“I’m glad"

When I started dating my first boyfriend in 11th grade, I had been anorexic for roughly 4 years, and was trying to go into recovery.

In the midst of this, my boyfriend told me one day, “I’m glad you have an eating disorder, you could lose a few pounds.” 

5 years later and 4 years into recovery, I still think of his comment any time I step on the scale and think about relapsing.

"Are you even sure you want this baby?"

Delivering my first child was easy, but the recovery was complicated. The placenta had been retained and I was still experiencing the symptoms of preeclampsia for almost 3 weeks afterwards. It seemed like every time we would leave the hospital, I had to turn around and be readmitted. 

One night, just hours after leaving the hospital I told my husband something was wrong and we needed to go back. He asked me, "Are you even sure you want this baby? Every time we finally get home and should be able to spend time together, you always want to leave and go back. Do you even want us in your life? The next time you go back we aren't going with you." 

When we arrived at the hospital I was rushed into emergency surgery. Something was physically wrong with me and I understand he was frustrated and scared but there was no reason to make me feel worse than I already did.

"You would have died."

I got a sudden, ungodly pain in my side one day in 2015. It was completely out of the blue. It took the ER 6 hours to find the cyst but then I was referred to a surgeon. He wanted to wait until after the holidays to remove my spleen (it was around December 12th at this point) but something in my gut told me that wasn't a good idea. I asked him to take it out sooner. About 5 days later they told me that the cyst was bigger than they originally thought and was the size of a softball.

Then after surgery, the surgeon came in and told me, "It's a good thing we took it out when we did. If that cyst had burst, you would have died." 

This happened only a few years ago, but it will stick with me until I'm gone. Always trust your gut.

"I would, if only..."

For a long time, I felt like my depression was ruining my marriage, but after I started going to therapy, I finally felt like I was making progress towards being "normal."

One day, my therapist told me that often with her married patients, improving their sex life was pivotal in improving their self-esteem. This made sense to me, because my sex life was nearly nonexistent.

I picked my husband up from work that evening, and told him about what my therapist had said. Before I could go further, he interrupted me to say, "I would want to have sex with you, if only you had a rockstar body."

Even when I was thin, my body image was terrible. But this shot what little confidence I had. His cruelty in that moment made me never want sex again, and I've not since initiated. 

It's been five years since then. He's had affairs. I've been suicidal. He's told me to kill myself. And one day, I might.

Trying to help.

Growing up, I was always on the bigger side. My grandma would try to "help" motivate me to lose weight by saying, "Boys won't think you're pretty if you're fat."

This started when I was five years old.

"Lazy and useless."

My mother, siblings and I were looking over my report card. I had finally gotten all A's and made the high honor roll! I was ecstatic, and I happily told my mom how proud I was of myself. 

Her reply? "Finally. Seems like that's the only thing you're good for."

I told her that I thought I was a pretty good person, and I listed all the things about myself that I was proud of. 

"Yeah, but you still don't pay any bills and you do nothing for the family," she said. "That makes you lazy and useless." 

I was 14 then. I recently graduated from college, and on my graduation day, that was what kept buzzing around in my head. Lazy and useless. I'm the first in my family to graduate from college. But I still feel lazy and useless. 

"What do you expect me to do?"

I got married at 18 and had my son at 19. My husband is almost 20. 

I went to the doctor's office on my due date and was told that I had preeclampsia and had to be induced for the wellbeing of my child. While I was in the middle of pushing, they though the monitors were confusing our heart beats. They were wrong. My son had no heartbeat. I felt something was wrong, but the doctor kept dismissing my fears and acting like my son was fine. I kept telling her that something was wrong and to get him out of me. 

The doctor just looked at me and said, "What do you expect me to do? How do you expect me to get him out?" I begged her for what felt like forever to just cut me open and take him out. She refused. 

When he finally came out, the cord was wrapped so tightly around his neck that it snapped and he lost a lot of blood. He had a seizure. He didn't breathe for over 5 minutes and he was a deep blue/grey. They had to resuscitate him and rush him to another hospital where they had a higher level NICU. I didn't get to hold my baby for over 3 days because he had to be on a cooling pad for HIE and monitored for seizures. 

All because a cocky doctor wouldn't listen to me. Fuck that doctor.

Husband.

One day in my college French class, we were asked to write about how we pictured our lives in ten years. One of the things I wrote was that I hoped to have a husband or wife. I was just starting to come out as bisexual at that time, and I was really proud of myself for boldly including this detail. 

When I got the assignment back, the teacher crossed out "wife" and wrote that I only needed to write "husband." While I was confident writing "husband or wife" I still didn't feel comfortable confronting my teacher about this, and I let it affect my grade. 

This teacher would also go around the room asking girls to describe in French what qualities they liked in boys and vice versa, with the assumption that everyone was straight.

Although I believe that there was no ill will on the teacher's part, her oblivious heteronormativity contributed to my discomfort at a time when I was struggling to come to terms with my sexuality. Looking back, I wish I had said something at the time, and I hope she's more aware now. 

"You deserve it."

My husband was emotionally cruel to me, and then he had an affair. I went to stay with a friend and I asked my husband for a divorce. 

This "friend" told me, "You're too much. No wonder he treats you bad. You deserve it."

Believing this to be true, I went back to my husband. I was a horrible person who deserved to suffer, right?

I got back, he got drunk. He told me that the next time I want to die, he won't stop me because I'm worthless, I'm fat, and he could always do better. He reminded me that even my family thinks that I'm stupid, and they don't want me. 

I live in utter isolation because I don't have real friends, and I feel like I deserve his abuse.

"It's nice to see you."

A few weeks ago, I was in a store, and I heard someone call my name. I turned and looked and saw a guy who I went to high school with, who was kind of a jerk to me back then. He was with his high school sweetheart, and he started making smalltalk with me, which surprised me, since we were never friends. He said, "It's nice to see you; I never see anyone from high school anymore." 

Just hearing, "It's nice to see you," from this guy who used to be mean to me made me feel so good. It reminded me that people can change.