Rewind. Play. Write. Rewind. Play. Write.
I wrote the song out word for word in my notebook, I was going to be ready next time the radio played it again. Bar for bar. Aside from me making it my mission to memorize the heartfelt song, I couldn’t help but think about what love meant to me. At the tender age of 11, Eve had me thinking about what love is and isn’t. The words were perfectly painted on the canvas in my mind. I heard Eve loud and clear as she detailed her homegirl’s toxic relationship. Time after time her interventions failed. “Why won’t she just leave?!”, I thought to myself as I listened to the song over and over again. My young mind could not comprehend why leaving wouldn’t be the apparent choice, not realizing that I was getting my first lesson on the impact that physical abuse and domestic violence had on its victims. I was also judging, heavy. I wasn’t the only one confused about the song’s main character and her return to her abusive partner… Eve had some brutally honest questions for her friend:
She was in love and I’d ask her how? I mean why?
What kind of love from a n**** would black your eye?
What kind of love from a n**** every night make you cry?
What kind of love from a n**** make you wish you would die?
But that’s the thing about domestic violence and abuse. Its impact on its victim is critical enough to convince them to stay in their toxic relationship. Feelings of guilt and shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and helplessness cloud their mind. It made sense why young Eve passionately rapped her meaningful lyrics, her story far from being rare. Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence. This statistic is supplied because of the cases reported, but it’s fair to assume that it may be inaccurate. Amidst the world’s current pandemic, COVID-19 has left many nations worried about the decline in domestic abuse reports as we all #stayathome. Many domestic violence assaults go unreported, leaving these women in life threatening circumstances. Many resulting in the death of these women. Eve’s song plays on…
I don’t even know you and I want you dead
Don’t know the facts but I saw the blood pour from her head
See I laid down beside her in the hospital bed
And about two hours later, doctors said she was dead
Wow… I thought to myself the first time I heard this verse. My 11 year old self saddened that the song left me at a funeral. “She didn’t leave”, I thought to myself… Nearly 33% of women killed in U.S. workplaces between 2003–2008 were killed by a current or former intimate partner. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female. They all didn’t leave, but leaving is never as simple as our simple minds may think it is. “Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse is about power and control. When a victim leaves, they are taking control and threatening the abusive partner’s power, which could cause the abusive partner to retaliate in very destructive ways” (NDVH).
Lyrics that were stuck in my head at age 11, remain with me at age 32. In my own experience with what I thought was love, I found that the feeling was enough to convince me to stay. While I did not suffer physical abuse, what I thought was love led me to spend years waiting for behavior to change. Eve was right even when the scenario was without domestic abuse. Love was like a spell, or a strong drug. Boundaries did not exist when I got just one taste of it. Except they do.
Eve and her best friend Andrea appeared on air together in an interview for the Queen Latifah Show in the year of 2000 to share their story. I was happy to find the interview years later, and find out that the story actually ended in her best friend leaving her abuser. Like Eve, I’ve been a witness over the years to people who I was and am still close to and their experiences with domestic violence. Students who sat in my office sharing their stories about the abuse they’ve endured, the years that they stayed, the courage that they found to leave. “Love Is Blind” led me on a journey to learn and understand the abuse of love, and to lend a non-judgemental ear to the many who were transparent enough with me about their experience with domestic abuse. It taught me how to be a friend, an advisor, and a professor. Above all, it taught me lessons about perspective, active-listening, and leniency. I carry these lessons daily…
Love is blind
And it’ll take over your mind
What you think is love
Is truly not
You need to elevate and find…