Life can do unexpected beat downs on your azz. So can people you care about, live, work or go to school with, and that works both ways.
Getting - or giving - a beat down is sort of like Russian Roulette. You wake up and everything is normal. By nightfall something has happened to change all that.
Or it can be more insidious.
An issue or series of events develop. It could be anything, from your habits to your health, to your lover, your work or school environment, the neighbors, community, or nation.
You let it go, because you'd be an idiot and drama queen to fight every battle that falls in your lap. A bad day work is usually just bad day, a sneeze just a sneeze, a slight or insult something to be ignored, or not taking a loved one's unusual quietness or bad mood personal.
Some things really do work out themselves by simply not reacting. These beat downs may hurt, but they're rubber bullets that sting but don't harm.
There may be a situation where you don't see the warning signs pile up. You are partially or fully blind and deaf to them. Someone around you usually has a clue and may try to let you know, but not always.
These warning signs could be in yourself, or another person, or a thing, or event. If you look at what and how you were doing in life a year or five ago, and measure it against all of your habits, the kind of people you chilled with, your health, income, and other resources, and if you're a parent, the difference of your child then vs. now, you'll have an idea whether you're getting the kind of beat down that chips away at you slowly.
Whether in slow motion before it explodes, or unexpectedly sudden, a beat down is inherently traumatic. Something in your world has collapsed.
These traumas can be physical, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual. They can result in a 'pseudo-death', or death of the spirit, in any of those categories, but except for the first one, can also result in Transformation.
I thought of this after seeing Chris Brown's new video, "I'll Transform Ya" (see below) It was released today, and his first since being released from jail for assaulting his now ex-girlfriend, Rihanna.
A few days earlier, I listened to Rihanna's newly released song, "Russian Roulette" (also see below). Her video hasn't yet been released, but I can't wait to see it. It was also her first release since receiving a beat down from Chris Brown.
In case you don't know, Chris Brown watched his mother get beat downs from his step-fathr as a child. This was the Russian Roulette which Life played on him - to be born into a family where this would happen, and that he'd be around on the days and times to witness it.
Seeing your mama get her azz whipped ain't easy to watch, in case you really never thought about. I think these incidents not only did a beat down on his semi-conscious psyche, but also transformed him. A new dimension was added to his character as a boy by the very man he despised.
The thing is, nobody knew, not even him. Years ago when he was innocent of the bullet within his soul, he told Oprah about the what had happened. Having seen domestic abuse against his mother, he couldn't imagine doing it.
I don't know what kind of childhood or young adult emotional baggage Rihanna has, but since everyone has some, let's assume one reason these two were so attracted to each another is because they had matching suitcases.
On that fateful night, the long dormant psychological bullet was in the chamber. The way they handled their feelings triggered it. Few know the full story, and the Internet rumors of her part are ugly and unconfirmed, so I'll skip spreading them. However, she did get really pissed off when she saw a text message on his cell phone - not hers - from another woman.
This suggests issues with trust, which may well have been warranted, but also possessiveness. The latter is kind of sticky issue since most lovers are somewhat possessive of each other, and when not, usually the connection is not very tight.
Whether he was cheating on her or not, having his privacy violated and whatever she said to him really pissed him off. He had possessive issues too, based on his gut reactions of what he felt entitled to do. Intellectually he surely knew better, but as a detached and distant observer, I think his feelings short-circuited his judgment.
Instead of expressing his anger verbally, or shutting down emotionally and driving her home until he cooled off, his childhood psychic bullet fell into the chamber, and he snapped.
I think the two were playing symbolic Russian Roulette.
They both lost.
With non-physical death, comes the opportunity for transformation. To be what you were not before, or before Life corrupted or harmed an innocent piece of you.
Life's Russian Roulette hands you those opportunities whether you want them or not. Shit happens. You get a beat down. You either stay beat down or get up, only to get beat down from the same shit or in a different way, and pull yourself up on another day. This is because nobody, but nobody, wins all the time. You do this until the day you die.
Neither Chris nor Rihanna wrote the new songs they're singing. Call it coincidence, but there's something almost mystical about those two doing those songs with those lyrics, and the timing.
In his brilliant, artistically made video, Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Swiss Beatz, symbolically are the cars, motorcycles and tanks. They ooze of power as they transform into them and back again.
The message is that they can transform a woman's life as providers of material comforts. It's an old value that's been around since time began.
In Rihanna's musically mezmerizing and thought-provoking song, she sings about the mad love of two lovers. The woman follows his lead in proving her love in a game of Russian Roulette. After his turn, her mind and heart won't let her back out. As he implied when they began, we're playing for keeps, baby, and this is a test . She pulls the trigger. You hear the bang.
We can assume that crazy love, the thing that made them both feel so alive, killed her.
The new video not released yet,
but this one has the song & chilling lyrics.
And yeah, it's not lost on me how easy it is to crack jokes about these new songs/videos, and the recent history of the two people singing in them. The challenge is to also think from a sociological perspective, to see the forest, not just two of the trees. Their music is what it is: an extreme of what many of us go through or put each other through.
I personally like power and crazy love. I won't lie, and you shouldn't either: they feel good - while it's good. Having power minimizes the beat downs even when you got it coming (I'm speaking figuratively, not literally, of when you azz up), and mutual mad love is just great.
For many folks, however, it takes trial and error to learn when the transforming power in their relationship and mad love for one another has gone too far, and into the hellish realm of self and other-destruction.
It's all about balance.
Chris Brown hints of this in his second released song, Crawl. His history of watching domestic abuse, then having adult power plus too much pressure tipped him off balance and he fell to his knees. I take it he's learned a few things; he's certainly had enough time in jail to reflect.
Can't wait to hear Rihanna's
I won't judge if they get back together, or remain apart, but I'd hope both remain in counseling either way. Him, so he won't repeat his aggression, and her, so she won't enable him or be attracted to the next guy with that hidden issue.
Learning to balance is also about developing the ability to not let the downside of either power or passion transform you to your demise.
To get the hell up and transform for the better, after Life's Russian Roulette game shoots you down.
To not make excuses for yourself if you do harm, or for the other who to did harm to you.
In other words, to learn and grow without succumbing to bitterness and hate, which is a form of death.
When I look in the mirror at myself and the reflections of everyone I've ever known, I think to myself, easier said than done.
This has been installment #9 of my long-running Hard Rocks Love series.
Fascinating interview - Rihanna speaks out for the first time on Good Morning America. She states toward the end that love is blind, but note that it is her altruism for others that gave her insight into the game they played.