This weekend, we were challenged to share our “great sadness” with someone else. I know that I’ve been working on transparency – a lot – but this is still something that I feel should be sequestered and shared with only certain eyes. For one, it mentions a conversation/comment between myself and a very close friend – and I do not want her reading this out of context. That’s the unfortunate thing about the written word in a public forum – people put their own emotions into a passage and each reader walks away with their own version. So…
My great sadness. Thanks William Paul Young. I really wanted to confront and verbalize my great sadness. Goodness – I do know what it is, but I am so very, very good at hiding it from the outside world 🙂 When I was confronted with this challenge, I began jotting down what I was feeling at that moment – what God’s voice was saying to me – and this is the jibberish I wrote:
I am alone because I believe I am not good enough to be shared with the person God has planned for me. I believe I am too damaged to be loved unconditionally. I believe this because this is all I’ve ever heard from a boyfriend/person I was dating all of my life. How can I not believe this message when it’s been said to me for nearly 20 years? And I get angry when I DO try and I open up – and the it gets said to me again…and again…and again. I want to protect my heart because I feel it’s too weak to be broken…again.
Okay. So before the damage-control begins from you, my readers, you need to read on.
I have been through enough therapy in my lifetime to know that this is not a good message to be sending myself. I know how incredibly unhealthy this message is and that yes, I am – indeed – sabotaging my own happiness. However, what you, my readers, need to know is that this is not how I feel all of the time. It’s not. I DO like to date and put myself out there, I DO want to be in a deeply committed relationship with the man God has planned for me, I DO want to get married, I DO feel I deserve to be blessed beyond measure in this facet of my life, I DO believe I AM good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.
My great sadness is this: that when a relationship/date goes wrong, it is the negative that stays with me and brings me down to the point where I feel like what I wrote above. That is my great sadness. The fact that I am still extremely fragile and slightly(?!) untrusting when it comes to the male species thanks to the damage some have done to me. There are four very distinct people in my life that have hurt me to the point that the mere mention of their name, sight of their face, or memory of our time together brings me to my knees and crushes my spirit whole.
There is SAE man – I don’t remember his name, I have it blocked from memory. He raped me. He marked me so his fraternity brothers would know I was his victim – that he conquered me. He was accepted into his fraternity after that night – and I was nothing more than a pawn in his plan. To be sodomized and raped will strip the strongest person of their dignity, their self-worth, their entire being. I was angry at myself for a very long time after the rape – I couldn’t believe I was stupid enough to put myself in a situation to be used as I was. The message I sent myself was that I deserved what I got – and that message was only reinforced when I went to my friends, who told me I had asked for it. There was no sympathy after the rape. There was no opportunity to heal because the people I trusted, the people I turned to, reinforced the negative messages I had been sending myself since the night that it happened.
Fast forward to Todd. The guy I stuck with for nearly three years because I felt like I had to…that if I didn’t, no man would ever take me because I was damaged. Used goods. Todd had control over me because I allowed him. He would tell me I was the exception to his rule; when he watched me sleep at night, he would tell me that he would play with my fat (I was 135 pounds); he nearly drove me to anorexia; he constantly told me no man would ever want me because I had been raped and because I was a single parent; he told me I was lucky to be with him. And I believed every last word of what he said – because where I was, emotionally, was in the deepest part of my abyss. After the rape and years of emotional abuse from this boy, I attempted suicide. I wanted to escape the negativity, to leave the damaged girl behind, to move forward and start fresh.
Which I did – with a lot of therapy and good, strong friendships who brought me back to God. God gave me that clean start, but it’s a daily battle to not go back to the messages I had heard for nearly three years.
So when I met Jim for dinner, it’s no surprise that his comment, “Why didn’t you tell me you were a large woman?” hit me hard. It slapped me in the face and brought me back to the hurt girl who never thought she’d come out of the cobwebs of my mind. But after he said that to me, in public, at dinner – that little girl split through my rib cage and took my place. Mind you, I was much thinner then – so why he thought I was large, I don’t know. I’d hate to know what his idea of “small” is…but that’s beside the point. The point is, no matter how hard one tries to erase the past, it will always be there. It didn’t take long to heal from that damage, I knew not to believe what he had said – but after being with someone who constantly told me I was fat, it’s no shock that the hurt girl made her appearance.
And then there’s Steve. The most recent addition to my “great sadness.” He pursued me from the moment I met him. I was very honest and up front with him from the beginning and told him that I do not date casually. I am not one to just date to date, nor am I a “fling” kind of girl. My faith in Christ motivates me to be the Christian I say I am – therefore, I am not a booty-call girl and I will not have sex until I am married. I was very apprehensive about giving in and dating him, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he assured me that he had the same outlook as me. As we got to know one another, I had a gut instinct that he was hiding something…and he was. From the onset, he presented himself in a false light, he truly was looking for a rebound girl…or someone to occupy his time/mind while he and his ex/current wife were in the down slope of their relationship-pattern. Once this was confirmed, I walked away – completely – because he was never 100% honest with me throughout the time we knew each other. There was always something *more* to his stories – he could never tell me the full truth all at one time. And dear readers, that truth was this, “I’m still in love with my ex-wife and I still want to f*** her.”
Ouch. Yes, I knew that was coming. But still, ouch. That hurt didn’t last long, but what took it’s place was anger.
I am now challenged with not giving in to that anger and transferring it into the next relationship. I feel I am strong enough to do that. It’s been a year and half since Steve, and I’ve healed – a lot…and the anger has subsided – a lot.
I am 34 and single. I do not think that there is anything wrong with me being my age and being single. However, to some people, they take offense at this. The younger subset of friends have vocalized that they hope they’re not single when they’re 34. I’m sorry – am I a leper? As if I’m contagious? As if I’m not of the norm? Look around – even in our Christian community, getting married after the age of 30 IS okay. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either person – it just means that they waited for God’s good and perfect timing. I do feel like my younger subset of friends look at me as if I should be outcast from our Christian community. They cringe when we talk about (or complain) our singleness. Not one of them wants to be “that girl” – you know, me…I’m “that girl.”
When they say things like that, I want to flip the mirror around and make them see inside their souls. See that me choosing to be single because I’m overly cautious is no different than them flitting from crush to crush in a desperate attempt that one crush will stick and that guy will be “the one.” That’s a tall order for that crush if it does come to fruition – because the girl already has her mind made up that she wants to marry that person, so her thought is…let’s date and get to the altar. I know you’re what I want for my life (though 6 months ago, it was a different man she wanted) so dear God, make it happen.
Polar ends of the spectrum, different damage, and still flightless. The difference is this, on occassion – I do fly…even with my “great sadness” in the overhead compartment bins. It’s a part of my story, a part that I won’t deny.