I get an acrylic overlay put on my nails so that I can't bite them, it's a habit I developed as a kid. I was a nervous child, I grew up in a household where my dad and my mom had physical fights and most of the time you never saw them coming. Before my father became clean and sober, his marriage to my mom was a drama-filled downward spiral. They would fight, he would hurt her, she would send him away, and then she would forgive him and let him come back. She didn't leave until he tried to kill her and she realized that her staying was going to put her children in a situation where they had no competent parent to care for them. I bit my nails until I was 21, then I started getting an acrylic overlay. My nails, in fact, are quite bad ass.
While I was in the nail shop, one of those news shows came on that exposes everybody's business. I do not know the name of it because I tend to stay away from those shows, I've hated those shows ever since my parents were on one when I was a kid & my fifth grade teacher felt the need to pull me to the side and ask me how I was coping. On the show, they were discussing how Chris Brown and Rihanna had recently collaborated on two new songs, not just Rihanna's Birthday Cake Remix but also on another one of his songs. They discussed how the lyrics were so sexually explicit that they could not play them on television. They speculated that the two singers would soon get back together and said that their choice to do a song together sends the wrong message to young fans, teaching them that abuse is something that should be tolerated and swept under the rug.
I remember my mom covering up bruises with make-up that my father had inflicted on her while drunk and/or high. I remember her pretending as if everything was fine at family events. I remember the arguments that almost always led to fights, and in spite of having lived through that hell the night before my mom still woke us up on time, got us washed, dressed, fed, and off to school everyday. The years of drama that my mom dealt with as my dad's wife gave way to years of drama while trying to get away. It was hell for her. But in the end, after he became clean and sober and apologized for what he had done, she forgave him. They became friends. They were able to talk on the phone for hours and laugh together. My mom never went back to him after the divorce, in spite of my father wanting to marry her again. My mom forgave him because she felt she was not a victim and holding on to anger and hurt wasn't going to do any good for anybody.
Some would argue that this would set a negative example for her daughters, right? Honestly, I think my mom's decision to forgive is part of the reason why I have far healthier relationships than a lot of girls my age. Not only do I not hold on to past hurts, but I am able to walk away from a situation that isn't good for me without having any hard feelings. I know that even if a guy does something terrible to me, it doesn't mean I am weak and should live the rest of my life as a victim, avoiding him and blaming him which does nothing but keep the pain fresh. So I can understand why Rihanna can forgive Chris Brown and decide to do a song with him.
Have we considered for a moment that perhaps she is over it? And I know it pisses a lot of people off to think that she'd get past the violence...but guess what? You don't get to decide how a person heals. You don't get to dictate for Rihanna who she is allowed to forgive. I have to be honest, if they do get back together and do the whole couple thing again I'll totally feel like "Ewwwww...for reals?" However, I think that the people who are complaining that this collaboration communicates a negative message to her fans should also consider the positive message, the one that shows that you are allowed to heal, forgive, and forget. Rihanna doing a song with Chris Brown is not a sign that she thinks abuse of women is alright, I think she has been very vocal about how wrong she thinks Chris Brown was for what he did to her. As a female entertainer myself, I can't help but think that maybe it was empowering for Rihanna to be able to remove the victim stigma that has been associated with her ever since the beating went down. Who the hell wants to be a famous victim?
As a person who witnessed domestic abuse firsthand, I know how damaging it can be for the people involved. Yet, my mom is the strongest woman I've ever known. She is an amazing woman who has endured some of the most difficult hardships you can imagine but she still came out on top. If my mom can forgive over ten years of abuse, move on, start a new and better life, and still stand by my father's side when he was on his death bed, then it is very difficult for me to see Rihanna in the negative light that the media is trying to paint her in just because she let Chris Brown hop on a remix of one of her records. I respect her for her decision to forgive Chris Brown. Maybe you should, too.