to fully communicate, the only thing I could do today was watch and wait and hope that he didn't inflict further abuse.
(I also went into the next room and pounded on the window as he finally walked off, hoping he'd look up and see me. I was either going to give him the "eyes" or give him the finger, thinking that if he knew somebody had been watching he'd at least think twice about lifting his hand next time. He never looked up.)
With Mary J. Blige in my earbuds, I fought the tears back and promised myself that the women in my life would only ever feel strengthened by my influence. That if I wasn't able to step in and attempt to lift up that poor woman on the street today, I would at least reach out to the women in my world.
So here are some words of wisdom from a lady much more astute than I. Here's what I heard during my run with Mary.
Take Me as I Am
Yes she's older now, yes she's wiser now.
Can't disguise her now, she don't need,
No one tellin' her what to do and say.
No one telling her who to be.
She's on solid ground, she's been lost and found.
Now she answers to G-O-D.
So take me as I am
or have nothing at all.
Just take me a I am
or have nothing at all.
Ain't Really Love
I've held my tongue too long I can't do it no more.
How can a man be so cold to a woman that loves him most?
If you wanna go, there's the door.
I can't hold ya, boy your grown.
You must got me confused,
I treat myself way too good.
A love that tears you down, ain't really love.
Good Woman Down
It doesn't matter what they say or do.
Don't let 'em get to you.
Don't be afraid, you can breakthrough.
Take what I've been through to see that,
you can't hold a good woman down.