I have come to believe that the people we share intimate space with reflect back to us how we feel about ourselves. As I think about my romantic relationships throughout my life, I can honestly say that each one served as a mirror, reflecting how I viewed who I was at that particular time in my life. I can see a difference in how I relate to men now as I have matured and dealt with issues of self worth versus how I related to men during times in my life that I was less aware of my inherent worth. I thank God everyday for growth in this area of my life because, truth be told, my relationships were a doozy.
There have been many comments and commentary on the recent comments made by the owner of the L.A. Clippers, Donald Sterling. Sports commentators, cultural critics, community leaders and bloggers of every ilk have weighed in on the tape that has been released which provides a peek into his psyche. What is revealed is that he has strong opinions about black folk. He’s been called a racist, a redneck, a bigot, a modern day slave owner, with the the Clippers and the NBA playing the role as a 21st century plantation. I would agree with all of these sentiments based on the language, imagery and vitriol that he shared.
However, the most disturbing thing for me has nothing to do with Sterling. It has to do with the fact that a mixed race woman was in an intimate relationship with him. I cannot wrap my mind around how a person who literally embodied that which seemingly disgusts Sterling could be in relationship with this man.
How does one reconcile that the skin they are in is problematic for the person they are with?
What does it do to a soul of a person when they are with someone who inherently rejects who they are?
The conversation that was recorded and subsequently released displayed all the markers of verbal abuse. The term gaslighting came to mind when I listened to the recording. Gaslighting is form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt their own memory, perception or sanity. As I listened to the recording, to V. Stiviano’s comments, apologies and attempts to explain something which needed no explanation, I thought to myself, “She must think so little of herself to be with this man.”
Is it the money? Is money really that powerful of a force? I have no frame of reference for living a lifestyle (lavish or not) that is funded by someone else, with the exception of living with my parents. I would be the last woman interested in exchanging my self-respect for economic benefit. I’m just not wired like that. I don’t know this woman but I can’t fathom how even the lure of money might lead to this type of relationship. Maybe I’m just that naive. My father often says I look at the world through Roze tinted glasses. This must be a case of my vision being distorted.
This story has stuck with me because of my first comment – the people we share intimate space with reflect back to us how we feel about ourselves. What must V. Stiviano feel about herself?