I never promised you a rose garden.

I was going to post a YouTube video of an incredibly sappy song that I heard on the radio on my drive home from Wal-mart this afternoon, a song that pretty much sums up my emotional state today. And it was a totally mainstream, totally self-pitying, talentless love ballad that I wanted to dedicate to the one who's so lately done a bang-up job of hurting me. BUT.

Did you feel the "but" coming?


I stopped alongside of the road to check my mail and there it was: an unexpected package, wrapped in one of those bright yellow manila bubble mailers, sitting in my mailbox atop a pile of junk mail. And it had my name on it. I saw the return address and smiled.

It was just a bit of happy mail, but it lifted me.

I had solid proof, to turn over and over in my hands, that I will come out of this okay. How do I know? Because these last few years I have changed. I have grown, without realizing it. I have found the strength to articulate my feelings, to reach out to others, to forge connections. I did it without even knowing on a conscious level that my emotional needs were not being met at home.

No more posts dedicated to the ghost of what has been, what could have been, what will never be.

From here on out, it's all me. On my own. My voice. Saying what I need to say. Saying what I know. Grasping unflinchingly towards what I don't know, but want to find out.

I will stand fast; I will refuse to let anyone make me believe I am not strong.
This is me:

I weigh 162 pounds. (It was 160 before I pounded down that Frisco Melt and Butterfinger shake last night at Steak-N-Shake. No matter.) Overall, I am happy with my body. My arms and I have the occasional squabble when I accuse them of being flabby and they accuse me of eating too many Poptarts. My soft belly complains when I squash it into my size 12 jeans. I tell my belly she can suck it, because I'm not about to buy 14's. Sure, I could stand to lose some weight. But I am every bit as loveable at 162 as I am at any other weight. I will let no one convince me that I would be a better, more beautiful, more worthy person if I dropped 40 lbs.

I only have a Master's degree in English. I work as an adjunct instructor, teaching composition at a university. I do not have a doctorate. Right now, I don't want one. I chose to end my schooling when I did because I wanted a job, not a career. I wanted a baby. I wanted to work part-time so that I could focus on raising a family. I do not regret that decision. I am good at what I do. I'm a great composition instructor--not the most orthodox or even professional, perhaps--but I am a great instructor. My students leave my class better writers than when they arrived.

Also, I'm a damn good Mom. I will let no one convince me that I should be doing more with my life.

I rarely make my bed in the morning. I'm really bad about making sure that Eliot brushes his teeth. My house is perennially dirty. I can't cook. I'm completely tone deaf.

But ya know what? I am enough, and I am worthy of being loved. All 162 pounds of me is worthy of being loved. I deserve to be treated with respect, and even, dare I say? kindness. I deserve affection. I deserve to laugh more often than I cry.

(I also deserve an equal share of the house we bought together and at least half of his retirement account. *ahem* oh excuse me...did I say that last part out loud? Oops. My bad. See what I mean about not being perfect?)

By the way...that awful song that I didn't subject you to? You can thank Nancy for sparing you that. ;)


Adriane said...

Love this post! You go girl! Sounds like you're getting to a place that I got to on my trip ALONE to Florida.

Cathy said...

Boo-yah!(however it's spelled)

Elecia said...

Wow, if this were a 12 step program, than I am sure you are at least half way through. Keep on truckin. And you know if you lost 40 lbs. then you would only be 120 thats ridiculous, I think your bones weigh more than that.
Love ya

Amy said...

Great post Rachel - you look good and sound good regardless of what you weigh :-)

chksngr said...

LOVE THIS!!! LOVE IT!! LOVE IT!! LOVE IT!! LOVE IT!! (as a composition instructor you are no doubt wondering why I use so many of these - ... - and these - !!! Its cuz I LIKE them!) You go girlie! YOU DO DESERVE TO BE LOVED JUST FOR WHO YOU ARE!!! and anyone who doesn't think so needs yo take a hike!!!

Pam said...

Rachel, this is the best post I've read. I am very proud of you. Keep going....one day at a time!

nancy said...

I know good things are coming your way, because you are a good person. I see it in your writing.

And I would've listened to the song anyway!! :)

Enjoy the Ride said...

This post of yours makes me want to be the strong person I can be... not the weak one I think others think I am. Thank you!