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One of my best friends posted an article on Facebook a few days ago about how our perception of our bodies differ from what our men think of them. I thought that, while it made some very good points & seemed to be aimed toward helping women have a better self-image, it was rather curious that a woman wrote an article about what men supposedly think. . . SO, after a nudge by that same friend, I sent an email to the handsome husband asking for his take on the article. Of course, the handsome husband had some interesting things to say & lent a personal perspective to the whole topic that I found very comforting.
In the midst of our email conversation about body image & men's reactions to women's bodies, he said that men have to learn through trial & error, so I asked, “Does that mean that I should consider myself lucky that we met when we did, rather than sooner?” His response?
Replace the word “lucky” with “blessed.”
He said that I am “blessed that [he] screwed some things up in the past and learned from it” & “blessed that [he is] always learning about [me] and how [he] react[s] to [me].” That got me thinking that timing really is everything. He should consider himself blessed for the very same reasons.
For a few years before I met the handsome husband, I was in a pretty bad spot. I was having an extremely hard time financially as a result of some very poor financial decisions as a very young adult. It was the climax of years of ups & downs — a bumpy road that was completely wearing me out & wearing me down. As a result, I moved the lease I shared with a friend into just my name, had my youngest son go live with his father & step-mother, (my oldest son already lived with his father & step-mother — that's a separate story), then we broke the lease & I moved my few material possessions into a friends storage space at her house & lived out of my car. . . For something around a year-&-a-half, I lived out of my car, sleeping on friend's couches & stealing showers in the morning. . .
During that time, even though I maintained a full-time job (& did well enough at it to earn a pay raise, then get promoted), I went through some of my worst self-hatred. If you would have asked me at the time, I would have denied it. I don't think I even realized the extent of how much I despised myself during that time period. Looking back, though, I must have.
I visited the bar most nights because I knew I'd run into someone I knew so that I could potentially sleep somewhere warm for the night — or at least have somewhere to be before driving up to one of the rest areas off the interstate to park & sleep for a few hours. Now, I've always enjoyed my alcoholic beverages. Some say I enjoy them too much even now. . . & there is a time & a place for everything. BUT, during that time in my life, there was no question that I drank in excess. I can name a few times I puked in the bathroom so I could continue drinking through the night. More times than I could count, I still had a beer in my hand at 6am & needed to finish it off (or pass it off) so that I could take a shower & try to sober up so I could get to work. You can only imagine some of the situations I found myself in. It is downright miraculous that I came out of that time as unscathed as I did. No woman should ever put herself in the positions I willingly let myself drift into. Knowing what I know now, there is no way I practiced any kind of self-love then.
How can you love someone else when you don't even love yourself?
You cannot. Plain & simple. Looking back, it is so clear. In the middle of it, I just felt lost. Abandoned. Adrift. It would be so easy to still be angry & hurt over the whole experience. But I am not. Honestly. I say it all the time: Everything happens for a reason. I believe it. There is a purpose for everything. God has a plan. . . & His plan supersedes any plan we could possibly make for ourselves. His plan is always going to be sweeter too. I honestly believe that.
That time that was the rock-solid bottom of my life — a life that has been filled with many times that I thought were my “rock bottom” — was the ULTIMATE learning experience. I learned so much about myself & the world. I met a few pretty awesome people who I still consider friends. . . &, perhaps, the most significant of all that time, after my promotion at work that gave me an “excuse” to move a little over an hour away & rent a room near my new work location, I started to realize that I didn't have to live the way I had been. . . I started my scramble up out of the darkness & into the light. (It might sound cliché to some, but, thinking about it, that's exactly how I picture it.)
It was a couple of months after I started that ascent that I first met the handsome husband. . . & another month or two after that when I began to fall in a completely different way. A frightening — but extremely beautiful — way. That's when I started to fall in love with him. We are both so
lucky blessed that we met when we did. The things we each experienced beforehand helped us to appreciate each other even more. I know how blessed I am. The handsome husband is one of the absolute best things that has ever happened to me. . . & there is absolutely no question about it, because my experiences have taught me to know a good thing when I see one. If you ask me, God knew exactly what He was doing.
Have you been through hard times that still seemed to serve a greater purpose? If you're willing, I'd love it if you'd share too. Comment below, or start a conversation on Facebook.
All so, so hard to read. I’m sorry you have such tough things in your past, and have been through such darkness. But I’m glad that you’ve found the silver linings, and that you have a measure of peace about the things which went before 🙂
I’ve found the hard way that love is a verb, and you can choose to behave in loving ways even if you don’t feel loving – to yourself OR to another.
I am sorry this was hard to read; that was not my intention. 😉 But you ARE right. Love IS a verb. It is a choice. . . something you do every single day. You get out of it what you put in. . . which makes it very rewarding or very heartbreaking, depending. For me, it is rewarding. I am BLESSED enough to have someone who, arguably, puts in even more than I do. I strive, every day, to maintain that balance. He is worth it. 😉 As for self-love, I am MUCH better, but I still have plenty of work to do. I will get there.
You WILL get there. Definitely. Honestly, if I can get close (that said, I think it might be the meds) then ANYONE can give it their best shot, yaknow?
I just felt bad for all your time spent in that awful darkness and having such struggles. THAT SAID, they’ve helped to shape you into who you are today, and it sounds like you’re using the experiences to shape you for good, so there’s that. You’re redeeming the situation and being purposeful about it.
Life is hard. Thank goodness for Love!
I am grateful that you seem to be able to empathize with me. Sometimes knowing someone can is all you need, ya know? 😉
That whole last line is perfect!
I can empathise, particularly with the self-hatred, unfortunately.
Together we’re stronger, right? 🙂
We absolutely are. 😉
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I’ve certainly experienced my share of shite times in the past, but I too feel lucky/blessed that it took a while for me to meet my fiance. There’s no way I would have been ready for/worthy of him back then. I was an idiot. Well– still am a bit, but in a different way 😉
Exactly, Aussa!! EXACTLY. I so sure I wouldn’t be anywhere near the woman for him had we met even a touch sooner. It is almost frightening just how PERFECT the time was. . . 😉
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