Two minutes have never impressed me more.
Last Sunday, while watching the Grammys, I was pulled out of my mental lethargy when President Obama’s video appeared and I listened to him speak about violence against women and girls and the #ItsOnUs campaign. I was frankly surprised that the Grammys would take valuable time to include a message of substance like this, and I was super–impressed. But that’s not the 2 minutes I’m talking about.
What happened next woke me up! I saw the woman appear on stage. I heard her say her name, Brooke Axtell. I spent the first few seconds trying to figure out what band she is with or what pop song she sings. I listened as she began to talk. I kept expecting something funny and entertaining to happen. I watched her and listened as she talked. I realized she is a woman of education and some means. I heard her tell her story about falling in love with a charismatic and handsome man who slowly began to reveal himself as a threat. I was impressed with her authenticity as she explained that she committed herself to saving him and was then ashamed to realize she had chosen to be with a monster. I was captivated by her vulnerability as she described herself in a cycle of domestic violence and was nearly killed. I was moved to tears as she urged every person listening to use their voice to save themselves and others, to be a light in the darkness. I was moved to tears as I witnessed this woman set herself free, there alone on that big stage in front of all those people, and allow herself to be who she really is. Valuable. Beautiful. Loved.
I don’t think that being a victim of physical abuse is necessary to relate to Brooke Axtell’s story. So many women I know, myself included, have dived into an exciting relationship with a man only to discover slowly, bit by bit over time, that he needs our “help.” He never directly asks or demands. No. He’s a master of manipulation. He deviously compels us to devote all of our energy to him. He deftly activates our kindness and responsibility buttons to save him, heal him or fix him. And we try our damnedest. Finally, exhausted, we realize that we were doomed to failure from the start. We could never save him, heal him or fix him. And as we realize that we’ve been duped, that’s when the shame kicks in and prompts us to silence. Because when we reach out, that’s when we hear our families and friends say things to us like, ‘How could a woman like you, who’s so smart, so well educated, so successful, so attractive, so you’ve-got-everything-going-for-you, let that happen to you?’
Hear Brooke Axtell when she says, “Your voice will save you. Let it part the darkness.”
Hear Brooke Axtell when she says, “Authentic love does not silence, shame, abuse.”
I want you to really hear that message. Authentic love encourages, honors, respects and uplifts. Authentic love speaks directly and asks for what it desires.
I am devoted to transformation for myself and others through telling a new story that focuses on one’s desires. And one’s desires always include authentic love. I think that Ms. Axtell’s Grammys speech is a perfect example of how to tell a new story in such a way that one is true to herself and uses that moment, her words, to break her old pattern of the helpless victim into an empowered call to action which shifts the listener into awareness for change.
I applaud Grammys producer, Ken Ehrlich, for not only entertaining us with exceptional musical talent on Sunday evening, but using that commercially valuable time, the best two minutes of the Grammys, to teach us and inspire us and encourage us and uplift us.
I support President Obama and Brooke Axtell in this message to support all women, all people, to go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them. I am so proud to include their message as my first blog in “Thrival: The Blog” on my website, www.winthebreakup.net, as I launch my coaching program, Win the Breakup!