‘My ex sat me down on the couch and said, ‘I will never be able to love you for the way you look.’ He stood up and left, forever.’: Woman describes her journey to ‘love myself fully again’

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“I got this tattoo a year ago when I decided I needed to turn my life around. I decided I want to dare to live. The leaves are symbolizing the full circle of life, from spring until the fall, but at the same time, are shaped like a semicolon, which is a symbol of the new idea, new beginning but still continuing the old story.

It’s been 3 months and 3 years since he took my love away.

More than 3 years ago, my ex sat me down on the couch and told me, ‘I thought I will be able to make it, but I can’t. I will never be able to love you for the way you look.’

That was it. I mean, he probably did say more things, but you know how funny and mysterious the ways our minds work are – this is all I can remember. And believe me, I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I can see his face, I can smell the freshly washed T-shirt he was wearing, I can feel the rough material of the couch in our living room, I still feel annoyed by seeing the unmade bed just microseconds before he told me those words.

Then he stood up and left. I handed him his floss because all I could think of at that particular moment was that he never goes to sleep without flossing and since he was not going to spend the night at home, he will need it. I handed him teeth floss! When the door behind him closed, I stood there, lost as I have never been lost before. I haven’t found myself since.

Now, this is not supposed to be a story that will make people hate my ex-boyfriend or feel sorry for me. What is done is done. This story is a story of me and of the beginning of who I am right now, although I still don’t really know who that is.

That day broke me. Not because my boyfriend left me. Not because of the things he said. But because in one moment, in one person who walked out of that door, I lost the dearest, most precious thing any of us have – I lost myself.

However, to explain that I need to go way, way, way back.

Ever since I was a child, I can remember the awful tantrums I would throw out of nowhere. I didn’t understand why I was crying so hard. I was losing my breath and almost chocked on own sobs. I can’t really remember my triggers anymore. I guess my parents couldn’t understand either and I feel really sorry about it right now. I remember the anxiety and panic that would paralyze me as a teenager and all the lies and dramas I would create around myself, for no particular reason. As much as I was trying to get attention, at the same time, I did not want it. I remember the moment I broke down to the point I actually reached out for professional help. I knew something was wrong with me for years. After I completely burned out – because I buried myself in work and very, very bad lifestyle back at the university after I broke up with my boyfriend – I walked directly to the psychiatrist.

At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with chronic depressions and anxiety. My brain was not able to produce enough serotonin to keep me going. I was spending all of it on all my part-time jobs, studies, and all the overthinking sessions while sobbing into my pillow. I felt unworthy. I felt like a broken piece of equipment. I felt useless. I was a burden to myself and to others. I definitely knew nobody will ever love me like this. (This was my first huge mistake in this story.)

When I met my ex, I persuaded myself this was my last shot. If this one didn’t work out, I will never put myself back together. I wanted to start this relationship with a clear shield, on a new page, whatever metaphor suits you to describe it.

I told him. Everything. I told him about my past, about my struggles with self-worth and body image, about my decision to learn how to love myself after I was bullied at primary school. Guess what – he still welcomed me with open arms and still wanted to talk about our future together. He would bring it up. He would make me fall in love with this picture and with him. I was ready for all of it. The biggest surprise was that he became my pillar in the ‘dark days.’ Instead of sending him away, I needed him. Instead of closing myself up, I wanted to be in his company. He became my world, my presence, my future… and I became US. I know how romantic and great it sounds and maybe you’re thinking – well, that’s how it is supposed to be. No, it’s not! It was another horrific mistake. I gave myself away. I deleted myself and recreated this perfect couple picture where everything I did was for us and our future. I completely removed ME. I kept reminding myself – this is my last shot, last chance. I am pulling the last energy and love from my shattered heart into this. (YES, mistake number three right there!)

It was three years and three months of bad, wrong, and even worse decisions. They definitely seem like it individually. But all together, they made ME.

I left my job. I moved cities, and actually countries, I worked almost for free 24/7 and burned out again. I moved cities and countries again and went back to my parents after 10 years. I gave up on my career and my background. I was living a small-town life with manual jobs. Nobody understood why. Everybody was asking me what I was doing there – with my degree, with my background, with my experience and aspirations. I didn’t know how to answer, because I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t know the answers. I was lost, trying to find myself and snapping and bouncing from left to right but never finding the way. I got sick and tired of it again. I moved cities, countries, and even continents. I have decided to try that amazing ‘ex-pat life’ and maybe that will bring me answers and happiness again.

When it comes to love life? That looks pretty much the same. Falling for random guys so strongly and suddenly and then falling out of these feelings even harder. Waking up in beds of random guys way too many times, just to realize this is not bringing any ease, any answers, any solutions. But those are stories for another time.

How exactly did this make me, you might be asking? It seems more like a road to self-destruction.

Well, it definitely was. I completely ruined and wrecked myself emotionally. I strained myself so hard, I could not put the pieces back together. But that was the answer. I just started building a new me. Slowly, piece by piece, I have been creating, sculpting, shaping and defining a person I am and I want to be. I am not finished, and I am not even healed yet. I don’t have the answers to what I am doing or where I am going right now, but I started with something else. I started by understanding who I used to be and where it led me, as well as how it will influence any future decision I make. I started by understanding how the events of my past were my breaking points to the new, real me.

It’s been three years and three months ever since my mind recorded, ‘I will never be able to love you,’ and has played it over and over again so many times. It actually became something coming from within me. It is the most difficult thing to overcome, to change. But I am fighting. My strongest weapon, for some reason, became words and rhymes. I have always had these artistic urges I couldn’t identify or didn’t know how to follow. For the past three years, writing and rhyming have become my coping mechanism, my closure process, my understanding tool. I have found all I had ever wanted to find by making all those wrong decisions in simple words just written on a piece of paper. They might be dark, they might be depressing, but that’s because they all are. That is my anxiety, my depression, my dark side I am putting down on the paper instead of keeping it inside of me and letting it rot and grow there, letting it eat me up again.

I haven’t found a way to love myself fully again — yet! I haven’t found the answers to all the questions I constantly have about who I am and want to be. I haven’t even got over my ex and haven’t been really able to purely love again ever since. But I have found a way – a way to deal with everything, especially with my mind. Writing has become my passion. I actually really enjoy it and I am imagining these poems and rhymes are the lyrics to the soundtracks of my life. I have decided to challenge myself to move them further, from the papers and notebooks to the other people. Maybe there is someone they’ll help the way they have been helping me.

It’s been three months and three years of my feelings, fears, and dreams on paper.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erika Mazuchová. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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