One day my ex made a comment that stuck with me for the rest of our relationship. At the time I had gotten fired from my job because I was in school (how effed up is that?!) and had fallen into a depression, and to be completely forthcoming, I had gained a little weight. Not a lot of weight, but some and being that I am such a petite girl any weight gain will show. Needless to say I was so wrapped up in feeling sorry for myself and being depressed that I had not noticed the weight gain. Then, at Thanksgiving when my aunt commented on it, it literally hit me that I had been in a negative space and needed to stop feeling that way immediately. And so I did, and the small amount of noticeable weight I had gained rapidly came off as I began to use my unemployment days to jog and do Tae-Bo.
Cut to about a month or so later when my scrawny ex-boyfriend then decided to become obsessed with gaining weight and looking perfect. I stood in the bedroom and in answer to me talking about him working out he says, “I need to whip your body into shape.” Wow…just typing that sentence literally puts me back into that bedroom standing in shock as he sauntered past me as though what he said was completely okay. And the worse aspect of it is that to him it was. There had been a huge shift in our relationship at that point, and I began to notice how he seemed jealous of certain elements of my life.
At the time I enrolled full-time into school, found a part-time job, began building my body back to its petite state, and spent time studying, working and hanging with my family. And instead of being happy for me in turning my negative situation of being fired, going on unemployment and struggling to pay rent (oh and yes he made three times as much as I did, and made me use my unemployment checks to pay half of the rent!) into positives, and being productive, he became angry, defensive and jealous. He would constantly put me down and make hateful comments about my appearance, or the fact that I went to school etc…I was excelling in my life and he could not handle it.
My ex did not attend college and had been working the same job with a clothing company in their warehouse since he had moved to California. He complained about his co-workers, talked horribly about his bosses, but stayed there because it paid so well and it was a boys club where he basically got to do whatever he wanted. There he had the control. At home when I fell into a depression and felt nothing but insecure and unhappy he had the control. When you are in a relationship and your partner plays upon your insecurities and uses them to make themselves feel better by putting you down, you unconsciously give them control over you, and that is exactly what I did…for a while.
Every week I would ride my bike the five miles to the beach where we lived and back. One morning I rode my bike and stopped at the beach to just sit and take in its beauty. Two guys approached me and asked me if I were single. When I answered no one of them said, “If you were my girl I’d never have you riding your bike out by yourself…we’d be in bed cuddling all day.” They both proceeded to compliment me further and tell me how beautiful I was! After they left the only thought in my mind was ‘How can two total strangers tell me how beautiful I am, and my own boyfriend won’t?’
Why was my boyfriend treating me like he hated me, always putting me down and making me feel bad about my accomplishments, and two total strangers doing the exact opposite?! I have never felt as insecure as I did in the last seven months of that relationship. Luckily, I began to see his actions were about his insecurities, which he was projecting onto me. And I am even luckier that the relationship ended because he was nothing but negativity who always brought me down.
So, hey, you, future great love of my life, here’s the thing…sometimes I feel insecure. Sometimes I feel sad. Sometimes I don’t feel confident. Sometimes I feel weak. Sometimes I feel fat. Sometimes I think no matter what I do to my hair, outfit, or makeup that I just look terrible. Because having insecurities is completely natural and going through hard times whether you are alone or in a relationship can really affect the way you feel about yourself. But, I need you to remember that these insecurities may sometimes come up in our relationship, and sometimes I just need you to stop me, look me in my eye, and tell me that I’m beautiful.