I’ve never written about this and have told very few people, which makes this difficult to put into words. Words are not something I have ever struggled with, but this topic is not simple, nor can it be backspaced.
This entire post took multiple days of digging, searching, alcohol infused conversations, and visiting a dark past. I am both terrified and still truly lacking any sort of courage. But sometimes, these moments are what may give others what they need. These are one of my inmost scars, and I will not be defined by them.
Nor will I ever be labeled as such. We live in a world of classification and status—trendy or hipster, single or married or unattached with minimal intention, progressive or traditional, and so many other labels and ways to not only separate us, but divide us as well. Labels extend well beyond designer shoes or cellular devices and accessories. But in this case, I refuse to allow a label of my past define my present life and the outcome of my future.
Lets talk middle school.
My middle school years were dramatic; rather, I was a bit of a dramatic. I put all of my “emotion” into making friends and found myself enamored by a classmate. I was even more flustered/embarrassed/wooed (read: all of the above) when he rode his bicycle to my house on a hot, mid-summer July day “just because.” Ahhh, how those middle school antics and lack of a learner’s permit sure can do the trick. By the start of the school year, we were an “item” as much as an item can be in middle school, AKA: sat with each other at lunch, wrote love notes, and would occasionally hold hands. We briefly broke up, because who makes it in middle school anyways, and started dating again towards the end of middle school and continued dating as we transitioned to high school.
It was during these times that a lot of things begin to blur, not blurry because of drugs or alcohol, or memories flooded with football games, sports, and extracurricular activities, but intentionally blurred out by yours truly. It started with the clothes I wore—too low cut, too tight, my makeup too much and my hair too done, ‘cause the goody-two shoes who had never touched a drop of alcohol or even looked at a cigarette also dressed provocatively (eye roll more dramatic than a middle schooler). Then I stopped having friends. My time was entirely occupied by my bicycle-riding wooer of a boyfriend who wanted to only exclusively hang out with me at every sporting event, shared class, lunch time, or mutual extracurricular activity. I wasn’t allowed to have friends who were guys, people we had gone to school with our entire lives, and that I had been friends with well before he even rode his bicycle to my house that July day.
Suddenly, people I had been friends with long before we had begun dating, I was forbidden to talk to. Next, I couldn’t critique his drug or alcohol use, whether it included other girls who were “his friends,” or his older sister’s flirtatious classmates. I was only seeing movies with him, spending time with him on the weekends, and talking on the phone with him.
During all of this, I continued to feel the typical high school pressures that arise in a “long-term” (ahem) high school relationship. My opinions, my body, my feelings, my everything, were never respected, and it took me over a year and a half to figure out that this isn’t how it works in relationships, high school or not. And this is when I struggle to find the proper words and memories as I stare at the computer with the cursor flashing at me, asking what actually happened again and again and again.
I broke up with him after realizing how toxic our relationship was and would always be. I vengefully toyed with the July biker boy for a few months after. It felt good to be in control of my once controlling boyfriend. I decided when we would talk, hang up, hang out, or not talk at all.
An incident happened during one of those times when I gave him an inch and he took it a mile, and next thing I knew, I was home inconsolable with a ruined jacket, a new frozen memory, an acquired hate for the movie Tristan and Isolde, and a complete cutoff from him.
It was a repeat controlled situation just as when we were dating—I was trapped and couldn’t find a way out, but this time it was in a car, on a dark street, following a romantic movie, and post-begging of a “get back together” talk. My mind had been so flustered by knowing I couldn’t escape that one thing led to another and no should have meant no, but had never had any meaning the entire time we were dating previously. This was always the problem, no only worked for him. My no’s were always accompanied by an asterisk that was dictated by him and instead translated to “but actually yes, because you don’t know any better.”
It’s now permanently engraved instead.
“We all have scars, it’s just a result of the human experience. Some hurt a little more than others, but all none the less, teach us something. The scars don’t lessen a person’s value; they just mean that person lived a thorough life. Think about a time you bought something brand new. Like a shiny car or phone, it first arrives smooth and pretty much free of any flaws. A fall here, a bump and scratch there; it is almost inevitable not to get a little wear and tear. Especially the longer we have and use these items. It also doesn’t mean that we stop using or loving them. So the next time you want to curse your scars, stop. Be grateful they are actually valuable moments that offered a lesson. They mean you weren’t afraid to live your life, ALIVE.” [@lamise on Instagram]
Let me repeat—
I am not classified by my scars. I am who I am because of my scars.
I am beyond thankful to have always lived in a loving home that taught me valuable life lessons and kept me grounded. I am grateful to have met my husband who is beyond understanding, loving, and offers me grace and mercy without judgment. He is who I am most worried about as I write this (with his blessing). I am so fortunate to have been blessed with someone who just loves me regardless of my scars, the things that affect him directly but that he was never present or even had anything to do with him.
All those things I had to trudge through, those frozen memories that thaw up every few years, the mistakes I made in middle school and high school and college, and even yesterday don’t matter at all. I am loved and forgiven and made pure and whole by Jesus who sits to the right of God and will one day greet me with open arms lovingly.
I don’t need someone here to reaffirm that for me, or to say my past was muddled or wrong, though I am blessed beyond my dreams with someone who does this (thanks, Husband). I have someone who takes all of those terrible and horrible and worthless feelings and casts them aside with his blood so I can be made new. Jesus was always my Band-Aid to those scars, and though those scars are still there, he is still who healed them and brought me out of that deep and dark place.
Those scars don’t define me, but they make me unique and classify me as my own person, which is the only classification I want—something entirely unique and of its own, beautiful and tattered and wonderfully made in God’s eyes with his intentions and consumed by the Holy Spirit. It may not be pretty or a happy story, but it’s my own.
photos via WeHeartIt