I know what I deserve. And I won't take any less, damaged or not.
A cheating husband while I was pregnant? I was bound to become a little bit damaged. But even though I'm no longer bitter or tormented by my past, I still have some behaviors that manifest themselves when I'm feeling especially low.
Whether it's my own insecurities or the battles I faced in previous relationships, it's hard to drop the act you know so well.
Nobody wants to be considered damaged. And while I truly believe that you can overcome just about any hardship in life, it's really hard to control what someone else does to you.
I know, I know — how you react to something is what matters the most and it says a lot about your character. I've read the motivational posters, OK? But emotional abuse, infidelity, feeling alienated, and no trust or respect in a relationship has a way of making you reconsider every coping mechanism you ever used.
Sometimes you're just numb and you end up with seven unfiltered confessions as a damaged single woman.
1. We will want to look through your phone.
I can't help it. It's a compulsion. I will try really hard not to. In fact, I will talk myself out of it a million times. But I'm insecure, and all I have to go on is a previous relationship where my partner's phone was their lifeline and also included several other women.
I know you're not him. I know you're different. But old habits die hard.
2. We'll overanalyze everything you say.
Everything. If you tell me you're having a bad day, I will assume it's something I did. If you tell me you're angry, I will panic that I caused it somehow. If you tell me you're fine, I will over-analyze every nuance of that word until we're both exhausted.
3. We have a lot of baggage.
Ugh. So much baggage. And I'm really insecure about it, so if you could just pick up a suitcase or two to help me out, I'd really appreciate it.
4. We aplogize for everything.
Even stuff that isn't my fault. I will say "I'm sorry" more times in a day than I can count, and I will recognize that it's annoying and ridiculous, but I still can't stop myself. This is what happens when you were in a relationship where literally everything was your fault.
5. We're terrified of being manipulated.
And I refuse to let it happen again. I may say "I'm sorry" even when it's not my fault, but I will realize what I'm doing and make a mental note to not let you manipulate my feelings again.
6. We can be defensive.
The trouble with being damaged is that now I'm so paranoid that someone's trying to pull one over on me, that I'm super-defensive. I dare you to ask me why I didn't get any work done today or why I'm so exhausted. I will snap and I will be defensive and angry, assuming you're calling me out for being a bad mom, person, and woman all in one.
I know this isn't true. But this is how I feel.
7. We recognize we do all of these things and we work hard to have our own self-worth.
Trust me, I know these weaknesses are mine. I know that I have to own them and overcome them one step at a time. I know that I need my own self-worth so that I don't panic when you get a text at 3 AM or when you tell me I can trust you.
But the best part about being damaged is that there's only one way to go now, and I will bust my ass every day to be a strong, independent woman with her own self-worth. It just might take me a little longer than I'd like.
Everyone talks about dating someone who's "damaged." But here's the thing: no matter how much repair work I've done, I'm still a little damaged on the inside.
All it means is that I'm better in relationships than ever before. I recognize my negative emotions, I know what to expect, and most importantly? I know what I deserve. And I won't take any less, damaged or not.