“I am going through a divorce. And not just any divorce, where two people decide it did not work and go their separate ways. No, no—a divorce which has lasted nearly four years, going through several courts for every single matter, spending countless amounts of time and energy trying to prove evident truths, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
During this unending journey, I recently sat through hours of testimony by this man I once loved, very much, who detailed everything which was flawed about me. Who detailed reasons why I didn’t measure up to other women. Who detailed my shortcomings. Who used my flaws, my shortcomings, and my defects to justify maltreatment, abuse, and betrayal as proof of my lack of worth as a person.
Truthfully, this experience sent me into a rough place mentally for weeks. I could feel negative self-talk, self-doubt, and shame flooding back into my psyche, sneakily trying to find their old home. You see, I have struggled my entire life developing positive self-esteem.
When I was younger, I hated my blonde hair. I hated my blue eyes. I had pimples. My weight was an issue. The shape of my eyes. The wideness of my face. As I got older, my list of flaws grew. My slightly crooked bottom tooth. The space between my top molar and incisor. The crow’s feet which appear when I smile. The hairline wrinkle I have on my forehead when I squint too much. My cheeks are extra round. My thin lips. The mole I have under my chin. My ice-blue eyes. My hooded eyelids. My uneven smile. The baby weight which wouldn’t come off fast enough. My chest was too small. My hips were too wide. My thighs too big. I wasn’t sexy enough. The tiny freckles across my nose. My hair color which makes people automatically think I’m dumb.
Even though I have completed years of healing and self-work to develop a healthy, positive self-image as a worthwhile human being with unique gifts to offer, it struck me how just an afternoon of hearing about all of my flaws and how those flaws—my flaws—were used in the choice of another person as reason to hurt me, was crippling. Imagine living this every day. This was my marriage.
I was surprised at how this situation impacted me. I had considered myself well on the path to healing and self-love. I was the epitome of a triumphant survivor. I had survived assault, homelessness, clawing my way back from leaving everything and having nothing to become an empowered and strong single mother, who created a wonderfully fulfilling life for her children from complete scratch. I was a woman warrior who made peace with her freckles, her crooked tooth, and her curvy hips.
But survivors still carry pain. Warriors still carry suffering. Healed wounds can open again, showing us the need for deeper reflection, peaceful introspection, and gentle self-care.
And it made me realize;
This IS healing.
And this IS beautiful.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lesley Butterfield. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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