I have these tendencies. I call them quirks, but they’re more accurately scars. You can’t see them because I spend every waking minute trying to hide them. I try so hard to push them away, far off to the side, praying that I can get them out of my sight and out of my mind. But even if I don’t push them far enough away and even if they’re very much in my sight and in my mind, you still can’t see them. Not physically at least.
And I have these tendencies, I call them quirks, but they’re more accurately scars because I was the dart board for his emotional complexities that he wasn’t willing to deal with himself. He used me, and countless others, as his bulls-eye for target practice, warping his problems into words and treatments that he kept sending my way until I was so filled with holes that you could see right through me and I wasn’t useful to him anymore. I crippled under his use and fell to the ground. He kicked me aside and found his next victim.
So I have these tendencies, I call them quirks, but they’re more accurately scars. And you can’t see them in the flesh. But they show themselves in other ways.
You can see them in my constant apologies, the constant “sorries” that come out of my mouth, that follow every message, that preface every statement. You can see them in my belief that I’m always at fault, constantly to blame, for anything, for everything. You can see them in the fact that I convince myself to be making one hundred mistakes a day while everyone else makes zero.
Because he was always angry or annoyed, frustrated or upset. And he was always angry or annoyed, frustrated or upset at me. At anything I did or didn’t do, at anything I said or didn’t say, at anything I felt or didn’t feel. Because he blamed me for everything and anything, found things to fault me for. Because if I did, said, or felt anything that contradicted him, he made sure I knew it.
You can see these scars in my never-ending self-consciousness and in my immensely low self-esteem. They appear in the words that I use to describe myself when no when else is listening: ugly, fat, boring, stupid, unfunny, needy, bad in bed, whore, cunt, bitch. You can see them in the fact that I believe I hold no worth and no value, in the fact that I believe that I add only negativity to anyone’s life. You can see them in the fact that I am constantly criticizing myself, comparing myself to everyone else around me, and never even coming close to being good enough.
Because he used these words to my face. Because he called me ugly, fat, boring, stupid, unfunny, needy, bad in bed, whore, cunt, bitch. Because he was critical about every part of me. Because he compared me to everyone else, making sure to tell me that I was uglier, fatter, less interesting, and less funny than any girl he’d ever been with. Because he made sure to tell me that I was worse in bed than every single one of them, making sure I knew that I was constantly disappointing him.
You can see these scars in the fact that I don’t trust anyone, that I don’t have faith in anyone. You can see them in the fact that I’m terrified of everything I say or do because I’m convinced it will be wrong.
You can see them in my fear of emotions and feelings because they’ve been punished. You can see them in my need to please. You can see them in the detachment I feel from my own body. You can see them in the immense amounts of anxiety I feel in every social and intimate relationship of my life.
Because he manipulated me, my thoughts and my feelings. Because he took who I was and told me that everything about me was wrong. Because he took my body as his own. he told me things and said things to me that I’m still trying to drown out. Because he always lied to me. Because he never once gave me a reason to trust him, his words, or his actions. Because I gave in to him for too long. Because I was manipulated more than I should have been. Because I didn’t know how to get out.
So I have these tendencies. I call them quirks, but they’re more accurately scars. And I have them because of him.
Some days they feel fresh, rubbed raw and bleeding, as if made only yesterday. Some days they feel older, as though they’re covering themselves over and starting to heal. Some days my mind gets away from me. Some days it’s hard for me to decipher fact from anxiety-created fiction stemming from what he’s made me believe. Some days are better than others. Some hours are better than others. And I take each one as it comes. And I know that as each day passes that separates me from him, I gain a little more control. I work every day to stop him from touching my present and my future. And I try every day to be a little bit stronger.
Because these scars do not define me and they don’t determine how much love and happiness I deserve. These scars do not diminish my worth. These scars are not unattractive, deal-breaking pieces of baggage. These scars do not make me a bad partner. These scars are not a reason to stay away.
Because of these scars, I have had to build myself up from the very bottom. Because of these scars, I have had to fight through what has felt like endless days and nights of constant anxiety, depression, haunting, and self-loathing. Because of these scars, I have become more independent. Because of these scars, I have become more resilient. Because of these scars, I have been forced to walk through the flames and build my own armor along the way.
Because of these scars, I have become more introspective. Because of these scars, I will never take kindness, respect, trust, or honesty for granted. Because I have seen the opposite. I have seen the dark side and I refuse to let my scars cause darkness on anyone else.
So yes, I do have these tendencies, or as I call them quirks, but they’re more accurately scars. And yes, they are awful. They have caused me an unmentionable amount of pain. And while I do not, for one fleeting second, wish these scars on anyone else and while I wish I never had to experience them in the first place, I know that in the long-run, I’m becoming stronger and more resilient, kinder and more compassionate, wiser and more independent than ever before.
I still have these scars, they’re still very much there, and I think a part of them always will be, but what’s important is that I am fighting the battle, I am walking through the flames, I am challenging each and every one of them. I am refusing to let them defeat me. I am fighting for power and control over them. And as painful as they continue to be, the only way I can come to peace with their presence is knowing that I’m becoming a better, stronger person because of my determination to kick them in the ass.