After Being Mistreated And Realizing I'm Worth More, I'm Letting Go Of Unhealthy Relationships

After Being Mistreated And Realizing I'm Worth More, I'm Letting Go Of Unhealthy Relationships

I'm learning how to set boundaries with myself and other people; I'm learning when I need to leave.

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"I've dealt with that kind of person before, and you don't want to be that way," I told him.

"Yet you still keep going back," he replied.

Touche.

My mind is split between knowing I deserve better and still yearning for what I want, grasping at anything that will help me avoid this loneliness. But deep down, truly, I know I should've left you before any of this started.

I should've left you when I forgot what I needed to give you everything I had, everything you wanted, when you wanted it. I couldn't decipher what I truly wanted from what I was willing to give, but I shouldn't have had to deal with that fight in my head. So much has been stolen from me already -- my body, my emotional labor -- how am I supposed to know what's truly mine anymore?

I should've left you when you stepped in front of the sun and created a shadow. When I realized how you towered over me, in stature, in vocal level, in strength of opinion, in needing to be right. I should've left you when the sound of vultures swarming around us woke me up like a bird's morning chirping but sounded more like a dying animal than a baby bird's birth.

I should've left you when I tried to gingerly tell you my secrets and you shut your eyes and ears, hanging padlocks like earrings, sliding glue along your eyelashes.

I should've left you when they told me to. When they told me who you were behind closed doors. Who you were both when I was and wasn't looking. When they asked me over and over again why I still talk to you. When your lips covered mine, inhibiting me from speaking. When I heard war erupting from your voice, spilling over onto my lap, scratching at my ears. My nose is filled with the smoke of your angry words slipping in between crevices in your room, in spaces we shared.

I should've left you when your anger turned into exclamations and screams that triggered old memories of fear. I'm reminding myself every day that if he or she scares you, that relationship isn't healthy, and that we are worth our health.

I should've left you when our relationship was more unhealthy than healthy, when I felt like nothing more than something, when my friend told me that someone who truly respected me wouldn't treat me that way. And I should've left you when you cared for someone else more than me, and I was standing right in front of you, crying.

I am the voices of hundreds of girls hanging like forgotten keys on the hook by the door. I let you in. I try not to blame myself for doing so. I pick up the keys this time; I unlock the door on my way out. My feet catch on the Welcome mat but even my tripping directs me forwards.

Leaving you means going back to when I was a young, new girl, a budding flower. Before they screamed when I cried. Before I felt someone else's hands on me. Before I felt fear or discomfort or disgust or depression. Before it happened over and over again. Before so much was lost.

But lose you and remember my worth. Lose you and find someone who treats me like a person should be treated. Losing isn't always what's screwed me over. And depending on the relationship, losing doesn't have to mean an utter, final loss. It's saying no, standing up for myself, not spending too much time with you, not staying when you hurt me.

"Raise your hopeful voice / you have a choice / you'll make it now... You have suffered enough / and warred with yourself / it's time that you won." -Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Falling Slowly

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.

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To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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