Desperate, Ugly, Pathetic

I am feeling down about myself. Every now and then I get this way. I absolutely HATE it when I get this way. There is nothing attractive or appealing about being or feeling this way. It is desperate. It's pathetic. I fall into this place where I am searching and looking to feel pretty again, sexy again, wanted again. At this point, I would settle for just feeling human again. 

It comes and goes, this feeling. It is the result of 5-plus years with no wonderful husband to assure me and reassure me that I am, indeed, beautiful, and worthy of love, and attractive. It is the result of being overweight a good part of my life, and having that weight be the result of trauma / rape. It is the result of convincing myself for years, that if I could just hide behind this shield of fat, no man would ever want me again - no man would ever hurt me again. It is the result of telling myself that Im disgusting, and of feeling disgusting, and of looking in the mirror and wanting to disappear. It is the result of the only person who ever truly loved you, being dead. It is the result of waiting almost 5 years to date someone, to have a relationship with someone, to sleep with someone - and then finding out later that your entire time together was probably a lie. It is the result of the person that you have really strong feelings for, not being in a place where they are able to reciprocate those feelings in a way that makes you feel wanted or pretty or desirable. So, instead, you put yourself out there to this person emotionally, or you tease and flirt with them, because it's fun and natural and there's a connection there, and because you miss flirting with someone more than you miss anything - and you are sometimes met with flirting and teasing in return, but other times are met with silence. And then you feel like an idiot. Like maybe this person doesn't actually think you are special, in the way that you think they are special.

And the person that you dated a few months ago didnt actually think you were special either, because they lied to you and cheated and told you that you were beautiful and sexy, but probably didnt really mean it, because they lied. So then you start to question all of it - and maybe you really arent anything special, and maybe your dead husband was it for you, and maybe your love and your caring about someone is just simply not good enough for them to want to love you back. Or maybe youre just over-analyzing every damn thing because you are tired and you feel old and gross, and because stupid Valentine's Day is coming again and you don't want to go through yet another one feeling lonely and like you don't have someone out there who wants to get you flowers and feel nice just knowing that they thought of you, and maybe you miss your husband's organic love that you never had to question, ever. 

What brought all this on? I am living in my parent's basement in small town Massachusetts. I left my job of 16 years in NYC. I left my life of 25 years in NYC. I miss my friends. I miss walking down the streets of Manhattan or Queens late at night, and everything being open. I miss life after 9 pm. Most of all, I miss feeling like an independent adult. I was dating. I was feeling good for awhile. i was a modern day city girl. I was feeling like part of the world again. Now, I exist in a basement where my parents know where I am and what Im doing at all times, I have no car, not many local friends, and no life outside of seeing my family. Im here for a reason - to write my book - and Im extremely grateful to them for letting me stay here - but there's a big part of me that feels like a huge loser. No matter how much I try and talk myself out of this feeling, it still feels like I failed at my dreams and I failed my dead husband and I failed at making something of myself in NYC. I couldnt hack it. In the end, i had to leave. I fought with NYC, and it won. 

I also feel replaced. When I left my job of 16 years, part of me was hoping that my boss would fight for me to stay. I was hoping he would say: "What can I do to make you stay?" That didnt happen. Instead, it felt as if my leaving was a tiny miniscule thing that nobody even noticed. New professors were found very easily to cover my courses, and I just sort of faded away into the hallways. Same thing with my widowed support/social group I ran in NY for the past few years. The group goes on, as it should, and someone else is now leading it. Again, it felt as if that transition was smooth and seamless and nobody really gave it a second thought or even missed me much. The biggest blow was the way in which my former relationship ended. Without going into too much detail, let's just say I was literally replaced with another widow. He started dating another widow, someone I know, without even bothering to tell me. And then he didnt even acknowledge that I was hurt or that what he did was very wrong and tacky. He just ignored me, like I didnt exist. 

And that felt awful. It made me feel ugly, pathetic, desperate. Like Im nothing. Like Im disposable. 

Yesterday, I had my first doctors appointment with a primary physician in a long time. Being in Massachusetts with no income, the one good thing is that I finally qualify for great health insurance. So I saw the doctor. I knew I was very overweight, obviously. Im not stupid. But the number I saw on that scale made me feel like an elephant. I could cry right now just thinking about it. I don't want anyone else to see it or to know it. I don't even want to know it. The doctor examined me and found that I have a small hernia by my belly button. It looks like a basketball is living in my stomach. Theres some sort of weird benign cyst thing on my wrist. It looks terrible. My skin is covered in blotchy red marks and off and on hives and ezcema. It is caused by stress, and when the outbreaks come, I look awful. My legs, my arms, all over.

In addition to that, I have all this residual leftover crap from being raped 20 years ago. The skin underneath my breasts and near my pelvic region, sometimes has tears, or breakouts or redness as a result of trauma happening there years ago. A lighter being held there, and being burned. Having to tell a new doctor these things, and feeling like a 45 year old woman with no privacy who has her mom driving her everywhere she needs to go - it just feels small. When my dad found out I had a hernia, he said in a judgmental tone: "I was wondering what that huge petrusion was on you!" Gee thanks, dad. Way to make me feel even WORSE and more sensitive about this THING inside me that makes me look like an alien. And when I tell the person Im very much interested in and care deeply for, in a text, that I feel like a freak and I feel ugly,and they respond by telling me they are busy at work, I am swiftly reminded that I no longer have that KNOWING from my dear husband , who always made me feel beautiful. I am reminded how I never had to question anything with him, and I am reminded of how much I miss that. 

I know I will not have that ever again. And Im not looking to have that, because that would be replacing something that is not replaceable, because people are not replaceable. And this person that I care for very much, I am not looking to compare myself or be anything like what he had and will always have with his late wife. Because that is not possible, and I have no desire to threaten or step on or diminish what they will always be and always have. 

What I do want, at this point in my life, is this. It's really simply actually:

Someone who I love spending time with, to come home to at night. Someone to hold and be held when I need that. Some good food, some good conversation, and a place that feels like home. That's all. I just want to BE -in our sadness, in our moments of joy, in our whatever. Together. Mostly, I want my love and my caring to not feel like a burden to this person, or to not feel like pressure or like anything other than what it is and what it should be - a gift. Love is a gift, and I truly believe that Don has sent this gift to me, and sent me to this person. I could be wrong, of course, but Im rarely ever wrong. 

i just want to love, and feel loved in return. And to float along that way, for as long as we have left on this earth. There really is not much point to much of anything, without love. 


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  • commented 2017-02-08 16:05:31 -0800
    This post really spoke to me Kelley. My husband and partner in life died suddenly just 8 months ago. I also lost my job of 6 years to an unexpected lay off in December on top of it all, a job I thought I would retire from one day. Although I have never experienced trauma such as yours, and I can only imagine the extra pain and difficulty you have had to bear in life because of it, I can relate to the low self-esteem and lack of confidence brought on at times by not fitting society’s views of beauty and life expectation. The weight of it is heavy and seems unbearable at times even when we know it is not what is most important in life, which just adds to the negative feelings about one’s self. It was my husband as well, who gave me the confidence to just BE ME when I was feeling especially low. The confidence of knowing: at least this person loves me for me and I love them and that is all that matters. He was the positive beacon of light in my life that I could focus on to pull myself out of these downward slumps and now I often feel invisible and alone in the darkness without him. However, that being said, this is why I love and in many ways need this blog and all of you bravely sharing your ups and downs. I concur with Cathy’s comment below, a) know that you are not alone in your feelings, we are a community with you, feeling it as well, b) you have a goal, your book, and when you finish it these feelings will fade away, as they will be out shined by your accomplishments, and c) focus on the love-past, present, & future. Thank you for sharing.
  • commented 2017-02-04 11:54:37 -0800
    Stay strong, Kelley, always seems like so much going on, doesn’t it? You’ve had a lot of changes lately, leaving job and city, but focus on what you set out to do, finish that book. I often feel invisible to so many around me, that sense of belonging somewhere/anywhere went out the door when my husband died. And you are oh so right in focusing on wanting to love and be loved in return. That’s truly what it’s all about. Hang in there, lots of us hanging by a thread with you.