Cactus Woman in Suspense , 2022
60 x 42 x 1 in (h x w x d)
Mixed Media

"You can't love anyone with one foot out the door. All of you must be all in, or not at all. I found it easy to leave people I tried to love, not because I was always dying to leave, but they didn't have the courage to embrace all of me, and ask me to stay. In these cases, I found partners who were never really there, but were preoccupied and never really got to know who I was, what I was about, what made my gears turn. I was property, a chick, a disposable thing, a warm body – but never a person.

Instinctively, perhaps I knew how they felt and was just going through the motions, thinking I was the eccentric oddity who wanted a human connection but thought none existed in real-life romantic relationships. Relationship purgatory no longer interested me. I wanted – no, I needed something more."

M.B. Dallocchio, "The Desert Warrior"

When it comes to love, we all have our baggage. We've been hurt, disappointed, and let down.

When I was still living in Arizona, I had to flee, while pregnant, from an abuser. I had no help from any organization, just from women who wanted to help keep me safe from a violent predator. I was all alone and I had to protect myself and my future child. When you live in that kind of environment, you learn very quickly who you can count on – and it's not always the people you think it is.

This painting depicts the moment I decided to break the toxic cycle of being exploited and abused in one of the most vulnerable moments in my life. I was done accepting toxic love or situationships. I deserved better. You deserve better too.

Toxic love is anything that's not based on mutual respect, trust, and communication. It's anything that leaves you feeling bad about yourself – physically, mentally, or emotionally. If your relationship is making you question your worth, it's time to walk away.

It's not always easy to let go of something familiar, even if it isn't good for us. But we have to remember that we deserve to be loved – truly, madly, deeply in the most healthy ways. We deserve a partner who is fully committed to us and our relationship. And if we're not getting that, we need to walk away before it's too late.

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