Gave my first blow job at 6.
Molested by a woman at 9.
Pimped by 10.
Put out at 12.
Thief by 12.
Scrubbed floors for money at 14.
Begged to come home again.
Gun to my head.
Whipped with extensions cords, broomsticks, and water hoses in front of friends—who never let me forget it.
Made to laugh while hands hit over and over again with a wire hanger until they bled.
Pushed down a flight of stairs.
Head crushed through a sheetrock wall for protecting my oldest sister’s possible pregnancy.
Lied about my age to sell shoes at 15.
Gave the money to my family to help with bills.
Scared I would fight her back.
On the streets by 16
Worked the strip clubs by 16.
My cruelty caused a man who loved me to slit his wrists.
Took care of him out of guilt.
Refused to be cruel to another living soul as long as I lived.
Vowed to take the hit for those I loved.
Stopped going to school to work.
Mastered street life. Especially the money part.
Got good at figuring out what people needed.
That knowledge kept me alive.
Got better at reading people.
Got turned out.
Got masterful at hearing what people don’t say.
Built a system of safe houses and people who had my back… for a price.
Life became transactional.
My divorce was finalized on Friday.
When I say this is the end of an era, the actual dissolution of the marriage is not what I’m addressing.
Yes, my marriage is over, and I saw to it that my former spouse is taken care of. From health insurance to stock to retirement to beautiful furniture. And cash. We lived an AMAZING lush life when we were together. And I am grateful. It was a successful marriage by any standard and I honor the ten years of love we shared.
But here’s the truth: I married for kindness, not character.
Said another way, I picked someone that was a match for my survival strategies: my people pleaser, my make you love me, my take-care-of-you-in-exchange-of-you-taking-care-of-me wounds.
My marriage was a trade.
Transaction under the auspices of love.
I thought if I took care of you, you would be loyal to me and have my back.
That’s not love.
Love, real love, is Nanna.
Real love is Ivy.
Real love is Seraphina.
Real love is John, who’s in prison.
Real love is Happy.
Real love is unconditional. No ask. No payback. No obligation. No judgment. No condemnation.
Real love is acceptance. Actual acceptance of everything I am and everything I am not or ever will be or can be.
I wish my former spouse love and success. My prayer is she finds someone who can love her the way she wants to be loved. I am grateful for our season and I am extremely grateful this season is over.
I am grateful for the divorce. I thank God that my former spouse couldn’t honor my boundaries.
Because she couldn’t respect my wounds and needs, it forced me to confront the lies I had been living under since I was a child.
I started telling the truth and learning how to say no, to stand for myself in the face of disapproval, judgment, condemnation, surprise attacks, and emotional manipulation.
Just like Momma.
It’s amazing how much my birth mom and my former spouse are alike. (It’s true: we DO marry our parents. LOL.) Both of them lived in a world of love = entitlement & obligation.
And just like I had to buy my mother’s love I had to do the same with my spouse.
No regret, just wisdom. But I realize now if someone loves you, you don’t have to buy it.
So, when I say this is the end of an era, I truly mean an era of my entire existence where I buy love, people please, self-sacrifice, acquiesce, earn it, prove it, make it work, quietly beg for inclusion, over-give, keep the peace or being driven by people’s approval.
I emancipate myself from the survival strategies of the past that were born in pain.
I keep the wisdom as I surrender the behavior.
I put myself first, and I love myself so completely, I am no longer swayed by kindness or compliments or accusations.
I am a free woman who lives her truth out loud.
I used to think freedom was the ability to walk away or speaking my mind.
But there is a deeper freedom. Freedom now means to stand in my truth, unafraid of the fallout.
I truly am unafraid. My sense of self is no longer defined by people, things, or accolades.
I am no longer addicted to approval or acceptance, or even love.
I love me.
God loves me.
My family loves me.
Moses is dead.
Beauty for ashes.
It is finished.
Tomorrow is the dawn of a new era in my life where I live as a free woman, unencumbered by the past.
Freedom costs. I happily paid the price. And would pay it again, and again and again to love me, trust me, and design my life through destiny-driven actions, instead of reactionary ones.
I truly am my own best thing.
So, let it be written, I, Dr. Venus Opal Reese, declare, decree and proclaim, my independence from every stronghold, yoke, belief, fear, thought and wound that no longer serves me.
I walk into my destiny, free and unafraid.
And if someone decides they need to come for me.
Let. Them. Come.
I am my father’s daughter. (The pimp/hustler/gangsta that sired me and the heavenly one who is the very air I breathe.) I’m “Street Certified” and proud of who I am. #thestreetsneverleftme
Jesus fulfilled the law; I embody it.
I bask in deliverance; I relish the anointing on my life.
I am God’s favorite. And there is NOTHING this world can do to ever change that.
No emotional or mental bondage.
Pain is not personal.
I refuse to let the past/pain win. F*ck that. I am free from it all.
I let my freedom ring and swing from the rafters.
My freedom rings. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.
Yeah… I let my freedom ring… and reverberated around the world with souls who have eyes to see and ears to hear my truth.