The Beauty You Lost

For God’s sake, don’t you wish to love someone who loves you back?

I ask my heart daily.

It is like taking care of a very drunk friend, or watching a two year old. No, you really don’t want to put that into your mouth. It’s poison. No, you don’t want to climb on that and jump off. I’ll tell you what is not safe, until you are sober enough or old enough to choose more wisely.
My heart fights back. The only words it has are painful feelings and heaviness. It can weigh down my limbs and shake me with sobs, even when I tell it, I have so much to be grateful for. Look at this incredible gift! opportunity! New friend! Date invitation!
Kind words from this person, and this, and this! You are loved, look, heart, they are all around you, the incredible people who have given you love, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time spent, acts of service, you name it, they’ve given and given and given.

Still, the heart says over and over “the one I love did not love me. He finds women beautiful if they have big boobs, big lips, sky high heels, big hair with extensions, good, bright blonde dye jobs, thin bodies with big muscles, lots and lots of makeup, and great big eyelashes.
I had none of those things. I never could. I never did. I was not enough, the love I poured out, accepting him, seeing him for who he was, loving him so very much, it was not enough, it was thrown away. He’d never felt a spark or ‘wow’ when he walked into a room and saw me, he said, and I deserve to have a man who feels that. So he broke up with me, so I could be with someone who said ‘wow’ when they saw me. He focused on exes the entire time he was with me. All those years, he talked about exes and was simply not present with me. None of it meant a thing to him.”

This is what my heart repeats. All day, every day. Ad nauseum.

Not enough. not enough. I don’t want to look like those women, who look like men in tons of makeup to me. I don’t have any problem with men in makeup, but I have never been a standout. I’ve never had bold looks. I am soft. It is true, I don’t want to be a stripper. That isn’t my path. It’s not my truth. Someone who wants that should not be with me.

I am gentler than that. My beauty isn’t the big, showstopping, flashy kind.
I don’t even want to be that, so why does my heart reproach me that I couldn’t be? That I was simply never attractive to him, never beautiful enough for him.

I love me soft. I love me natural and approachable, kind and gentle, fierce and brave. I love my heart,

and so, even though it is behaving like a two year old, or an obnoxiously drunk friend, I try to look after it with patience.

I want to move on. Someone doesn’t want me. He thinks his life is much better without a me in it. Therefore, he deserves to wake up every single morning for the rest of his life without me.
He deserves to go through the day without me, and fall asleep at night without me.

I am sure there is some reason he made himself work hard at being with someone he just wasn’t that into. He gave me reasons. Those “Beautiful heartbreakers” he’s drawn to are a bad destructive thing, apparently, but they’re just so darn beautiful and alluring, they’re still better than whatever it is that I could provide. He still only wanted to see me once a week, and was flippant about that, as well. Indifferent.
I was a sensible choice. He was settling for less. I was a “good woman.” I was the one who would not cheat. I was the one who wouldn’t lie. I was the one who would be at home, steady little brown haired wren, hunched over my keyboard writing stories that beautiful women glittered as they lived.

Do you ever wish you  could surgically remove some of your past?
If I could remove those words from my memory, I would. If I could remove the love I feel toward someone who doesn’t care for it, I would. (Edited to add: that is waning, thank God, and nearly gone. The sickness is almost past.)
But, insisted my heart today, it doesn’t matter what he did or did not experience.
If he doesn’t know the depths of beauty and the full love you experienced, if he is unaware of what he set fire to and tossed away, it’s for you to pity him, and nothing more.

If you were to forget this love and all the pain it now comes with, if you were to remove it, it would be a far more painful thing. Because you wouldn’t be who you are now.
It doesn’t matter at all if none of it was real for him. If it was a sham, a fake, the Greatest Showman’s biggest Show. If any of that is true, or has even a glimmer of truth, it doesn’t matter – because it was real to you. So real. The most real. And that love is yours, and no one can take that away from you.

Do not regret love. Do not regret having loved someone truly. They may never know what they had; mine may be, in fact, the most unconditional love he has or will ever be given, and he may never be able to know, value or accept that. But that is his journey.
How others receive or do not receive us is none of our problem or business.

Pain is so tiresome. Especially when it’s someone who *does not deserve one more second of the precious, non-renewable resource that is my time and my life.* He shattered promises and broke your engagement, five WEEKS before the wedding, I tell my heart. He did NOT want to be your husband. He did NOT feel at all excited or fortunate to be the one you said you would marry. He only wanted to see what was missing, wrong, not up to par in you. He was going to marry you hoping you’d change, he told you that. LET GO.

And still, it speaks, this heart, in pain, pain, pain.

I think if I wear the armor of someone who feels good long enough,
pretty soon, I will begin to believe it.

My drunk heart does have this clarity to give: you are not “less” or “inadequate” in any way. You just couldn’t be seen because you didn’t echo someone’s familiar damage patterns.

He’ll seek those hard faced, scantily-clad, posing, augmented women who sneer at him and feel themselves superior until the day he dies, and maybe never realize what it was he had in you. And you know what, that’s okay.  They’ll treat him with thinly veiled contempt, and they’ll criticize him, not praise him like you did. They won’t hold him up. They’ll look down on him, and he’ll lap it up and keep striving forward where someone tells him he’s not measuring up. Because he’s addicted to being told he isn’t good enough yet.

I loved him as is. I believed in him – and all that did was make me something that needed to be nitpicked, quick, find all the flaws and magnify them, because there’s SERiOUS danger here. Danger of : commitment. Danger of connection. Danger of being loved. Danger of maybe learning to love.

And that’s his own life to live. Bye boy, bye.
There’s a great gift to be deeply grateful for, that someone who couldn’t appreciate what he had realized it and threw me away, because one day, I will be happy and grateful that I am free to go where I am seen.

Who would want to live a life where they could not be loved for who they are and aren’t? Who would want to live a life with someone who doesn’t want to be present or spend quality time together, and can’t enjoy the little things. Cherish the warmth that togetherness can bring?

For a heart like mine, that’s the worst kind of torture. And so I tell it, patience,

I love you, I see you, and my God, heart, you are generous. magnificent. kind. compassionate, playful, fun, sweet. you seek to give others the benefit of the doubt. You continually excuse even cruel behavior, because you seek the good in people.
Keep going, heart. You’ve not been broken, not really- because this love wasn’t real after all. The love that is real will choose you, too. You’ve just been shattered open again, heart, by a guy who will join the small list of guys you thought you loved. Nah. You haven’t had real love yet.

Real love will want you to feel safe. Real love won’t “neg” you and withhold approval, affection, connection. Real love won’t pull the rug out from under you the moment you begin to feel good and safe. Real love will partner with you, trust you, appreciate you.

Keep going, brave heart – and all the brave hearts out there. It’s only the broken heart that can truly pray.

Whomever is reading this, if you’ve given your love and devotion to someone who didn’t value it, from my lost heart to yours- across the miles – you are not alone, and your story isn’t done yet. That was just preparation. That wasn’t the important part of the book.
We are, none of us, alone in this.

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