We had love at first. I loved the way he held my hand as we strolled under a full-moon on our second date. I loved the raw passion of our first kiss, the way he made me laugh and the things he did to please me. And somehow I thought it would be like that forever which is why I married him.
But after the glitter of the, “I Do’s” and the forever afters wore off I found that his love for me was wearing thin as well. The things that had attracted him to me in the first place began to be the things that annoyed him most. Everything from the sound of my laugh (too loud) to the way I danced (too sexy) grated on his nerves.
I, on the other hand, grew more and more comfortable with his little idiosyncrasies; after all, it’s the imperfections in people that make them unique and inherently more valuable. But he didn’t see things that way. I was like a diamond that looks good on the surface but loses its value as each flaw is detected. And for some reason he just couldn’t look past them.
My market value seemed to diminish day by day until he saw me only as a liability. And although this was sad, sadder still was the way I reacted to this revelation. I tried to change into the person he thought he wanted me to be. But that didn’t work either because that wasn’t what he wanted. Sure it was what he thought he wanted, but the mind can play tricks and his was the ultimate court jester. Unfortunately, in the end the joke was on me, because when he finally moved out, I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore.
That was when I decided it was time to go shopping. It was time to love myself again and I knew of no better way to accomplish this than to commit myself to several sessions of good-old-fashioned retail therapy. Out with the old and in with the new, the saying goes, and in so much as I had chucked him out it was time to create a new me.
I started with my hair: he had liked it long, so I chopped it off. And as each curly lock fell to the floor, so too did the memories of the way he had run his fingers through them once upon a time.
Next, I purged my closet, ridding it of every stitch he’d given me over the years and then I took stock. The cupboard wasn’t exactly bare but let’s put it this way: if I had tried to stage a fashion show at that moment I would have only needed four models. So over the next few months, I rebuilt my wardrobe; inch by inch, piece by piece. And as I did so, my confidence began to return and my sense of self surfaced, bobbing its head above water for the first time in eons, gasping for air and happy to be alive.
My style has changed; my wardrobe has a lot more color and a few cheeky items that my husband would never have approved. In the end it’s freeing to have emerged as this new me, as a woman I am proud to be. And it’s empowering to know that I am clawing my way back to being happy with myself and dare I say it, loving myself again despite the fact that when he left I was faced with a version of myself that I didn’t love at first.