I used to be really bitter about my divorce. Getting divorced at 21-years old isn’t something a lot of people can relate to. But what they can relate to is being heartbroken. Because that’s what I was: broken.
I fell in love with a boy. He was a boy with a sad past and that past is ultimately what dictated our future. I could say our time together was all fun and games but it wasn’t. Love was a nightmare. It was angry and it was abusive. It was demeaning and it was manipulative. Love often felt like a punishment for trying too hard or maybe trying too little. It’s like we were puzzle pieces that were always trying to fit, trying to fake it until that shriveled up piece of cardboard bounced back to its’ original shape and we couldn’t deny any longer that we just didn’t work. And we had to face the entire world that we had to return what we thought we conquered.
My ex-husband is still a part of my story seven years later. The fiery love is gone but it took years for it to happen. Every night was spent feeling alone, feeling broken, asking myself and pleading with God and my mom, just trying to understand why he didn’t want me. Why nobody wanted me.
I convinced myself that I was wrong and for so many years, I carried around this unfair guilt, constantly tugging at my shoulders, weighing me down, anchoring me. When you get your heart broken, when you watch someone just smash that brittle muscle of yours, you try and make sense of what went wrong. And the last thing you could ever do is blame the one who left you. They obviously left because of you. Because you’re a bitch. Because you’re crazy. Because you nag. Because you’re not pretty enough, or sexy enough. Because you hate giving blow jobs.
My mom always told me we have three big loves in our lives. The first, is unconditional. The kind of love your parents exude. The kind of love you’ll exude when you have kids yourself. The second is the final love. This is the love that pushes you, inspires you, challenges you. A great partner is the one who pushes you toward your best self, selflessly. The last kind of love is that of torment. It’s the kind of love that fakes it, that tricks you into believing it’s real only when it’s based off apologies.
But I think there’s a fourth kind of love. Because it’s the kind of love I have for my ex-husband and the one that encourages me to continually evolve with my current. It’s a love that teaches you to love yourself despite your flaws. When I take the time to reflect on my current relationship – our partnership transcends what I thought existed with my ex. This love is an extension of my very self.
But I often fear that it would have never existed had it not been for that first, very real, very vengeful, very awkward, very beautiful kind of love. The kind of love that’s full of on again/off again, “I love you but I hate you” kind of confusion. My life propelled since loving him and I’d never hesitate about changing its’ trajectory.
Being broken’s not a bad thing; it’s a necessary thing. It influences growth and beauty and appreciation for all the things you thought you wanted, but learned you needed. It crosses my mind from time to time about what our life would be like had we stayed together, stitched begrudgingly to one another like a cold sore. We’d be miserable. We’d be chained. We’d be broken.
Sometimes love isn’t all it’s cracked up to me when you’re loving the person who isn’t right for you. If given the opportunity, he’d scoff at the idea of marrying me. And that’s okay. That’s okay that we hold the kind of love, the kind of mutual respect for ourselves to allow us to have grown and find loves that suit us. It’s necessary to grow apart from relationships that tether you.
You’re deserving of a love that doesn’t make you feel like you need to go to bed alone. Love is about intimacy. It’s about embracing the incredible beyond simultaneously. And doing it with the one you love can only be done when you untangle yourself from everything that’s been weighing you down, whether that’s guilt, or shame, or love, or even someone who looks right through you.