The Power of Being a Free Woman

Up to 70 percent of all Turkish women are abused by their spouses.  Physically, sexually, emotionally, or financially.  Wow.  Look around you, folks.  That’s a lot of women.

I remember the looks I got from some “friends” in the States when I decided to marry.  It was as if I had let them down.  Of course, this is my own perception of what they were thinking.  But I felt as if they thought I was stepping down, that I was giving in, that I had changed somehow and not for the better, that I would no longer be me.

It’s not true.  I am a free woman.  And with that comes tremendous power.  

I'm Free

Up to 70 percent of all Turkish women are abused by their spouses.

I never got a chance to meet either of my grandmothers, and that is one of my deepest regrets.  One, German, who lived through both the Great War and WWII.  The other an African American woman who survived the Depression, the wars, and many other hardships.  Germans and black Americans are known to be strong women.  And I have all of their traits.

The last piece of my puzzle fell into place when I read The Four Agreements.  I have mentioned this book many times in my blog posts but have never described the Agreement that I have found most valuable, “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”  In a nutshell, it means don’t take anything anyone says personally, whether good or bad, an insult or a compliment, because it is not about you.  It is only about them.  It’s a reflection of their own personal experiences.  

 “Everything we do is based on agreements we have made – agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth.”

http://www.miguelruiz.com/index.php?p=Books#book2

It is with this Agreement that I finally learned, or at least realized that I had to learn, that talking tough was not enough.  I had to be tough.  I had to stop saying that I was proud of me and start actually being proud of me.  I needed to stop looking to others for affirmation. Everything I needed was right there in front of me.

When I moved to Turkey some things did change.  My appearance, for example, became more conservative.  I threw away most of my mini skirts and stopped wearing low cut blouses.  It didn’t really bother me that a low-cut top would cause men to stop dead in their tracks.  I have big boobs.  Men have always done that.  I either don’t notice or respond by staring them down.  I changed my dress out of respect for my husband, because it made him more comfortable in this Muslim land.  And that was easy enough for me to do.

Up to 70 percent of all Turkish women are abused by their spouses.

Over the past two weeks, in the west coast of this same Muslim land, I dressed like I would at any beach.  I wore shorts and short skirts,  I walked around publically in my bathing suit.  I wore low-cut tops.  And I simply chose to forego a bra on a regular basis.  

Ain’t life grand?!

Things in Turkey are sometimes different.  But I am not.  I recently learned that a woman my age is considering a marrying a man she never met.  He has passed on his interest to her through friends of friends.  I have to wonder why she would even consider this?  I know she is a widow.  I know there appears to be security in having a husband.  I know that there will definitely be more respect shown to her if she is married.  But I also have to wonder, what kind of self-esteem does she, or Turkish women in general, have?

I get the opportunity to meet all types of women here.  Doctors and lawyers.  Housewives.  Rich and poor.  Educated and not.  Strict conservatives and those who consider themselves atheists.  How many of them are of the seventy percent? And how different are they from women back home?

In the States, women still rely on men for money, for security, for houses, for jewelry, for permission to do the things they want, for affirmation that they are beautiful.

I am a powerful free woman and I have a wonderful husband who respects that.  I earn my own cash.  I buy my own houses.  I pay for my own jewelry.  I do what I want, when I want.  And I know that I am beautiful.  I also know that beauty is only skin deep.

There is great beauty in the power of being a free woman.  The power of being able to say, “I don’t give a flying fuck!” is an awesome thing.

 

 

If you or someone you know need help, please contact the police in your area immediately!  There are shelters for women throughout Turkey as well as support groups.  

To read more information about the abuse of women in Turkey, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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