I am a 22 year old single mother of 3 kids under 4, (wow, what a mouthful). When I think of my recent adult life, for the most part, I am blessed. I have 3 beautiful babies, I am healthy and well. I am capable of working, going to school, learning a trade, traveling the world. I am capable of doing most tangible things on this earth, and for that, I am grateful.
We all know that those aren’t really the things that define us, though. Those aren’t the things we lay awake thinking about at 3am; those aren’t the things we shed heartbroken tears over. Those are the things we use to cover up deep insecurities and jagged scars.
Take a look at my Facebook page, or my Instagram or Snapchat. I look happy, I look strong, I look confident. You can see that I’m a proud mom. You can feel my love for my family. But that’s just it.. We all have secret battles that we’re facing, and unfortunately, I feel like mine is a popular one. It’s common. It’s become… a norm.
A year ago, I was pregnant with my 3rd child when my husband (and father of my kids) left with another woman. Yes, he left me. I didn’t get that glorious feeling of kicking his ass to the curb, I got that miserable feeling of abandonment and shame instead. I lost all control over everything; my emotions, my sanity, my financial stability, my livelihood. Sure, I posted selfies with powerful quotes and I made posts about “moving on.” I even covered up the tattoo with his name on it on our 2nd wedding anniversary, as if to prove a point:
“I am soo, over you. I don’t need you.” Take that, right?
I was only doing what I felt was expected. In today’s world of strong women, how weak do I look if I’m heartbroken over a loser? An adulterer? A man who has no regard for moral decency? I received many accolades, many women calling me ‘inspirational’ and ‘strong’ and ‘courageous.’ I had a hard time believing any of it, and that’s because inside, I wasn’t “over it.” I would have given anything to be ‘under it’ again.
I’ve struggled a lot. I’ve struggled so hard to get over that man… so much so, that I believed him when he said, “It won’t happen again.” I’ve struggled so much that I was weak to his touch, I was putty in his hands; “Maybe if he’s reminded of what he’s missing, he’ll crawl back.” Maybe if I were more like her, he’ll love me again. Maybe.
I’ve recently, finally realized how sick that is. How twisted. Why couldn’t my inside match my outside? Why couldn’t I just tattoo over my heart, like I could his name on my skin? I will probably never know the answer, but what I can do, is speak out about how I really feel.
I recently reread through a blog post that I wrote on July 13th, 2015. It’s titled, “Why I Have Forgotten My Husband.” It talks about how becoming a mom had drained my energy to be the loving wife I needed to be, and reading it again gave me a sense of pride that I had lost when he left.
It was the first time that I’ve really compared what I had (and lost), to what he had and gave up.
He gave up a woman with poise and grace and a fear of the Lord.
He gave up a woman who fought tooth and nail for her marriage.
He gave up a woman who sacrificed every day of her life for him.
He gave up a woman who has dreams and goals (and a real way of achieving them).
He gave up a woman with unsurpassed loyalty.
He gave up a woman who loved him unconditionally.
I’m still struggling to comprehend where my self-worth went, how long ago I lost it. I have been okay with being hit, sexually abused, psychologically controlled, emotionally drained, manipulated, lied to, and cheated on. These experiences have forever changed me and how I will love.
I now consider myself damaged goods, I don’t feel strong, or resilient, or inspirational.
I feel battered.
They say you can’t miss something you never had… so why am I missing genuine love that I never received?
My reason for this post is to say that yes, it has been a year of ongoing pain for me and my family. I may post things on social media joking about my situation, or seem like a confident woman with her crap together, but I’d rather just be honest with the fact that I’m not. Not even close.
I am a battered & damaged woman, and that is okay.
I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced heartbreak, or abuse, or loss of any kind. I’m not the only one with pain hiding behind their pristine profile pictures on Facebook, or silly filters on Snapchat. We all have something, and I pray that this reaches the right woman at the right time. A woman struggling with self worth, or abuse, or inner turmoil.
You are enough.
You are more than their opinion of you.
You are better than abuse.
Your love is more valuable than the pain you’ve received.
In a fast-moving culture where everyone demands acceptance, our fake smiles shouldn’t be so taboo. We are all worth more than that. After all, the phrase is ‘damaged goods’ for a reason. Maybe it’s good that we’re all a little damaged.