“You’re like a goddess!” and other stunning revelations…

.

or:  Say What You Mean and Say It Now.

When I was in the Dark Days of Divorce (a period that lasted years, actually), I had times when I thought I’d never lift myself off of the pavement, I felt so low. If I had any self esteem it was quite undercover. The strongest thing I did was to persevere and get out of Dodge (for anyone not familiar with this cowboy reference, it means to leave that two-horse town and all its dangers).

When I did leave Dodge, I so trembled inside that it took a while to compose myself,  but possibilities bloomed all around me, mostly because there are lots of good people in the world. I found myself getting happier and more confident, or thawing, as the poem may be.

One thing that was tough, especially at first, was taking compliments. I doubted the sincerity of anyone who complimented anything but my resilience or strength. Or cooking.

My thoughts went something like this: “You think I look good? I’m attractive to you? Are you blind, or insincere with ulterior motives?”  And it wasn’t limited to looks. Compliments about talents, humor, intellect, fitness– nearly any personal attribute whatsoever–were doubted or disregarded.

This was not the best attitude for me to have towards sincerely interested gentleman, no indeed. Why didn’t I just carry a ten-foot pole around with me? (It could be doubly useful if I found myself drowning, but that’s a previous post.)

I conquered this discomfort in one fell swoop and rather unexpectedly:  in an offhand manner one day when I was feeling sorry for myself early post-divorce, I told my ex-husband that fortunately for him, he now had the opportunity to find someone beautiful.

I could have knocked him over with an eyelash.

“What?” he couldn’t have looked or acted more stunned. He stammered. I don’t think I had ever witnessed him stammer. “Wh-what? You are Beautiful. You’re like a ________ (my nationality deleted) goddess! Are you kidding me?”

He could have knocked me over with half an eyelash.

“You never said you thought I was beautiful. You never called me beautiful, ever, or anything even close, in two decades of marriage…” I was stunned. I felt like I’d been both kicked in the gut and sent to a Grecian throne. I felt awful and glorious, all at once.

Why had he never complimented me? Why had I never known that he felt even remotely like this? Or should I just have assumed that he thought I was beautiful inside and out–physically, spiritually, intellectually– since he’d married me?

Or should I have asked him, somewhere along the way?

For so many years I had thought, “If the man to whom I am devoted, the man who means more to me than anything or anyone else in this world, doesn’t appreciate me and find me attractive then certainly I am … not.”

I’d grown up thinking that there is someone special for each of us, someone who can love us as we are. Shouldn’t a spouse? If mine had, I’d never known. Maybe he’d appreciated me but never said or showed it, or maybe he realized what I meant to him after I was gone. In either case, this is one little bit of the dissolution story, not a cause or major contributer but one little lesson learned along the way:

Say what you mean, and say it Now!

So, I’m trying to make sure that the people I love know, through my words and actions, how much they mean to me. I’m sending more cards and notes and packages, and more compliments. I’m using the word Love more often, and other flowery Valentinian phrases.  I’m trying to notice what is special about each and every person in my life. It feels good to make other people feel special especially when they truly are.

You never know when too late will be. Ex-husband regrets are sorry things. Divorces are even sorrier.  If you love your beautiful wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, sibling or child– say it and show it.  Make sure he or she knows it.

Sorry for the soapbox, but I feel fresh and cleansed to have that off my mind.

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11 Comments on ““You’re like a goddess!” and other stunning revelations…”

  1. irfriske says:

    Okay, I know you are learning and doing a wonderful job of it. I so love your writings, just the biggest thing I have learned is I have to love mysefl first, foremost, absolutely, before it can come from anyone else. I learned to give, beyond belief, to others everything… and kept waiting on my turn. It never dawned on me to take my turn, just because it was mine to take, I kept waiting on permission. Not anymore. I love life, I love sharing, I love being, I love interacting with others such as yourself, as we reclaim ourselves and our rights to shine, just because that is our God given right to do! 🙂

    • lily2u1 says:

      Hi, Cat! So nice to see you here, as always!

      Hmmm, you’re right, we do have to Shine, and I was in the shadows, so to speak, for so long that I am a little too comfortable being in the background.

      Related to what you are saying, just yesterday someone told me that I would be perfect for her committee and I Laughed. Guess I should be kind of ashamed at that, but I must need just a little more time of growing into the person I want to be, or should be. I guess the Lord really is not finished with me yet! You, however, sound fabulous!

      ~ Lily

  2. jenny7947 says:

    It’s so funny that I am just reading this post now, I posted one expressing something similar to at least the beginning part not like 5 minutes ago.

    Feeling that awful about yourself truly does impact every level of how you perceive yourself, and more people really do need to tell the people they love just how important they are to their lives.

    Maybe it’s naive but I still believe there’s someone for everyone, and even in “do-overs” under the right circumstance. I am an eternal optimist and I think it’s great to get such heavy loads off of out chests! Its Cathartic !!

    • lily2u1 says:

      Thank you so much Jenny, for your comment and for stopping by. I look forward to reading your companion post!

      You are right that feeling awful about ourselves and not knowing that we are appreciated have such a profound impact. I didn’t realize how very much until afterwards.

      I’m an eternal optimist like you are, and I think that is a great way to be. Even at my lowest times, I knew things could be and would be better and that kept me going. We have to live with hope and try our best to carry on with joy. It really is the only way to be.

      Happy Spring!

      ~ Lily

  3. Been there, did that whole divorce routine 34 yrs ago…and thank you, you’ve given me a great new perspective on that whole situation Lily.

    Now, I am merely, in some people’s eyes, the ‘old lady/artist/photographer’ But, know what? I am happy with that…and found, through my very varied artistic talents that, like the man I chose and call my mentor, Leonardo, I need no other to complicate my life. And, I keep going, keep moving forward and learning, without the ever-cumbersome: “Uh, what’s for dinner, baby?”

    • lily2u1 says:

      I am so glad that you stopped by for a visit. Thank you for sharing your perspective!
      I hope to keep going forward and to keep learning, too. We must think alike in some ways anotherthousandwords; whenever someone wants an account of past sordid days, I say, “I am looking forward now.” And, the very first poem that I wrote here (I often think in poetry) has to do with “the ever-cumbersome: ‘Uh, what’s for dinner, baby?'” so there is a nice coincidence and a little poem for you!

      Also, I was listening to Bonnie Raitt’s “Sweet Forgiveness” album last night. It is the one with “Runaway” on it. I think I may toughen up if I listen to enough Bonnie Raitt. I love music and listen to all kinds of it. I don’t know what I would have done without music to lift me up and empathize, some days. That, and praying.

      Happy Spring!

      ~ Lily

  4. Do you hear how wonderful you are? I hope you do. You have just given voice to countless men and women who never hear how incredibly wonderful they really are.

    Maybe I should have written a You are Worthy post for you. I’ve said this to you before, but please keep your voice pure…it is precious.

    Be encouraged!

    • lily2u1 says:

      I am blushing. Thank you for all of the encouragement, Stephen. Just doing my best.
      It feels wonderful to write and to correspond with all of the kind and interesting
      people who visit here.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~ Lily


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