I hate getting flashbacks of things I don’t want to remember.
I recently joined a new small group. Last week was my first week. There is a girl in my group that claimed I looked familiar. We went back and forth trying to figure out how she knew me. We went from sports, high school, church, mutual friends, etc trying to figure out a commonality. This week at small group she sat down and said she knew why I looked familiar now. She knew my ex boyfriend. I was unprepared for that connection. I’m guessing because of the look on my face she quickly backtracked and clarified she knew him from going to the same college briefly and then occasionally from going to the college something Wednesday nights at our church. I contemplated leaving right then, but decided against it. I sat there silently pleading that she didn’t date and/or hook up with him.
She mentioned they lost touch when he turned into an actor/model. It was everything in me to hold my tongue. My ex likes to portray many things that he isn’t, and a successful actor/model is one of those delusional things. He hasn’t done any notable acting or modeling jobs and still lives at home with his parents at almost 30 years old. I also don’t say that out of pettiness, it is just the facts. That relationship was the beginning of the end of my demise of 2014. (Of course, there will be numerous posts stemming from this in the future.)
Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.”
It’s been about two and a half years since we broke up, and I am in a different relationship now (married-ish). My relationship now is real and healthy. I am also almost two years without self harm and my old self destructive ways. I am in a much better place in all aspects of my life, but to be honest, just hearing his name brought back a tidal wave of emotions. I was instantly transported back to my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
It seems like just yesterday I was being told I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t fun enough, I just wasn’t enough. My ex tried explaining that it was ultimately my fault that HE cheated on me because I just wasn’t up to par with his “image.” I remember sitting down in my bathroom after he tried to justify his multiple cheating situations (with multiple girls) and I believed every word he said. I was fat, I wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t enough. So I sat in my bathroom and cut myself on my wrist that afternoon in April. I cut myself after being free from self harm for over 3 years. However, I have distanced myself enough from this time in my life to realize: my ex is not to blame for ANY decision I made. Did his actions influence me? Yes- but I am the one that spiraled out of control. I used his words and actions as amunition to continue to slip into the darkness. I let alcohol and other bad relationships bandage my pain and when those didn’t work, I continued my self harming with a new intensity.
In the beginning, I did blame my ex, but he is not/was not responsible. Looking back, we did have many great memories together. I naively thought we would get married someday. Sometimes I have to remind myself that if our whole situation was different, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I may not have the friends I have today, I probably wouldn’t be in the town I am today. I know I wouldn’t be with the amazing man I am with now. And I probably wouldn’t have to the same passions and goals I have today. 2014-2015 consisted of pain that was agonizing for me. But I made it to the other side of that pain with a life that is extraordinary. I am thankful everyday to have my life and the people I share it with. I wake up everyday and remind myself I am beautiful; I am enough.
But, and there is a but here, I am only human. Even though I am happy with where I am today, it doesn’t mean that the past wasn’t painful. It doesn’t dull the aching pain I get when unwanted memories are resurfaced. I’m not sure if I was just caught off guard or I am still making peace with my past. Maybe a little of both. I will be honest, I fought tears the rest of the night and struggled when insecurities and negative thoughts invaded my mind once again. I guess I am still in need of some forgiveness and healing. But that’s okay. I am okay, I am more than okay.