As a young woman of African and Native descent in the West, a child that survived an abortion attempt and was rescued and adopted, I have multiple layers of intersecting trauma and woundedness from ancestral cycles of dysfunction and pain that crystallised in very particular personal instances that irreversibly shaped my personality and perception of the world. Internalising rejection and abandonment Mother and Father wounds, I had to contextualise my trauma as I came to terms with the fact that my biological parents both chose not to parent me due to their own wounds. My feelings of low self worth and the lack of healthy dual-parent modeling of Divine Femininity and Masculinity in the home led me down a path of self-discovery peppered with anxieties and self-loathing. Despite the enormous love, attentiveness, encouragement, and validation I received from my adopted Mom, I couldn’t shake the resentment and internalised worthlessness from knowing my birth mother and my biological father seemed to simply not want me. Thus, this insecurity and the void left by my father was a vacuum in which I sought to fill that empty space with false validation from men I thought I “Loved” in an extremely unhealthy, all-consuming, obsessive, and ultimately damaging way, including extreme codependency and self-martyrdom. I chose men that were clearly troubled, romanticising their woundedness I thought matched my own, feeling that because they were hurt (and they, too, lacked honorable and consistent Fathers), they could understand my hurt and we could grown, “love” and heal together or, worse perhaps, that I could “heal him” with my “acceptance” of their “flaws” and “willingness” to “ride or die” as– I hoped– they would heal and transform into the Knights and Saviours I secretly hoped they would be.
I subconsciously romanticisied a toxic empathy for wounded men– my beautiful, elegant, feminine adopted Mom modeled intelligence and eloquence tempered by reserve, modesty, and strong self-reliance, however, because she chose to remain single all my life, I began to internalise resentment of her in my teenage and young adult years because I felt she, too, denied me a father figure, even as a(n) [adopted] “step-father.” I didn’t know until after her death from cancer in 2012 that she, too, had been in an abusive marriage at the age of 19 which she quickly left and went into the Air Force. She had never shared that with me and I felt she was “too Perfect,” or “too intelligent” for men, intimidating them, and that she perhaps should have lowered her standards (the standards she instilled lovingly into me) so that I could at least see a man in the home growing up. You know that old saying “a piece of man is better than no man at all” that has eviscerated us as a collective, an entire generation of Black Women millennials. Seeing my resentment for her not having a man and choosing to raise me on her own– despite my extreme gratitude for her adopting me and literally saving my life, instilling good values in me– I thought I should lower my standards and work with the men I could get, idealising “building together” and working through our traumas and dysfunction together.
I was confused by mixed messages of what “love” was– my mother, despite remaining single, told me beautiful stories of “waiting for the Right One,” a Prince of a man who would sweep me off my feet, lay me on our marriage bed gently, hold doors open for me, and carry me through hardship, honoring my emotions, patient, kind, and generously guiding me. Yet that didn’t add up with her perpetual alone-ness (I can’t say loneliness because her stoicism and decision never to talk about her relationships didn’t allow me to even see or consider she was in fact lonely, if at all). I was also beset by media images on tv and in film that told drastically different stories. I was indelibly imprinted by films like Eve’s Bayou, Waiting to Exhale, and What’s Love Got To Do With It” at an early age, and the soundtracks to The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale were constantly on repeat in my WalkMan headphones. There is irrefutable power in the images and sounds one immerses oneself in repeatedly. Those “sad love songs” became mantras that unconsciously affected me down to a cellular level. I internalised that “love” had to hurt, romanticised a “bittersweet” love that hurt and then somehow magically got better over time or, on the other end of the spectrum, that passionate, intense “love” dazzlingly, frighteningly crashed and burned fast.
After being groomed by pedophiles from the age of 12, I hardened in my confusion into an angsty, rebellious mix of a “Black Power Fist”- pumping, Malcolm X quoting, ripped jeans-and-black-lipstick wearing Punk Rock Militant, dangerously intelligent and had quickly learned to mask emotion with my intellectualism and seek validation through being an articulate, brilliant provocateur. My opinionated assertiveness was the mask for the deep insecurity and dissociation from my body and castrated femininity, a vulnerability I felt I couldn’t afford due to being preyed upon and repeatedly discarded. I surrounded myself with platonic male friends and had estranged relationships with other women fraught with betrayal, yet I made the mistake of meeting “men” that were wounded with my masculinised competitive intellect masking the unfathomable depths of anxiety-ridden, dark, morbid, obsessive and needy “love.” I wanted a man to “love” me so much, I accepted men who didn’t respect me, nor did I truly respect. I felt entitled to their desire and felt compelled to sacrifice myself for their mere presence and tolerance.
Having been fascinated with spirituality and Jungian archetypes from a young age, I courted “Dark Goddesses” of Love, Sex, and War like Kali ma, The Morrighan, Persephone, Lilith, Oya, Pomba Gira, Inanna, and Isthar, their worship a safe space for me to explore and own my Shadow with the morbid glee of my young AltBlackGirl Gothic self. I was comfortable in my Shadow, a gift of introspection allowing me to revel in the excavation of my wounds, swimming in my trauma, finding myself at home in the murky depths of my pain and self-martyrdom. It was the Light I hid from. Accepting and owning that, too, I deserved Love, Support, and Truth, unconditional and consistent. In lieu of a Father, the Masculine archetypes I glorified were gangsters and Mafia Men– the Corleones and the dapper, suit-wearing Padrinos of Scorcese films. On the other end of the spectrum, my immersion into grungy punk rock culture, too, established a strange affinity for images of “tortured rock stars” and “heroin-chic” wounded bad guys and addicts (think Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison meets Mark Renton as played by Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting) that needed serious help. As a poet, too, and literary artist, I was lost in the fantasy of the “tortured artist” archetype and felt pain– even, and especially, in relationships– would enhance my creativity. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a peaceful exchange of mutual respect. The only Masculinity I Respected and recognised was Machiavellian subterfuge and “it’s not personal, it’s business” degrees of Power.
A poet and a wounded young woman, I didn’t realise true Masculinity and especially Black Divine Masculinity is consistent, Present, supportive, and embodied empathy (distinguishable from [ef]feminised “sensitivity”). It wasn’t until the extreme acute trauma of my ex husband murdering my firstborn son that I realised I had made a literal grave mistake of idealising a destructive “love” in a marriage fraught with abuse and chronic homelessness that eviscerated me and our children completely, all to be a “ride or die” committed to a sociopath I thought I could “heal” with.
After separating and later divorcing my ex, and going through deep exploration and lots of therapy, I began to re-assess my willfully perpetuated faulty programs of this wounded “love” and that what I was really seeking was the validation of Respect from a Divine Masculine that I could Respect and Trust for the consistency and discipline of his character and Commitment. I chose to be accountable for my painfully misguided, trauma-informed bad decisions. I chose to show myself Self Respect by Committing to myself, encouraging myself to be consistent with self care and choosing to believe in myself. I choose to regard this is Self Respect that is disintclty different from the often unrealistically romanticised sense of “Self Love” trending on social media these days– a Self Respect that held me accountable, gently, pushing for my healing instead of self-enabling, and choosing not to overidealise or overestimate myself to the point of pedalising then discarding myself in the same vicious manner as my narcissistic abusers– men and women– had done to me, with my permission, all my life.
Through this process, I began attracting Divine Masculine figures (and even recognising Divine Masculinity I never quite clearly saw before in men that had been close to me for years, like my best friend Jay whom I’ve known since the age of 5) that were patient and held space for and advised me from a platonic state of genuinely unconditional Care and Respect. Through men in my life showing up to model for me the brilliance of the masculine mind and show me, in their own ways, what my Father wasn’t there to, I was healed in a profound way I am still not yet to accurately articulate. I learned that, like myself, many emotionally immature women (particularly those without true functional Eldership and/or without healthy and Present Fathers in their lives to guide and model masculinity for them), too often, like sighing poets, deal in dreams and fleeting, inconsistent, untrustworthy “Love” based in an ebb and flow of emotion that isn’t steady and is all-encompassing and incomprehensible to the masculine mind, like the power of the Sea. Men need– and reciprocate– the consistency of Respect, that is disciplined, focused, and is maintained even when you don’t “like” everything a man does. With “Love” with some women, if he does “one wrong thing” in the slightest, she “doesn’t love” him anymore and nitpicks. However with respect, even if he does something a woman doesn’t like, she can’t deny his integrity and the character traits that compel her unflagging respect. That’s why Beyoncé and High Value women stay even after instances of infidelity: it’s not just because of the money; it is clear that, for a man like Jay Z to have that type of money, he obviously has character and intelligence that she respects more than little personal things she may dislike.
This revelation enabled me to go from disempowering and self deprecating Inner programs to knowing my own determination and discipline as a form of magick, as modeled by The Magician archetypes of Divine Masculinity in my life, going from always second guessing myself and seeking external validation, to knowing I Am irreplaceable, inimitable, and valuable inherently. The funny thing about “attraction” is that many perceive it as some glamour, candle/oil/spell, or magnetism that actively pulls something to you; it is in fact merely BEing, authentically, and allowing that BEing to set the vibration around oneself that is so high, it is only purity, sincerity, and the certainty of the world’s lavish abundance in which one dwells. It is only power, passion, and indefatigable confidence on the frequency of Abundance one is enveloped within, as inextricable from oneself as the baby is in mother’s womb, unaware of any separation between herself and the vastness of Mother. BEing, authentically, and being anchored and consistent in that Being is what men Respect in the Feminine state of surrendering to and in that BEing. Men don’t “Love” as is commonly interpreted by the collective. Men Respect that which, like their nature, is concrete instead of abstract, fixed in determination, firm in conviction, founded in certainty and consistency, and is confident in one’s power. Respect gets women further with men than their elusive, fleeting, mutable, and illusory feelings of “Love”. Being certain in “I AM” is the sure way to “Love” a man and be Loved (even platonically), his intrigue and commitment piqued by respect, his protective nature compelled by authentic vulnerability that affirms one’s power rather than obstructs it.
To conclude, I include a poem I wrote:
You are a poet
As I am a woman
Poets and women deal in sighs and dreams,
free with their hearts, indeed
Yet even my trembling woman’s heart
Full of longing
Knows that Respect, rather than “Love”,
Be the more valuable currency
And the honor of Gracefully bearing responsibility
Is the crown of steadfastness, a prized virtue,
Humility that turns a wretch into a Queen
All words © November 2021, Gloria C. Steele aka/DBA Hadassah Chauah Hadara
Published November 18, 2021
2 thoughts on “The Magician in the Man; Relating, Respect, and Reciprocity ”
This is so beautiful. I’m glad I know you and understand you so much more. Your life wasn’t easy. You literally were chased by death in the womb and have been with it since your incarnation. Not just the physical death but also the metaphorical. Transformation. Every moment of your life, orchestrated. I love you deeply and I’m grateful that you chose to remain here and receive the bliss literally lined up for you. I have to be honest! I’ve been brought to years reading this – good tears. You’re a warrior without a single scar to show for. That’s glorious indeed!
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All Glory to The Most High! I love you deeply my Brother, and I’m also in joyful tears reading your words. This is so encouraging to me and so rewarding of my vulnerability to share this. So thankful my transparency is not in vain and my journey is used to bless others through my story. You know and perceive the Truth of my life’s archetypal journey so deeply and I am in continuous awe of the magnificent Purpose (the “Big Picture” in other words) of my life and our connection– parallel and intertwined. Thank you for this. My Heart is glad!