Brave, Bruised, Beautiful

I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.
                                                                                               The Greatest Showman

Something new happened to me recently. I was shamed–I didn’t even realize I was being shamed at first, initially it felt more like a scolding, which to be honest was just as wrong. They did not know my story – nor did they care to even venture a “what brings you here” kind of conversation. Somehow this person felt sure enough in themselves to judge me based on what they thought they knew about me. It hurt my feelings – I didn’t let on in front of them but when I got to my car I started crying- not a lot, but a cry nonetheless. I told myself all the things that I knew to be true: I am not my circumstances, my value is not defined by my past, I am worthwhile and worth it – regardless of whether or not this person believed it.

Three years ago, maybe even one year ago I am not sure if I would have rebounded as quickly.  But had they paused to talk to me and not at me, they would have discovered that I make no apologies or excuses for where I am at right now, where I am at this moment because I know “this moment” isn’t going to be forever. So when they turned to me and in a superior manner said “I hope I’ve helped you” as they were walking out the door, little did they know exactly how they helped.

You see, I’m not afraid of you –of how you want to rank me in order of being worthy of your time. I’m not afraid of your words –my value isn’t measured by how you see me. I’m not afraid of your influence in society-you don’t know me and you never will. I have fought a fight that you will never know, I have battle scars that you can only hope you never have to endure, and I found the courage to stand when others might have buckled. So yes, you did help me – you reminded me that I have come a long way, and while my journey is far from over, it is still my journey. Next time we meet I hope you can see beyond the superficial, beyond the story, beyond the circumstances. Next time I hope you see past the bruises, past the bumps, past the scars – I hope you see the fire that’s inside me, fueled ever stronger by my encounter with you.

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I Don’t Think So!

This is going to be a different kind of post for me… its pretty reactive but I just can’t get it outta my “craw.”

I was reading one of those articles where one writes in for advice and the so-called expert chimes in. In this particular instance, a husband and wife were going to be returning to their hometown and she wants to hang out with old college friends,which includes an ex…. someone she was only with for a few weeks but with whom she had an intimate relationship. And apparently she feels obligated to include/see him since they share mutual friends.

The husband is uncomfortable with her hanging around the ex and though he knows this guy (he came to their wedding!) he has tried on numerous occasions to share his feelings with his wife… to which she replies “get over it.”

The question he asked the advice columnist–Was it OK for him to ask his wife not to see this guy because it caused him so much anxiety, or should he listen to his wife and just deal with his feelings of anxiousness. This so-called advice columnist told him that he needed to be open to his wife spending time with the group, including this guy, and that he should -and I quote, “…for goodness sake, be cool about it.

Are you KIDDING me?! How many of us look back and wish we had trusted our gut? I remember telling M that I knew something was going on, I was just trying to sort out the pieces. It’s a weird feeling but when you feel something isn’t right – most of the time something isn’t right. And for this “advice expert” to tell this husband that his feelings aren’t justified or valid and that he should be perfectly fine knowing that his wife was only trying the guy on for size before she met her now husband…. give me a flippin’ break!

I’m by no means qualified to give this guy advice, but if he asked me, I would tell him that if his wife can’t acknowledge the present emotional stress that she puts on her husband and marriage by maintaining this link to her past, then its time to reconsider the future.

Ok, rant managed.

 

 

 

I See You

I’ve seen lots of comments about eating better, exercising more, and becoming financially stable. All of this seems reasonable as it is the start of a new year. As I look back on the past couple of years, 2015 was my year of acknowledging the craziness of the prior year, 2016 was the year of Z- where I chose not to accept any new obligations, I withdrew from existing obligations, and I embraced what my pastor’s wife taught me, “No thank you is a complete sentence.”

I own the mistakes I’ve made and that I make. Realizing that brings me back to August 2014 after M told me what he did.  At the encouragement of a friend, I started talking to a counselor specializing in affair recovery. What I remember now is that in the conversation, part of the counselor’s advice was that I was too passive and that I needed to take more of a stronger stance. That doing so would show M that I wasn’t a pushover and that M would find that attractive and see that he didn’t want to leave me after all.  I did my best to do what the counselor told me to do, but if I were having that conversation today I would tell him “Bullsh*t – why is it my fault?”

I was labeled and blamed for a lot of things that year, some I assumed on my own…some given by M, and some by others who didn’t know better.  I know what it’s like to feel like you have no place you belong. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. I know what it’s like to feel like somehow it’s all your fault and I know what it’s like to be told that it is.

My goal for 2017 is to figure out how to take my experiences and help others. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I’m willing to see it through. Some days I still feel broken but I know I’m mended, and now I want to help mend others. I’m grateful that during the craziness of infidelity/divorce/suicide that I had friends who saw “me” not just the circumstances that were mine at that time. I’d like to be able to do that for someone who doesn’t have the support system in place like I did/do.  I’d like to show them that there is peace on the other side, that it’s not their fault, and that there are people that can see them for more than the circumstances that surround them. I see you, friend, I see you.