I think the way my friends and I try to live our lives is beautiful. We don’t criticize others’ bodies. We ask permission before doing something intimate. We try to communicate fairly even when we’re angry. We don’t criticize each other for missing classes or not having a job or getting an abortion or cutting off contact or not cutting off contact with our abusive families.
We believe in the right to self-determination and self-identification. We believe in the absolute right to bodily autonomy. We live that. We’ve expanded our understandings of violence and abuse beyond what we were originally taught violence looked like, and we live our lives trying to eliminate our perpetuation of violences onto ourselves and others. And I think that is beautiful.
That’s why, even though I know all about why we don’t give people cookies, I think it’s okay to profoundly appreciate, and even be thankful for, each other. Even though we say what we’re trying to do is only be decent human beings. Sure, some people are only out for having their ego stroked when they begrudgingly allow us a part of our lives. But to those people who have made a commitment to living with us accountably, safely, and beautifully–it’s okay to be thankful. Even though everyone should be like that.
So if you have a significant other or friend who’s treated you better than you had been accustomed to expecting, because your expectations were warped by violence and abuse, even as you adjust your expectations–I don’t think you have to reject all the warm fuzzy feelings you get from your beautiful, beautiful relationship. Even if it were what most people do, it would still be beautiful.