Mind vs. Heart
A journal entry from less than a month after the divorce:
I was baking yesterday. I made a chocolate cake and two batches of scones. I was also texting with Luke. I love to tell Luke when I’m baking. Yesterday part of our exchange went like this:
Me: The peach scones are in the oven. Do I make your mouth water?
L: Yep & the scones do too.
Me: I’m blushing again.
Why, indeed. I will admit that I knew exactly what I was writing when I asked about making his mouth water. I deliberately put “I” in there instead of “the scones” or anything else directly related to the food. I knew I was asking a double-meaning, loaded question. I’ll also admit that his answer gave me a thrill while also perplexing me. He says stuff like that alot and I *still* don’t 100% believe him.
So, why does this make me blush? That’s not a simple question to answer, I’m afraid. He asks me seemingly simple questions that make me dig down into myself to discover why I think the way I do and what is wrong with the thought processes I discover along the way. Luke has been instrumental in my healing because he asks hard questions – even when they seem to really not be difficult. He pushes me to think, explore, and ultimately to heal, probably without realizing exactly how much he is helping me.
I’ve been wrestling with this question, “Y?” for over 13 hours now. It woke me up at 5:30 in the morning, demanding an answer.
I blush because I do not believe. Deep down, in my inner-most being, I do not believe that a man would find me attractive. I do not believe that a man would look at me and have a physical reaction to me. I do not believe that a man could want me (and that goes far beyond just the physical but that is a post for another time because I refuse to think about that right now.)
The rational part of me – my mind – has accepted that I am cute. I will catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and think, “Yeah, I’m kinda cute.” My mind has even accepted that I look good all over now. I’ve lost 28 pounds and have some really cute clothes and am no longer afraid to show off my body. I’m finding that there is a huge disconnect from my mind thinking these things to my heart believing them.
I started picking apart the reasons this disconnect exists. I’ve found one very simple reason that is so evil, so vile in its simplicity that it may well take me years to dig it out of my being. For years, probably as many as I’ve been a mother, I’ve gotten the message loud and clear from Bubba that my body is all wrong.
His attack was two-fold: telling me what was wrong with my body in one breath, then chasing me around the house and not being able to keep his hands off of me in the next. I got a really confusing message that I internalized very well over the years. The message said, “You are so hideous, so grossly fat that no man will ever want you. Aren’t you the luckiest woman in the world that my standards are low enough to want you despite your hideousness?” It was a very simple yet stunningly effective tactic.
There were things he did along the way to reinforce this message.
- Poke my belly and make comments. One day I was in the tub and he joined me. As I was sitting there, he poked me in the belly, said, “It’s just like the Doughboy,” and did the little Doughboy laugh. He knew I was very sensitive about my belly flab yet these types of comments were made many times.
- Outright tell me that he’d pay for a tummy tuck/boob job if I wanted one. He would then add, “Not that I think you need that, but if you ever wanted it, I’d pay for it.”
- Oogle other women. Whether they were on the t.v., in magazines, at the mall, wherever, he would stare or make comments. ”Oh, I’d love to see you in a bikini like that.” or “Why don’t you wear short shorts like that?” or a million other comments that seemed innocent on the surface but combined with the other things, were a direct hit on my heart.
- Reduce me to nothing but a sex object. When he was going to want sex that night, he’d walk up and just grab my breasts or my butt. It was never about wooing me or being affectionate. It was all about me being reduced to so many body parts. That was all I was good for. I was an object. But, “I still find you so sexy. We’ve been married for 18 years and I still chase you around the house. How many other husbands do that to their wives?” The message was that I was so lucky, so blessed to have him treating me this way.
I tried to explain all of this to Luke in a four sentence text and his response was, “Why would you still believe anything he said now?”
Another very good question and one I’ve been pondering along with the, “Y?” I still believe because I don’t know any differently. My heart has not caught up to what my mind can see. I can’t turn 16 years of these types of messages around in nine months. With all the other issues I’ve had to deal with, this one hasn’t even been contemplated until now. Essentially, I’m just now starting to work on this part of my healing. My heart won’t catch up overnight. My heart will not believe based on texts alone. My heart does not believe that any man would ever want me, love me, sacrifice for me, do anything other than be a selfish pig because that it what it was trained to believe.
I want to believe Luke when he says these types of things. It isn’t that I don’t believe *him* because he’s been aboveboard and honest with me this whole time. It has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.
I do not believe I have that power over any man. And maybe it just does boil down to power. There is something powerful in sex, in the ability to (please forgive my crudeness) make a man hard. I’ve been powerless for 40 years – first against my Family of Origin (FOO) then against Bubba. To now be told that yes, I do in fact have power, is something so foreign to me that it just does not compute. I can’t even wrap my brain around that let alone my heart. Another part of it is that I still see myself as body parts to be used, not as a whole woman who is worthy of love, respect, and a man being attracted to me for me not just the body parts I happen to have.
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I can’t believe him because he is so far away and our main mode of communication is still texting. Also, you can have a physical reaction to someone without having the emotional reaction to them too. I don’t want to ever settle for anything less than everything. I want the physical and the emotional. I want to love and be loved. I don’t ever want to be reduced to just my body parts again.
Most of me believes that this is just physical for him. He’s been a great friend, respected my boundaries, followed my lead, but I don’t believe that it is anything more than that. How can it be from a thousand miles away?
It does not compute.