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June 19, 2006

Flaws in my fabric

I recently read a quote from a book on Oprah's Summer Reading list. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I am one of those people - I watch her show, I applaud her charitable deeds, however I do not believe that every word that falls from her mouth is scripture (scripted sometimes?). That said, she does have a wonderful list of books. The book is "Lost Hearts in Italy" by Andrea Lee. I haven't read it so I can't endorse it, but this quote rung true with me.

"...we always belong forever to people who have hurt us badly, or been badly hurt by us."

I know this may not be true for everyone, but I know it is for myself, and have discussed this idea with several friends who have all hurt, or been hurt by someone at one time. I think initially you might think of this "someone" as just being a past significant other, but I think it can also apply to friends and family as well. I think this is especially true if the hurt is something that ends up changing your thinking, or perhaps even your life's direction. Little misunderstandings and arguments are forgiven and forgotten, but when something happens that truly affects us, it may be forgiven but is not forgotten. I think that is why we "belong" to those people. Their actions or words become woven into the fabric of our past and as I have found, un-picking what has been sewn can be a long and difficult process. Sometimes leaving the "flaw" is easier than unraveling the entire fabric and we are left to learn to overlook it, and perhaps one day learn from it.

I started high school with a lot of excitement, fear, and hope. I had made it through junior high alive, despite the humiliating and oft times tumultuous years of early adolescence. The changes in my body, the braces, the pimples... I had mastered these and I was determined to prove to myself that I was worth something. I had made our high school's dance team, and was sure that this would give me an "in". It wasn't more than a few days into the first week when I developed a crush on a boy in my English class. He was a sophomore officer, funny, and seemed to be friends with everyone, the life of the party. Obviously way out of my league. Much to my surprise however, I found he liked me as well, and we started "going out" (ah, high school terms....). I had never had a boyfriend, never had a boy LIKE me before, so you can bet I was on cloud nine. He introduced me to the popular world - parties, dances, and (gasp!) my first kiss. It was all so new to me, and I was soaking it in. People would tell me that he bragged about dating me. It seemed things were perfect - he was kind, considerate, funny, and (here comes another high school term) HOT - until one day when we didn't see each other. He didn't call that day...or the next....or the next. I finally mustered up the courage to call him and ask him what was going on, and a giggling girl answered the phone. I immediately knew something was up, but when I talked to him he said things were fine, he was just really busy. Naively I believed him. A few days later however, my best friend told me in the girl's locker room, while applying her mascara, that he simply "didn't have time for a girlfriend right now". I was devastated. All that went through my mind was that obviously I wasn't good enough. He must have discovered I wasn't as popular as he had first thought. I think the worst part was that I hadn't seen it coming. Of course looking back, I realized that we really didn't have a relationship - more your average high school fling really. It lasted two months and I barely knew a thing about him. I can see and understand that now, but at the time it was all because of me. I dealt with it the only way I knew how, to put on a brave uncaring face, and let it fester inside. I went about reassuring myself that I was worth something by becoming a fabulous flirt. Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette became the soundtrack to my angry-girl look on life. To make matters worse, somewhere in the midst of starting high school and making the dance team, I began watching what I ate and soon just stopped eating altogether. Of course being dumped only added fuel to the fire, and I began a long journey down the road of deprivation, self hatred, and control.

I am now happily married, and in a much better state of mind. He and I eventually became friends, and wrote many letters to each other while he was on a mission for my church and I was in Australia. So while I have forgiven him, those events were a major turning point in my life, and cannot be erased. They are a flaw in my quilt, and therefore cannot be forgotten. I still care about him, he was a good friend, and will always hold a place in my heart, or "belong to me". I think that for some people this could be a weakness, but for me, it is not. I think because of this whole experience I am a stronger person. Someday I will have children of my own and it is my goal to empower them with the knowledge that their self worth isn't measured by who they are dating, or how popular they are.


Kjersti said...

Wow, Kim. I completely agree with what you wrote, but I don't think I ever could've written it as eloquently and beautifully as you did. You have an amazing perspective.

KimbaLee said...

Thanks - it's taken me a while to get to this place! :) Trust me though, you write much better than I do!!!

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