I realised half way around the river this afternoon, that I was narrating a blog in my head – I’m not a verbal person – everything manifests in my head, and on days like today, I realise when I get to this point the only way I can release it, is to type…
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I’m fighting a broken heart at the moment. This is all new to me. Not the broken heart bit – I reckon I’m a pro at that, have been fighting that since I was a little kid when the freaking bullying began… No, this is a broken heart of the real broken hearted variety – and something I’ve not been able to let go of the past week. I messed up last weekend, big time. I hurt someone I care about, in a way that just shouldn’t have happened – but it’s not unique, it seems to be perpetual.
The more I’ve thought about this since – between fits of tears and severe self-deprecation – the more I realise I have a pattern going on here... and one that needs to be broken.
I’m 34 years old, and I’ve never had a ‘real relationship’ (however you classify these things these days – or maybe I should say a ‘traditional relationship’ of the dating, get together, see each other regularly variety). I’ve never had a longterm boyfriend, there's only been one, and up until early last year, had never really been on a date. Up until my first kiss – just a couple of years ago – I actually thought I was a total freak of nature, that I was that repulsive and disgraceful that noone in their right mind wanted to know me, touch me, kiss me, love me. I felt vile – a true monster – too shameful to be seen with or know.
I honestly thought with the weightloss would come a release from that self-inflicted vile thinking… but the two years following my massive weightloss, and life has sent me on one cruel mission after another. It’s like I’ve fast-tracked all those emotions and life-lessons of 'growing up' in such a short space of time, my head swims with them all.
I didn’t get a magic “happy ending” when I halved my size – instead it left me with this whirlwind of superficial and maniacal back-patting that was so alien to me! Suddenly I went from being intensely invisible to having a spotlight shone in my face, and the crazy bravado that comes with “being amazing” (which I have NEVER labelled myself – this has always come externally) came with it this intense pedestal that I found myself sitting on – but was as lonely up there as I’d been down at the bottom!
Yes, while you’re sitting up there, you’d think it’d be sweet and pretty, and the world would be your oyster! … but at some point, the people below walked away, and the ladder seemed to be missing! I didn’t belong up there. The last year or so, I’ve felt like I nose-dived off the edge and landed face first on the ground – and had a few people just wipe their feet over the top of me as they passed on by… !! Ok, slightly dramatic – but you get the drift. I went from feeling like “nothing” – to something – to nothing again, and somehow I lost my goals and pride in my achievements in the process. I seemed to go backwards...
When I was at my heaviest, I just assumed I had no future – I never believed I’d get to have a partner, babies, a house, travel, etc. I’ve posted about it in the past, and I’ve had beautiful messages sent back to perk me up and tell me to keep on believing, that “these will happen when they’re meant to”… that the only way anyone can ever love me is if I love myself first. (there lies my problem..)
… and that’s cool. I believe that too. Yes, what will happen will happen, when it’s ready. And yes, I’ve been working – very hard – on making me a better version of myself in the process. So maybe, one day, I’ll be ‘fit’ (not bicep-crunching fit – just “suitable”) enough for someone to love me. Not love what I’ve done or what I do for them, or even because of how I look now – but love ME, every messy bit of me. .. because I’m now learning to love myself too.
… but I guess this is where my issue lies. I don’t quite know who that ME is yet – I’m not yet in love with her, though I really DO like her! All the mish-mash of changes, the self-development, the heartbreak, the new experiences, the bad meltdowns, the cross-contamination of good and bad… it’s fucking exhausting!! Over five and a half years in a massive life transformation, and I’m exhausted. I’m emotionally bloated!!
The weightloss has its place – but it’s certainly not my focus at this moment in time. Six months post-surgery and I’m still struggling to accept what’s happened to my body – though this IS changing, and I’ll write more when I can mentally process it further. I’m actually beginning to LIKE what I look like – a freaking miracle in itself! There’s more changes I need/want, but I’m beginning to like what I see, because it's too freaking exhausting hating it anymore... There’s a body confidence coming through that’s very new for me – pushing boundaries I didn’t dare before. Walking around in singlets and undies, letting people see my not-so-perfect bulges.. I used to loathe my body with such an intensity, sheer shame and hatred…
Let’s explore that for a minute… it plays a key role in my relationships development.
I’ve been bullied since I was about five years old – mentally and verbally abused (let’s cut to the chase and not dance around the topic)… I’ve suffered depression, suicidal tendencies, and I’ve lived a life-sentence of isolation and loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
At my lowest point, I believed I was worth more in a casket, that I didn’t deserve to breathe the same air everyone else was privy to – and felt obligated to shy away from EVERYONE, the less people I knew, the less people I’d hurt when I just “went away”. It did me no favours – it just made me more isolated and alien to people, more socially awkward, and severely lonely.
When I broke through a few years ago with my weightloss goals, suddenly I had people come out of the woodwork from all angles – and it scared me. All I could do was smile and throw myself around like I knew what I was doing – “fake it til you make it” style – but I was a broken soul underneath, debilitated with anxiety about being found out as a “fraud” (I say that loosely – I was the real deal, but I felt like I had nothing to offer – I had zero self worth)… and even now, I seriously question what value I have for people when I’m still struggling piecing myself together.
On a physical level, my hatred for my body was so intense, I couldn’t let anyone touch me – in my head, I believed I made people’s skin crawl, like there were maggots crawling on my skin, I was so revolting in my own perception. (sorry for the hideous visual – but that’s how graphically it played out in my thinking…)… and it wasn’t until last year that I was actually able to break through that. 33 years old, and I’d barely let anyone touch me…
That’s just not cool.
Over the years, I’d built up some seriously thick, super high walls – they were there to ‘protect me’ I guess, but I think they served to hinder me more than protect. … more so this side of my development than at the beginning. It seems these walls of mine are almost impenetrable sometimes, and these days it does more damage than good!
…but the couple of guys that have been able to break through – I don’t know how they did it, maybe there was a chink in my armour, or maybe they were just there “in the right moment” to push a brick or two out of the way… I’m not sure, but I know they had their place. My story isn’t ‘pretty’, and the more I start really looking at it, the more I realise why I am the way I am right now…
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I have massive trust issues – and I have good reason behind them. It was years and years ago, I was VERY young (early uni days) and I ended up with a crush on an Internet guy. I wish I had a better story to tell than this, but this experience was one of the keys to my hiding away and questioning the validity of anyone who wanted to initiate a relationship with me. For eighteen months I was in contact with this “internet guy” from Sydney – this was back in the days of early SMS, before Facebook made the world tiny and ‘stalking’ was so accessible! I’d seen a few photos of him, and he was cute – why the hell he’d be interested in me was beyond my comprehension! We bonded in a chatroom, which lead to SMS messages and emails. He always seemed so keen on me… but he had a dark history, and I guess the timing of this one was right in line when my own issues were manifesting into their worst. I was intensely lonely – I was struggling with the depression and suicidal stuff (which I really didn’t understand at the time – this only served to exacerbate them)… and I guess it was a case of “misery loves company” and I needed someone to ‘care’. Long story short, in that eighteen months, I never once met him, never talked to him on the phone (sms worked, but the phone didnt?!), he knew where I lived and worked, would send me flowers every time we’d fight, but I wasn’t allowed to know his address. He’d binge drink and verbally abuse me via text, proclaiming that I’d ‘leave him’ and that he’d kill himself if I did – and I’d be lured back in with fear of hurting him, and I’d pain for him – I’d want to fix and heal him – and he’d take advantage of that.
In the middle of all this, I lost my Nana – her death came as a shock for the family, and it broke my heart – she was one of the few people in my life who I felt really saw me, one of my few ‘friends’… When I was away for her funeral, he proclaimed to have travelled to see me, stealing his dad’s car in the process, and I’d supposedly already ‘gone’ by the time he got to my house. He was allegedly physically abused, beaten up, and hospitalised for his actions. … and I spent my time mourning my Nana, and feeling responsible for his pain and the cruelty he’d suffered “because of me”. My guilt was intolerable, and my attention was redirected back to him, trying to make it better – make him hurt less. All became a ‘forgive and forget’ matter and time ticked over.
Months later, he confessed that he’d been drunk one night and slept with his best friend – she ended up pregnant – which broke me completely. I shut down and wanted it all to just go away – but he threatened suicide again, and I was swung back into the game, with lots of promises that things would be ok and that he loved me so much more for forgiving him this indiscretion. When the baby was born, I just wanted to be there – to be a part of it – but I was denied, and it upset me that I wasn’t even allowed to be part of this special time in his life. I couldn’t talk to him – there were things I couldn’t handle anymore, it was out of control, I was losing myself to hideous jealousy and what felt like a game – but I was lured into the drama.
A message from his sister to say he’d shot himself after the birth of his daughter, he was in hospital, “because you’d leave him” – and never to contact him again… that was my trigger. I hurt myself after that – I have scars on my arms and on my belly – it hurt less to carve words in my skin than it did the pain in my heart. I’d wake up on the floor from crying myself to sleep, and I’d pray that he’d just message me – the silence was deadly, and still breaks me now. I felt invisible and worthless. It did so much damage, that I actually believed my heart was dead inside… It was like a really bad dream – it existed through messages and emails, not reality - I never physically met the guy, never spoke to him, don’t even know if he really existed… It was the most hideous mental abuse I’ve ever endured – and I let it fester for eighteen months, just because I was so lonely… just because I wanted to be loved.
I hid myself away after that – for years and years. Went through all my mental torture and self-hatred – my physical self-eating abuse was out of control, and I hid my shame behind fake smiles and closed doors. My scars only served to remind me that I wasn’t worthy of real love, and how much I hated myself and my body – and just helped fuel the cycle of depression and anger that helped steal a decade of my life away.
Crap. Too full on huh? Yep…
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I started to poke my head out to see if maybe – just maybe – I might be a little bit worth something to someone. This was during my transition – I’d lost some weight by now, and I was feeling a bit better about myself… I had so many people telling me I had such a “pretty face”… yet I shrugged it off, because I had nothing to back it up, and as always, I was the girl noone wanted… !
My first kiss with a REAL guy was like a comedy of errors – and oh my gosh, I’ll be forever embarrassed and sorry to him… I stood there bent over in fits of laughter, tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t talk because I couldn’t breathe, I was just in hysterics. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life as in that moment – it was hysterical to me to think someone could even WANT to kiss me – why the hell would he want to do that, was he nuts?!! We got along well enough – we were friends – I wasn’t overly comfortable though, I was still trying to break through being shy and invisible, but he was nice and that was cool. But I felt stupid - there were 12 year olds with more relationship experience than me… (oh crap, that statement still stands right now. Argh. )
BUT it was one of my ‘moments’ when I realised that maybe I wasn’t as revolting as I thought I actually was – if he could think I was worth kissing, then maybe I wasn’t so gross after all? But it never went anywhere – his companionship at the time was worth more than inexperienced kisses – I was still overly cautious about being touched, and I was too busy trying to run away, expecting the rejection at any given moment…. but it opened a little sneaky doorway for me. Maybe it was ok for me to want to have someone in my life after all?
Boy two – he came out of nowhere. Literally. I think the universe sent this one on purpose – he was one of my biggest life lessons. I didn’t know this when we met initially, but it turned out he’d practically “halved himself” too – and when I found this out, when I was brave enough to tell him my story, we bonded instantly. Prior to that, I’d been rejected so many times when my weightloss story was revealed… I thought I was destined to be rejected as the former-fat-girl who noone wanted! It was a miracle to me to find someone who just understood – understood my fears and hatred of my body – understood the intensity of making massive physical changes. When we met, it was probably the first and only time I’d ever been comfortable with someone – I let him get close to me, he’d hug me and I wouldn’t flinch the way I would with everyone else. Everyone else I worried that I made them feel sick touching me – but not him – I don’t really understand that, but I think it was just because he’d lived what I had, he wouldn’t judge me on my body. I WANTED him to sit next to me – I wanted the physical “invisible shield of personal space” to be invaded – I wanted him to break through. The few times I spent time with him, the more I’d push my own boundaries, and I was beginning to make headway with the self-hatred and pushing everyone away… I honestly thought I would be ok fighting these things with him – because “he’d understand”.
… but I underestimated how alike we were, how alike our pain was, how debilitating our histories, combined, was going to be. I wanted to help him as much as he wanted to help me – and in doing that, we couldn’t help ourselves.
I was asked not to talk about us, he didn’t want it ‘public’ – and that hurt too. At the time, I just wanted to stand on a rooftop and yell out to the world that I’d been knocked off my ‘freak perch’ and maybe (just maybe) someone had it in them to love me… I was so crazy proud of him, I wanted people to know that - but I don’t know that he felt the same about me…
A massive breakdown a few months later was my undoing – when I couldn’t handle the anguish in my head and heart after a once-off counseling session – so much change to process, and so much emotional upheaval – the day I sat on his bed and cried and cried in front of him – that was it for us. It was too much for him to handle – it was too much like his own pain, I was bringing up all his history trying to deal with my own…
A week of silence – that hideous silence - and it was enough to break my heart entirely. I’d opened up to a guy who I believed was my soul mate, and in the course of trying to break free of my hatred and pains, I broke his heart as much as it broke my own. My vulnerability and naivety was right there on a platter, and it was given straight back to me to deal with on my own. That was over a year ago now, but my regret in hurting him has never gone away.
I hid myself away after that – I held onto that pain for a long time and let it consume me. I was like a teenager finding love and then losing it for the first time – and I’m pretty sure I even voiced the “my life is over” mantra of a young broken heart. All the life lessons that I’d missed out on when everyone else went through this growing up in high school – hit me as an adult instead… and there’s not much reprieve for you when everyone else has already “been there done that” a dozen times over… ! I can’t blame them – it’s like a really tragic romance novel, it’s just old and boring – there’s no massive drama involved, just “kids stuff”.
…. But that’s what happens when you’ve missed out on everything – and it’s not juvenile and “silly” when it stings fresh and new. When you’re 33, not 13, trying to delve into “this thing called love” and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing… it pains. Maybe it never stops paining… ?!
I felt like I needed to apologise to everyone for being so juvenile… and it was just easier to hide away and pretend it didn’t happen instead. Was gutted and embarrassed, and I was deadset certain noone else would ever bother to break through – I was too internally ugly, too broken – I’d rebuilt those monster walls up again.
But I’m Taurean… and the loneliness taunts me! It flicks red flags in my face, and I want to charge and take them out – make it ‘not so real’… I don’t want isolation to be my lot in life.
There’s been a few hit and misses this year – when I sort of came out of hiding again. I guess I let my guard down… or maybe I purposefully put myself out there to test the waters. I loathe this loneliness, and it seems to have changed my directive and goals. I did NOT work this hard to change my life to have “lonely” spit in my face for the rest of my days. There is no way I want to spend my life alone – I want to share all the ups and downs, be someone’s someone – have fun, cry, laugh, explore, engage… I want to live a life with someone else in it.
… so I’d stick my finger out there and see if I’d get a bite… but I’m ALWAYS terrified I’m going to end up broken again. Absolutely terrified of the rejection and finding myself carved up on the floor again…
… and it's happened a few times. Hit and miss – painful rejection. I’d question and berate myself for not being enough – still being too big – not funny or smart enough – not pretty enough – not a size 10 model with long legs and big boobs – too shy, too nervous, too emotional… too Amy.
I met someone a few months ago that, again, came out of nowhere. Again, the universe was sending me lessons. He travelled interstate to “give me a hug” – after I admitted to him that I hadn’t even been hugged in a really long time. There’s my clincher right there – basic human contact is difficult for me. It mocks and eludes me. I’ve been on my own since I was 17 – basic hugs and human contact aren’t a daily occurrence – and I’m often too shy to ask when I need them the most.
He travelled all the way to show me someone cared. Wrapped his arms around me and hugged me – he didn’t flinch or make faces because I made his skin crawl… he bear hugged me like I was a real person, someone worthy of affection. He pushed my boundaries – without even realising – he was in my house, in my face, in my zone – and I NEEDED him to be HIM, just as he was, in that moment. Every time I wanted to run and hide, he was there – he’d hold my hand or stroke my arm – at one point I was in tears when he rubbed my back, just because I’d never really had that before, and was so intensely obvious to me how much I NEEDED this basic human contact. I couldn’t verbalise my shame in being a grown woman who’d never been comfortable being touched. But he was just there. His natural affection was breaking my walls…
Our constant talking – nightly skype sessions, limitless sms messages – indepth emotional conversations – they were my lifeline. I loved spending my time with him – my energy and my focus was his. I felt needed. He’s cried with me, I’ve hurt with him, I’ve opened up and told him things that I never trusted anyone else with… He was in my ‘moment in time’ when I needed someone to be there, during all this crazy transitioning, and all the turmoil of my body changes and the hatred-cycles that this year that threatened to take me down with – he was there to show me that I was worthy.
But my intolerable fear has made an absolute mockery out of this for me. I’m writing this with a broken heart. Everything that I fear the most in opening my heart to someone – everything that would instantaneously shut me down in the past and have me run away because I didn’t deserve to be loved or cared for… I created it – I’ve made it happen.
… and I hate it. I hate that I’ve caused my own grief and my own broken heart. I hate that all the anguish of my past has ruined something beautiful – irrespective of what it was/could have been. It turned me into a monster – it made me turn my back on him, turned me cold and nasty. My fear of falling for a guy who maybe couldn’t return the feelings, created a problem that shouldn’t have happened… broke hearts and caused hurt that shouldn’t have been.
All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to see beyond my walls – see ME underneath all the skin and false bravado. I want (need) someone to hold my hand and help me out of the hole I’ve created for myself… I see other people, and I’m SO envious of what they have. It never mattered when I saw no future for myself, it stung that I was alone, but it never mattered, it was easier that way… Not now. Every day fucking hurts. Every goddammed day it hurts that I’m alone. It torments me, like I’m still not enough – still haven’t worked hard enough – still don’t deserve the most precious thing in life = love. I still have a body that resents me – a brain that’s confused - I have no idea what to do with myself or where I go from here – and a heart that threatens to stop beating if I don’t stop beating it up!!
I resent that I hurt so much – I am TRYING my hardest to turn this all around, make my life better, like who I am and have purpose and a future… but I hurt, and I’m lonely…. and I need someone to hold my hand.
I resent, even more, that I have the capacity to hurt someone else the way I do. It makes me want to go away and hide again, because I’m “too hard” to deal with – I’m too much work for someone. My own lack of self-worth tells me I’m not worth their time, energy or heart – and I fucking HATE THAT. I don’t agree with it – but it fights me. How is it other people can have love and relationships, even when they don’t like who they are? Someone still loves them enough to help push…. God, I truly envy that.
I had a friend tell me that she admired my ‘bravery’ in seeking love – but I don’t feel very brave. I’m vulnerable and I’m hurting – and every time I open up my heart, and it gets given back to me, it breaks me that little bit more.
But I guess it’s no different than what I did with my weightloss – I NEVER believed I could turn that around, that I deserved to be anything more than ‘worthless’ a few years ago… but blind faith lead me here (with lots of trial and error along the way) – and I guess this is no different. It’s all intertwined. This wouldn’t be happening had it not been for the other.
I have a heart full to bursting, ready to burn a hole in someone’s hand, if only they’d take it…! I’m honest, I’m loyal, I’m giving… but I’m not perfect. I’m still learning… and I’m terrified.
I just wish they’d see that there’s a reason I choose them – there’s something beautiful I see in THEM that resonates something special to me – something I’m lacking, something I need, something that makes them unique to ME… I’ve never been one to just pick randomly, for the sake of “filling a void” – that’d never be enough for me. I guess that’s why it hurts me – I see the heart in someone, but I just wish they could see it in me.
I didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely, verbal “I love you” family – we weren’t like that – added to my shying away from all things “relationship” because of my size and esteem issues - has only served to make it even harder for me to breach the divide. It’s hard for me to make that jump – to let someone in without feeling like the floor is going to give way beneath me. …and yet I long to have someone in my life, to share everything with, to say ‘I love you’ and know its felt, wanted and returned.
These ‘life lessons’ are testing me. I KNOW it’s rebuilding me, I know they have their place, and I know it’s all worth it in the end… but right now I’d give anything for a little helping hand, a little touch of “Disney”. Snow White was freaking comatose and she still managed to find someone….
For all the tears and tantrums lately, I know there’s benefit in everything I’m going through. If I didn’t care, it would never hurt this much. My heart beats and breaks BECAUSE I care.
… and I know I’ll keep on pushing through. Because I have to. I want… and I deserve… to be loved too.