I've learned a lot of lessons over the past eight months, but one sticks out above all. I have noticed, since dating my current boyfriend, I have a lot of rather, "odd", insecurities.
I put on a dress and did my makeup. then sat in our bedroom waiting to be asked, rather snobbishly, "Who are you all dressed up for? Which boyfriend are you going to see today?" This dress, mind you, hangs down almost to my knees, and completely covers my chest and shoulders. My "makeup" was simply foundation and mascara. No eyeshadow. No blush. No lipstick. But still, I waited. I was apprehensive. I was anxious. Instead of the "expected" response, I was greeted with an appreciative glance and "You look great today!"
I went to visit family and friends for the day. I waited all day for a text or nasty call asking where I was, when I would be home, but none came. I texted him every hour, updating him on where I was and what I was doing. When I got home, I got a big hug and he asked, "Why did you text me all day letting me know where you were? You should be spending time with your family and friends when you visit!" I was stunned.
When I express frustration about having MRKH, and shed tears in the middle of the night, I wait for the growl "You were diagnosed almost five years ago. Aren't you over this shit yet? You've gotta grow up. You got handed a shitty hand in the deck of cards, get over yourself. Everyone has problems." (or any selection of the above phrases. Instead, I get a big hug, sometimes words, but usually just a hug and shoulder to cry on.
Work called me in on my day off, and I hesitated a bit, anxious, anticipating the hostile response "Well so much for spending some time together today!" I bit my lip, took a deep breath and told him I was called in. He said, "Oh, that's great. Have a good shift! I'll see you tonight."
I never believed I was being abused. I never thought that could happen to me, I was too strong for that. I was too independent a woman. But that never stopped him. And I never even realized it was happening until I stepped back and looked, for the first time, from the outside. People told me many times he was not a good person. But I, the defender, the "only thing he had", argued. Made up my own ideals, essentially created a fake person to be sure no one could tear it down. I thought it was love. I thought he was everything I ever wanted. But turns out I was imagining things, at least to some degree.
Was my ex a bad person? I don't believe so. I believe he had his reasons and he believed he was doing the "right" thing. Was he abusive? Not physically. He never laid a hand on me. He never HIT me. But the emotional wounds, oh, they are so much worse. They are there, deep, still healing. They may never fully be gone. The smallest things, like going to get a haircut, or putting on a cute sundress (or worse, a SKIRT!), can set me off into a panic attack. The wrong words, or words said the wrong way, can make me throw away a new outfit that I bought thinking it was sort of cute. They can make me wash off my makeup or hide in bed all day. Was my ex an addict? No. He IS an addict, and always will be. He had substance problems, which I knew when we got together. I tried to make believe it was OK, that he had changed, and he continued his habits on and off for the duration of our relationship.
My ex took my dreams, and squashed them. He didn't do it on purpose, or at least that's what I choose to believe. But that doesn't take the hurt away. I find myself time and time again, longing for what could of been, with a person I'm not even sure I ever knew. I long for the child that was promised and planned for, but was doomed never to exist. This child had a name. I picked it out of the book I spent hours, days and weeks pouring through. He was loved and cherished and never even became a zygote. Never fertilized. A child that never existed, but still holds a very special place in my heart. A piece of regret, for what could have been. And a piece of hope, for what will be.
How did I not know I was being abused? I guess, in some respect, I did. But it took me a long time to see our relationship as it was, instead of through those rose colored glasses and promises yet to be kept. I am thankful that I know now what I didn't know then. I am thankful that I've had many opportunities presented to me, and I've started taking risks and jumping in head first, with someone by my side cheering the whole way. I am also thankful for my ex, for showing me what kinds of things I should never accept, from anyone.
Most of all, I am thankful for my red lipstick, my favorite sundress, my high heels, and for finally having someone who looks at me and says, "Wow, you look amazing today!" regardless of whether I'm in my smock for work covered in finger paint, or dressed to the nines in a cute dress with my hair curled and makeup done. I don't think he knows it, but it makes my whole day every time.
Thanks for reading!