In continuation of last week’s post, this is letter # 2, written to a person I never think of, no offense to him, and he’s someone I wouldn’t imagine would ever read this, hence why I’m not addressing it TO him. If he ever did, I don’t think he’d have the capacity to understand the maturity or wisdom in it (I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just being realistic based off how I remember his mindset). However, I did have an opportunity to put this out into the universe, and I will take it.
If you’ve read my earlier posts, you’d see that self-confidence was not always so natural for me. I had a low self-esteem throughout my teenage years and perhaps struggled a bit my first semester in college. But it was also that semester and the following semester where I’d really come to appreciate my outward appearance and what I had to offer the world, and this happened through that marriage.
What was it about the marriage that made me gain all the confidence I lacked, since it wasn’t him, specifically, that made me feel beautiful or loved? I’m not quite sure. It could have started with waxing my unibrow (don’t laugh). It could have been being exposed to college students and how everyone seemed to be sure of themselves. It could have been that I had someone I thought I belonged to, and maybe that gave me a false sense of security? Whether it was one of these things, all of them, or none of them, I started to really find myself through that marriage, and I’m thankful for it.
What I also have to be thankful of from that marriage is equally important, if not more so. To those who have only met me in the last two-three years, you’d be shocked to hear that I was not as accepting and open as I am now. I wasn’t as free-spirited and I was very judgmental. I know – it sounded as awful typing as it did thinking it, but it’s true. I saw things very black and white, very right and wrong. There were no gray areas, no maybes, no ifs or buts, just this or that. I was so stubborn about it too, that I didn’t have the best relationship with my siblings, as as result. They were the more rational ones growing up.
How did I go from that to who I am now? From someone who would have never associated with anyone that did any type of recreational drug to then marrying my second husband who was a known pot-head (I hated it so much and it was the thing we fought about the most). Well, I have my first husband to thank for it. He had such an ‘amazing’ reputation which he didn’t live up to. To be frank, I was told I’d be the luckiest girl in the world if I were to have married him, which definitely persuaded my very young, very naive, very impulsive self. And before I continue, let me stress that he is NOT a horrible person. I do not believe he is evil, I do not believe that he fully knew what he was doing at the time, nor do I believe he was as cocky as he made himself seem. But he was not the innocent, perfect man everyone made him out to be. He listened to instigators. He didn’t trust my truth when I told him it’d be better off separating whilst we were only engaged. He didn’t respond to my kindness in trying to break up with him once I realized I had made a grave mistake. And because I tried to break up with him to no success, he turned on me. He became more jealous, he used threats, and he was different with me leading up to and after our wedding.
But what happened after I left him really cemented my future self – him and his relatives (I stress his parents and siblings were not a part of this and I have so much love for them till this day, especially his sister, whom I miss with all of my heart) threatened my parents and my brother when threatening me wasn’t working. I won’t go into more detail for the same reason I don’t go into more details with my previous posts on men, because these aren’t the posts that discuss our relationships or the details of what happened. This post is meant to thank him, but I have to mention this part in order to get to the thankful part.
After the threats, and these became serious, I had no choice but to get a restraining order against him. Lord, did I not realize the reaction THAT was going to have. I was basically shunned. Seriously, everyone hated me. The amount of gossip people partook in was sickening. It’s the main reason, sadly, why to this day I do not visit Montenegro every year the way I grew up doing. It ruined my perception on my own relatives and “loved ones”. It ruined the simple logic I knew of and it pushed me to finding the complete opposite when I met my next spouse.
BUT, if this didn’t happen (including the details left out), I wouldn’t have felt the despise of the community for doing what in my heart felt right – protecting my family. And to this day, I sometimes feel stares and words spoken about me, but it’s calmed down so much that it doesn’t bother me anymore. Yet, for years, people didn’t even look at me respectfully. It’s ironic because unlike some of their daughters, or selves, I never snuck out of the house, I had never kissed a man before my first husband, let alone have sex with one. I never dated. I never lied to my parents. I was close to a perfect child (outside of my attitude problem, of course), yet I was the one – me – that was treated as an outcast because I didn’t stay in something that felt super wrong once I got to know my then-fiance. I had to take extreme measures to ensure my family’s safety, but that’s not how anyone was looking at it. I’d like to know how they would have reacted if they had to listen to the words or the tears I had to. That pain led me to who I am and it made me open my eyes, and my heart, to people who didn’t have ‘good’ reputations. To people others easily judge. To those who may do drugs, to those who aren’t religious, to those who have cheated, to those who are experimental, and to those who are completely opposite to me, or to you, in every way.
Why? Because a thing or an experience or a word does not own you. It doesn’t automatically make you a bad person, with a bad heart. We are more than what people say or think. We are more than the experiences that broke us. We are so much more than it all. And one may have the most beautiful heart existing, but be addicted to what some would describe as destructive or toxic habits or behaviors. Human beings are not simple, by nature. We have to fight through our demons, and we all have them, regardless how big or small they seem.
I may not think about him, I may forget that it was him I lost my virginity to, but every day I’m subconsciously thankful that he helped shape my persona into this open, accepting, loving, forgiving soul that I am. He doesn’t know how much I’ve always wanted him to be happy and to find a wife and have the family he wanted (which he since has). He doesn’t know how much it hurts my heart that I can’t offer his brother a congratulations on his marriage, because in this culture of non-progressiveness that seems to still permeate my hometown, it would be considered ostracizing. They’d think I had an ulterior motive. Isn’t that sad?
But I am not of that mindset, and I will always forgive those who have hurt me, secretly pray for them, wish them well, even if I never think of them otherwise.
Growth. That’s how you know you’re adulting the right way.
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