Yayyy! We are throwing a Coin Party! Thank you for stopping by. So, do you have a coin somewhere in your house, or in an archive? You once thought the coin is useless because you practically did not know what to do with it, especially if coins are not so used in your country? You just slipped it into one of your old chest, and perhaps allowed time to bear you witness that you had kept it there. Sooner or later, you stumble on it again, you smile, it brings back old memories; you can only tell a tale of the coin, still nothing useful to do with it.

Good news! Go grab your coin! Today, you will find it very useful!

              My dad used to be so good at preserving almost anything, so he could tell his children and grandchildren about whatever he preserved. Coins of even the first generation were one of the items he kept. Maybe I should go borrow from him. What do you think?

              When you look at a coin, there are two sides to it, with an image on it right? But does it ever matter which side is used while purchasing an item? Does one side have a bigger value than the other? Do you turn to a particular side of the coin, and say to the Merchant “Hey, take this side of the coin, it has a bigger value than the other side?”

              Why are we even talking about coins? Are you curious? Well, I am as curious as you are, but there is something to learn!

So, were you able to retrieve your coin?

Okay, here we go!

              Now, imagine for two seconds that the coin in your hand is a form of ABUSE. Did you see that coming? Do hold on, you will find this so interesting. A coin is money, and it can buy anything right? So, in other words, the abuse you have in your hand now is capable of buying something. Will you like to find out more?

              If the word ‘abuse’ comes into my mind, the first thing I think of is a sexual abuse. If someone was telling me a story of abuse, for instance she started with the line, “I have been in an abusive relationship…”. Before she finished talking, my mind would be roaming with the thoughts of rape, or how her body was being beat. What about you? What comes to your mind first?

              Abuse is a trend. Back when I was in primary school, abuse to me was someone insulting another. Either ways, for me, abuse is not a good thing to think of. So now you know that abuse is a coin, and it is capable of buying something. Do you also know that it is everywhere, and at any time too? Sometimes, you inhale air, hoping that it is oxygen, only to breath in Abuse. Guess what abuse can buy? LIFE!

             When I grew up, abuse gave me several meanings to choose from. I didn’t realize that until I looked up the word in a dictionary. Then I saw that abuse does not only have to do with rape or insults, as I limited it to be. But it really has to do with treating someone in a very bad way. As the word “bad” sounds, that’s how it is. I wouldn’t have considered looking for the meaning of the act, if not for the fact that I was always served that dish.

             Abuse was common in my home where I grew up. I didn’t know it was what I was experiencing until I understood its meaning. Hey! Did you just raise your eyebrows? Don’t judge me yet! Yours may not have been in your home, but obviously somewhere – because abuse is almost becoming omnipresent – there is always someone serving you the hot dish! It could be the boss at the office, the teacher in primary school, the senior student, the choir master, the entitled sibling, the classmate who bullies, the drunk neighbor who comes home late, the customer care officer, the security man, the ungrateful boyfriend, your mistress, your spouse, the nagging girlfriend, the proud lecturer, the receptionist, the fosters, the police officer on the highway, the street warder, the school prefect, the nasty roommate… Oh yeah! Someone is already feeling guilty?

             Sometimes, my thoughts are; what makes for treating people so badly? Some others, while it is very unconscious of them to treat people in a bad way, many others make it a deliberate exercise – just like burning body fats or losing excess weight. Anyway, people carry so much baggage around them, you never can tell until they turn you into a trash bin.

             Feeling bad is something you will always know. When the feeling is there, you don’t think of anything else. You might want to hide somewhere, or you don’t want to talk to anyone. The feeling is rampant for everyone, though it may not be round the clock.

             My friend once said that abuse is not in absentia, it has to involve your presence. I also think that even when you are not aware that you are being abused, you are eating from the dish! Just like you never know when an enzyme in your body is at work, but the results are evident in your health.

             Most often, feeling bad comes with another feeling of withdrawal. You either think you are the enemy everyone is shooting at, or everyone is the enemy you want to shoot at. If the former is the case, then you are running for survival, for your life! You can’t trade your life in so you run to a hideout, or you are afraid, guilty and ashamed. You can’t stand the bullets; you take to your heels! But if it is the latter, then you are going straight up for justice. You are bold enough to stand up to the enemies. You don’t care about the bullets, and you don’t mind trading in your life so you won’t look like a coward. Bravo!

             Well, I’ll like to talk about you as the former, and you as the latter. So choose your side, which side are you? You might want to read the previous paragraph again so you can choose wisely. Okay, hang on to your choice of side a little bit, we’ll come back to the two characters. Let us go back to where it all started from; ‘Abuse’.

             Like I said, when I grew up, I came to discover that abuse wasn’t the two things I limited it to be. It gave me choices, because I knew what exactly it was, and I even knew it better. I also knew which one I had gone through. Recall, I said I used to feel bad a lot; that girl who was in a withdrawn shelf of herself alone. I would catch myself in conversations with me often, and mostly, I tried not to welcome friends.

             There is something as “verbal abuse”. That was my own experience. Verbal abuse is like a 50 BMG bullet; you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this kind of bullet. I know we can’t rate abuse or give it a hierarchy, but we sure can tell what it is like to go through different types of abuse, especially when you have indeed gone through one.

             I was always served verbal abuse a lot, and I used to swallow it in even without pausing to chew on it – I mean, not aware. It is like taking in toxins into your system unaware. You wouldn’t know the harm it is causing right inside of you, but as time goes on, you’ll start to see the side effects and the reactions on you. That’s how it became for me; I started to think that something was wrong with me. I was hurting deep inside; thus I ran to a hideout. So, I chose my side too.

             Now let’s go back to our characters. I hope you haven’t tossed your coin away yet? I also hope you chose your side carefully? Don’t worry I won’t be hard on you; I just want to talk about you. Shall we start with the one who can’t take the bullets – the one who goes to a hideout? I’ll like to call this the ‘Defense mode’. This was the perfect me, and I guess this is what made me build a fence around me. I mean, I had taken too much of it to the point that I couldn’t bear it anymore. In fact, verbal abuse came from a direction that I was only left with the options; ‘take it’ or ‘take it!’ There were no choices. The only option I could create for myself was to build a fence round me and shut myself in. That I didn’t do intentionally, it was quite a subconscious act. It’s not even like one couldn’t get to me as the fence wasn’t a high one, but you had to break through so hard before reaching me.

I             t is often said, “once beaten, twice shy”. When you feel attacked, you have to put out your armor in defense, especially when you know there’s nothing you can do. You’ve exhausted all your strength. So unknown to me, I had built a hedge around me. This worked for a while until I learnt that people thought and perceived me difficult. People had a hard time relating with me.

             Here is what I did… I broke a hole in the fence and allowed people to see through me. It was in a bit to come out again. But it didn’t take long before I started to feel at the old me again. I began to think that the hole to me was a wrong idea. I felt vulnerable, although all I wanted to put up was a strong woman with a total independence. It only happened that way because I never met with healing, I covered a deep injury with a napkin.

             Let’s go on to the second character; the one who is bold enough to go out and take the bullets. The one who doesn’t care if he trades his life so as not to be a coward. Well, he is quite strong, and must be the Character everyone adores and applauds at the beginning of the story. Like I said, Bravo! This may be quite dangerous. Everyone knows what happens to a person under a bullet attack. There’s no assurance of a survival. Abuse may not be as a bullet attack, but it is quite a serious issue! So you should take it seriously! This character is the one who despite how abused he or she must have been, they go back again to face life! This kind of person doesn’t believe in a hideout or building a fence like I did, but he shows up again and lives life again. He doesn’t allow abuse to build a house in him, he blocks all the chances to that by fighting back. This is what I’ll like to call ‘Attack mode’. Let me scream it like Ben Affleck in the movie Triple Frontier, “ATTACK!”

             Are you wondering if this character truly healed? Or he or she was proving a point; pretending so he wouldn’t show vulnerability or weakness by retreating to a hideout? It’s okay to think that. But my point is, this character faced her fight! He or she may not have had a total win, or even healed of the abuse he or she went through, but they were able to go back into the world again. Not everyone always gets to fit back again in the world, you know that right? So we give him or her some credit; at least, he or she was able to survive. They took their battle field by surprise.

             In truth, a person in attack mode gets injured the more. They are fighting from an injured state because they are launching a revenge, and perhaps, do not want to retreat to a hideout. This person is the one shooting at everyone on the other end, fighting back by all means! Sometimes, this character makes an enemy of so many people. He or she is very sensitive and vigilant about the people who come around him or her. If she senses an attack from anyone by any means, then be sure to see her attack mode, and everyone in her way is so going down! Are you enjoying the read?

Let’s finish it in Part 2…