Perfectly Imperfect(3)

By: Harper Sloan






SELF-LOATHING IS A DISEASE.

Okay, so maybe not a real disease, but it should be classified as such.

When you wake up in the morning and hate the skin you’re stuck in. Or maybe when you look in the mirror and see round cheeks where perfect contours used to be and immediately want to shove your finger down your throat to help.

Worse yet, being married to a man who tells you day in and day out what an ugly fat-ass cow you are. Or to quote what seems to be his go-to in verbal lashings, ‘your disgusting fat body.’

Ugh.

Self-loathing is a disease I’ve been fighting to cure for more years than I can remember. It didn’t help that, until recently, I had been married to a man who fed that disease daily. His comments, his look of disgust at the person his wife had become, his infidelity—all of it had been the fuel needed for that disease to burn wild. And, worse yet, I let it. I became a product of my own mind’s games.

But today, I get to try and focus on my future. The end of one hellish journey where I can finally, hopefully, take all the hard work I’ve accomplished in the months since my marriage ended and become the me I was meant to be. Today will mark the day it will be officially behind me.

Throwing back the covers, I look down at my thick dimpled thighs long enough to take an invisible slap to my waning self-esteem. You’re better than that, Willow. You see what your mind wants you to see. Remember that.

It isn’t that I’m a weak person. I’m a product of self-destruction, or so my therapist tells me. I’m a battlefield of strength versus weakness and reality versus my own mind. I don’t look in the mirror and hate myself because I’m weak. No, I hate myself because even though my clothes and the scale tell me one thing, I can’t see it. It takes all the strength a person can muster to continue fighting his or her own self-image. Fighting to find their way back from the damage they’ve done to themselves physically and mentally.

I don’t think I was always like this. My childhood, I think, was the building blocks of where I am now in my life. My mother loved me as fiercely as any mother loves her children. But that’s where the love ended. My father, or I should say the man who raised me since I was a wee toddler, has never liked me. I came into his life as an inconvenience that just so happened to be attached to the woman he fell in love with. Even after all these years, I don’t know why I still crave his love and yearn to be accepted as his ‘real’ daughter. And don’t even get me started on Ivy. His love all went to his true daughter, my half-sister. Even when she was a baby, she didn’t like me. She would start crying the second I walked into the room. But the dislike they shared turned to hate the day my mother died.

The depression that started with my mother’s death continued to compound with other issues over the years, as did my body, because I binge ate every single one of those issues. Looking back now, I’m confident that I only married my soon-to-be ex because he was the first man to ever pay any attention to me. Attention, in the positive light, was something I had struggled to find after her death. For almost a decade, I simmered in a vat of hate around me, so when I met him, I took everything he had to offer and grasped on tight. It didn’t take long for that affection to turn into a nightmare of verbal abuse that I put up with for years. According to my therapist, I was my own martyr. I stayed because, in a sense, I believed I deserved it.

Until the day that it was over, when I realized I was worth more.

But at that time, married to a life of verbal lashings, I lost myself more than I could have gained back from his shadow of hate dissipating.

I went from being a healthy woman with a perfectly flat stomach, perky boobs, size four waist, and the best ass in town – to someone I didn’t even recognize anymore.

And it was at that moment that I used all the hate others had toward me and turned it into the biggest cheerleader ever. I struggled. I continue to struggle. But I’m getting better, and that’s all I can focus on right now.

With a deep sigh, I make my way to the bathroom and start getting ready for my appointment with my divorce attorney. The last appointment and the most important one because it means I’ll finally be free of my cheating, verbally abusive ex-husband.