child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Saturday, May 1, 2010

more like "her"

In high school I dated a guy who I was sleeping with.  He would regularly cheat on me with his ex-girlfriend and then tell me that it had happened.  While we were in the middle of "the deed" he would proceed to tell me all the things that she did that I didn't do.  Talk about a blow to your self image!  The only thing I knew for sure how to do, turn a man on, I was suddenly being told regularly that I didn't do it right and I should be more like her. 

That was a devastating relationship.  He was verbally and physically abusive.  I, like most who stay in abusive relationships, thought I deserved the degradation.  I felt like I was very unbeautiful anyway so I felt like I deserved the comments about my weight, my bedroom abilities, and my looks.  The physical abuse didn't really bother me, it embodied the emotional hurt I already felt.  At that time, I would have much rather hurt physically than emotionally.  I had already learned to drink away the emotions and when I quit drinking I had already long since become a pro at making sure those emotions  weren't seen.

Food again became about my body image.  I wanted to be the girl of his dreams but I couldn't be because she was someone else.  She was the girl who did everything right in bed, who had everything he wanted.  In retrospect, I find it kinda weird that weight was an issue because the girl I was constantly competing with was very overweight.  I now realize how incredibly insulting it was that he would make comments about my weight (that was once again in the range of underweight) while at the same time praising the other woman whose weight was definitely in the range of overweight.  But that didn't occur to me then.  Apparently I was fat.  I just wanted him to love me and I thought that changing my perceived "fatness" would make him indeed love me. 

Unfortunately I didn't know then what I know now, that nothing I could have changed about me was going to make him love me.  I came to a point that I just wanted to have sex with someone who loved me and his words said that he did.  I had never heard those words from a person interested in my body so I thought he must have meant them. No one else had ever even bothered to disguise their true intentions so I couldn't fathom that his intentions were sexual not loving.

It finally happened.  Someone asked me about food.  Someone noticed I wasn't ok and that I was looking a bit too thin.  I lied, said I had already eaten.  When asked again a few weeks later I lied again and said I was waiting till he got off work so that we could eat together.  I actually didn't care that people saw me getting thinner, it had to mean that he also saw that I was no longer fat.

Fat, what a horrible perspective, especially to a girl who was underweight before she was labeled fat.  What a cruel thing to say to anyone at all.  What a cruel thing to inflict on a girl, or on anyone for that matter. If I wasn't "fat" anymore, maybe he wouldn't be angry with me and not try to hurt me?  WRONGO!  Losing weight only succeeded in one thing, the bruises on my legs showed up quicker and darker.  I didn't understand why he couldn't love me, I was doing everything he asked of me.

I'm not exactly sure when I realized that he didn't love me nor could he ever love me.  I think it was when he started trying to humilate me in front of people at church but I'm not entirely sure.  At some point I realized that I couldn't stay in that relationship and I finally had the courage to call it off.  I had learned something, the words of love don't equal the actions of love.  His intentions were the same as others before him had been, to make his body feel good no matter what it cost me.  His only difference was that he claimed to love me.

I was no longer running from God but I was afraid that He also couldn't possibly truly love me.  I accepted that He had made me and the world around me.  I accepted that He sent His son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world so that people could live forever in Heaven.  I didn't accept that He still would have done it if I had been the only one in the world who needed a savior.  I was feeling like I was getting into Heaven someday based on the fact that God loved the world, not on the fact that God loved me.  How could He possibly love me?  I was a broken disaster.  I was fat (or so my perception at the time told me and as my husband says, perception is reality), I wasn't pure and never even remembered my life before impurity entered it, I was unbeautiful, and I was so hurt that I could barely breathe at times.  I knew God couldn't possibly desire me personally.

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