I’d like to share what my friend of over twenty years, Lisa, meant to me…
“Looking for my exit and about to bail, I saw Lisa across the floor, looking me in the eyes, smiling with a hard determination that said, “You got this,” a belief in me I often borrowed to find my center again and keep going.”
Linda Kay Gifford
SELF TALK - find your Lisa
Lisa and I had a love hate relationship. It’s not like we ever weren’t speaking, we just spent a lot of time together and our brutal honesty sometimes led us into heated arguments. And, though we did love each other, we weren’t lesbians, despite the rumor one of my ex’s spread around, Lol!
We were better. We were sisters.
We were on first call for flat tire rescues and I’ve-had-to-much-to-drink late night taxi runs. We were always up for accompanying each other to dance clubs, not as wing-women, but as protection.
We could count on each other.
We met before we had kids. She’d been at my band’s shows, always dancing alone and then disappearing to a side table, keeping to herself with a smile like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Seriously. I think maybe she posed for it in a past life?
Once, we ended up stranded in a room together and, after a few glasses of merlot, she confessed that she had always thought I was a bitch because I kept to myself. I said, I thought the same thing about you.
I admired her ability to tune out the world and just live in her own head, dancing with her eyes closed. I wanted to be like Lisa.
We became fast friends.
She’d had it worse than me and survived. Having married young, she was routinely locked into her home and raped at gunpoint by her own husband. Escaping that was no easy feat.
Suffice it to say, Lisa survived and thrived and, though she never truly trusted any man, she did her best to keep her heart open. Long story short, had two beautiful children and eventually found true love.
Whatever else, Lisa was fearless. She’d been through hell and back and wasn’t letting anyone hold her down again. I wasn’t so advanced in self-fulfillment. I marveled at her zest for her life in both shock and awe.
Nothing pissed her off more than when I acted like a wuss or degraded myself.
No pity parties with Lisa, just fuck them, get on with it.
I remember choking up on stage, performing “Little Girl”, a song I wrote directly relating my own experience with sexual abuse and suicidal thoughts.
Looking for my exit and about to bail, I saw Lisa across the floor, looking me in the eyes, smiling with a hard determination that said, “You got this,” a belief in me I often borrowed to find my center again and keep going.
People like that don’t come around every day. There was a kindred spirit that tied us together, even before we knew what it was. And after we shared our past experiences,
we argued even harder,
laughed even louder,
danced even longer,
dreamed even bigger.
My advice to those who feel isolated in your experience of abuse is - find your Lisa. Share your fear and your hopes with a fellow survivor.
*Lisa died unexpectedly a few years ago, devastating a lot of hearts, but not before she helped me take back my “self”, for which I will be forever grateful.