Americans love a happy ending. We cheer for the good guy. The hero overcomes every obstacle; walks away with barely a scratch. Our movies, our theater, our music all reflect that.
Oh, we can tolerate an occasional film noir or song in a minor key. Just for the change it makes. But, in the end, we want the good guy to win.
All too often, life does not work out that way. The good guy is beaten or at least beaten down. Some of us have to climb the same hill every day. So have we failed? Have abuse victims let down the audience?
No, we have not. We may have internalized an unrealistic standard, may believe we have come up short if our lives are not lived with Prince (or Princess) Charming in a rose covered cottage. But the reality is that it takes enormous courage and enormous strength simply to survive abuse.
We bear the wounds of a combat between the armed and unarmed, a war to which we were subjected before the age of consent. The physical and psychological scars can last a lifetime. To have endured is to have won.
So, go ahead. Cheer for the good guy. We know what you mean, even if your image of a winner is not exactly the same as ours.
We make our own happy endings.
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