In my 40-year history as a human, I’ve disliked a lot of people for loving me, but none of them as much as I detested my husband.
I just spent a lot of time wondering, subconsciously, mostly, but sometimes at the front of my brain, how he could be so stupid.
So stubbornly blind to my physical flaws and to my pettiness and my meanness and my rage.
So consistently un-revolted by me.
Because the things to hate about me were legion, and I once could have filled pages enumerating them.
The way my unconfined breasts rest on the bulge of my belly.
The way the insides of my thighs rub together.
The scars and the scars and the scars and the scars.
The size of my backside and the way it shifts and moves like ripples in the water.
My nearly uncontrollable anger that came from the shame of hating myself.
I could have gone on like that forever.
Some days, it felt like I did.
But somewhere along the way, I made a conscious decision to stop hating my husband for loving me.
I’m pretty sure it was right around the time I made the conscious decision to start loving myself.
And it was horrible. Hard. And I was sure sometimes I couldn’t do it.
Because it’s almost impossible to shut down the fire-hose of loathing.
To throw a wrench on that valve.
To pull and pull and pull until my muscles shake with the effort.
And to sleep and to rise and to tackle the valve again.
For days and weeks and months and years.
To tackle the valve, weak and weary, and some days not at all, just sitting at the curb and letting it go.
But one day, I realized the trickle was less. And when he grazed the side of my breast with his hand and pulled me, tentatively, into another hug I was likely to reject, I leaned in instead of away. For a few seconds, I accepted comfort before I made an excuse that I was tired. That I was in the middle of something. That dinner needed to be made or a kid’s butt wiped or anything… anything else but stand there being loved.
For seconds, one day, I hugged him back.
And the next day, I shied away.
And the next, I hugged him a few seconds more.
And so we’ve ebbed and flowed through new days and new months and new years. Each one, truly, better than the last. Not perfect. Not finished. But better.
I’m learning to love myself these days and to love my husband for loving me. And it turns out, with Love comes freedom, and we are reborn.
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