I had a mental breakdown last night.
As usual, I could not convince myself that I am “enough.” Daily, I struggle to find the light in the darkness. I allow the opinions of others – opinions real and perceived – to undermine my self-worth, to illegitimize my accomplishments.
There are reasons for this, as there are reasons for everything. I was bullied extensively in school, by classmates and teachers alike, and my first relationship was extremely abusive. I’ve spent a large portion of my life being told that I do not matter. I am not liked. No one will believe me. I deserve bad things because I am not good enough.
He never hit me, but I wish he had.
When I was eighteen, I was keeping watch over an unconscious friend in a dark room during a party. A guy I didn’t know came in, made demands, and started choking me. Instead of panicking, of being afraid, I got angry. I hit him in the head with a bottle and physically expelled him from the room.
It’s obvious that you’re being abused when you’re being hit or choked or kicked. But, when his sweet words change slowly to cruel ones, it’s so easy not to recognize it. And I didn’t.
Instead, I believed him.
Years have passed. I have met the love of my life. My heart has been glued back together and my insecurities and breakdowns have been lovingly tended to every step of the way. When I look in the mirror and hate what I see, he turns me to face him and lists every way in which I’m perfect. When I’m down on myself, he holds me still in front of him and forces me to recite three things I genuinely like about myself. He gives me hugs. He gives me kisses. He has watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy with me.
Still, though, I sometimes hurt.
I sometimes go back to that broken down little girl who hates everything about herself because someone she trusted very much told her that she should. I allow lies and cruel words from people who ruthlessly tear me apart to make me feel like I am nothing. I hear complete strangers rip into me based on other people’s lies and allow myself to believe that I am going nowhere.
But it’s not true.
I. Am. Enough.
I. Am. Worthy.
I. Am. Successful.
I. Am. Accomplished.
And I don’t have to lie or steal or destroy other human beings to be fucking extraordinary.
So, for the second time in 2017, I am dedicating myself to loving me, because I deserve it. I have been through hell. I have been ripped into shreds, stomped into nothing, told I was garbage, and made the decision that I would never make someone feel that way, that I refused to stand idly by and watch it happen to someone else. I am a loving wife. I am a loyal friend. I am an awesome sister. I am a hard worker. I am a writer who inspires people. I am an educated, strong, sassy, independent woman. I am an accomplished animal rescuer. I am honest and smart and strong and kind.
I. Am. Amazing.
And nobody can EVER take that away from me.
Welcome to #LovinglyAugust. You look awesome today.