Janay Palmer

I love words. One word, a combination of words, abstract or mainstream algorithm. For me a simple email can be a lyrical snakecharmer, uncoiling and replenishing repressed desire.

But last night, after reading a fb post about Janay Palmer, I wondered about words, the way they divide.

Do you remember Mickey and Mallory Knox, the couple from Natural Born Killers? It’s a marriage I often reference as a mainstay romance in my many-chambered memory lockbox. There was something about their mutual barbarism, violence, and disregard for societal standard that would sweep me into a wistful dream state, in which I’d wish that one day I’d find a man for whom my love was SO STRONG not a firing squad on earth could kill it.

I didn’t grow up in a violent home. My father was and is a kind and generous husband who would throw himself into the fire before raising a hand to his wife or children. But as a young woman, with all the inexperience that lends to misunderstanding and fantasy, Mickey and Mallory’s passion was an unbreakable ideal straight from the belly of Young Adult romance.

That love is indescribable. Literally. You can’t describe it with words.

So when you find yourself in a love that transcends responsibility, safety and societal standard, language won’t catapult you out of it. It won’t have an effect on it. It won’t make her see it your way. Not for a long while, for some of us.

I don’t entirely disagree with you that say Janay doesn’t deserve sympathy. She knew what she was getting into. You can’t argue with the facts, with the words. Idiot. Wifebeater. Stupid.

But what is elusive and is the relative entirety of the situation is the indescribable and illiterate monster that IS love. That joined determination the next morning, when you’re looking into one another’s tear-streaked face, knowing that you will make it out okay. That you will make it out together, forever, okay.

My and Rich’s love is cemented by our children, our humor, and our symbiotic fortitude. I feel the same soulful connection with him that I dreamed about as a teen, only now it’s garnished with a heaping spoonful of experience and better judgement. That sort of love is attainable by responsible, healthy people.

But I have been in that other type of love. I am a sharp, smart woman who fights hard to get my way and isn’t often bowled over by other, more intimidating people. But I was in love, and I was hit, and I didn’t leave. And everyone’s words, well-intended and otherwise, did nothing to dull my furious devotion.

You know how I like to think about it? You know what the worst thing is to say to an anorexic? ‘You’re too skinny.’

All the stuff you’re saying is obvious and irrelevant. Until that illiterate love monster is speared with self-inflicted reason, the words mean nothing. They just hurt, and make her feel stupid and worthless and exposed. I know, trust me.