A Love Lesson: Thank You for Not Loving Me

Love LessonDear Eric,

Sometimes we want something so bad, that we shut our eyes, and we follow it blindly, even if we step on hot coals as we do it. We clutch on to it, and we don’t let go despite that frightening feeling in our guts telling us it’s slowly killing us.

It’s now been about eight months since we stopped dating, six since I’ve seen you, and about five since I’ve talked to you. Still, it has only been maybe a month or two since the weight of your memory on my mind, on my heart, and through my deep struggle to move forward after what I Iovingly like to call the Major Mind F**k of 2013 begun to lift.

To some people, our relationship or the major lack thereof, was not real. It was fake and disingenuous and forced. It had too many rules, and none of them worked in my favor. It’s hard for them to understand why it became so big for me, why it hurt me so much, and maybe even why I’m still talking about it today. And for the most part, they are right. On your side it was all of those things and less. But for me it was real. It was very real. Our weak, borderline abusive, unhealthy, pathetic time together is the closest thing I’ve had to a real relationship in a decade. It meant something to me. It meant everything to me. And when you pretended to love me, I believed you. I shared things with you and opened up to you romantically in a way that I had not done with anyone in my adult life. I opened my arms, and I said, “Here, take it. Take it all.” And you did. The problem is you gave me nothing in return.

During that entire year together I struggled with my feelings for what I came to know as a bad person. I struggled to look in the mirror and respect myself, because I knew very well that I was putting up with all of the things that go against everything I believe in, and everything I preach. I let you control me. I let you demean me. I let you disrespect me. And I let you do it over, and over again. Although it was never anything particularly huge, the sum of all the small ways in which you would devalue me and the love that I wholeheartedly offered to you even when you didn’t deserve it (and your rarely did), became much more than I could handle. I began to see your lies, the coldness in your eyes, and the emptiness in your heart. Still my stubborn heart loved you, and at times I thought I’d never find the strength to let you go.

I spent all of 2013 questioning. I questioned my worth. I questioned what I might be doing wrong to deserve your cold-hearted ways and your refusal to commit. I questioned whether the games were real, or simply in my head. I questioned my strength, and whether I would in fact end up settling for someone like you, even though it has been my life’s mission to never settle. I was so scared. The good thing is that, much to your surprise, I did finally find the strength to let you go. It took me a very long time, but I did it. I said I’d had enough, and I walked away. Sure I struggled to cut the cord completely at first, and I might have reached out many times when I shouldn’t have, but as the days and months went by, I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like myself for the first time since I met you, and I began to regain my confidence and my strength. I began to see that it had been your negativity that had brought me down, and that I still had it in me to be very much victorious. My only weakness had been loving you. I was not depressed. I was simply in a bad, soul-sucking relationship. There’s a huge difference.

After more tears than I’m proud of having shed, in the onset of 2014, I made a decision. I was going to live more life. I was going to give up dating for a while. I was going to seek out new adventures, make new friends, take trips, invest in me, regain my center and heal. And for the last six months, I have filled my calendar with musicals, volunteering, ballets, dinners and travel. I intentionally sought out friends, I made plans, I lived. I stopped waiting around for you or for anyone, and I LIVED. Some days I was so tired from all that living that I wondered if it was all worth it or if I was going too far with it. Would this work? Could I once again take control of the happiness I had slowly and painfully let you suck out of me?

Guess what? I could, and I did. Today, as I write this, I am healed. Your rejection and your pain pushed me to reevaluate my life, to get back to my dreams, and to remember, that although I do very much want and believe in love, marriage and children, I have never wanted to be the kind of woman who revolves her life around a man, especially around an unworthy one. I have always wanted my life to be a big adventure full of progress, success, friendship, experience and healthy relationships. I want a partner who can add to my life, and not one who constantly takes away from it. I want to share my life with someone as bright as me, so that together, our lights can shine even brighter and help others in the process. All you ever did was dim my light. For a while there, you damn near shut it off.

But now, I’m in a whole new, beautiful place in my life. Last week I moved to NYC, and this Monday I started my dream job as a writer helping to inspire young girls to have courage and be all they can be. What could be better than that?! The possibilities ahead are endless, and my adventure lives on in true Sonia fashion. I am healed. I am happy. I am ready to date and believe in love again. I am ready to never accept anything less than the treatment I deserve. I am ready to stand up for myself and to be firm. I am also ready to be soft, tender and open with someone who will be able to accept it and appreciate it. I am ready to believe again in the power inside of me, in my resilience, and in my ability to move forward into bigger and better. I am ready to be Sonia again; whole, happy and ready to take on the world.

The lessons your pain taught me are proving to be invaluable. They have made me stronger and better than ever, and they have pushed me into this amazing place where I sit right now; a place where I feel almost invincible. My breaths are deep, and my gratitude is big. I remember now. I DO have control over my happiness, and no one can take it away from me unless I let them.

So thank you, Eric. From the bottom of my now-whole heart, thank you for not loving me. You gave me the love lesson of a lifetime, and changed me forever in the best way possible.

The end.

Yours truly,

Battle of the Chunks: My Struggle with Weight

My Struggle with Weight

This is one of my favorite pictures because although I’m smiling, it was the most physically and emotionally intense workout of my life . That day Eric put the weight back on me to remind me I must push forward.

All my life, I’ve been the chunky gal of the pack, and for the most part, I’ve always been OK with that, because hey, I’m still cute, right? But somewhere towards the end of 2011, that cuteness had quickly become a self-destructive, out of control, big ass PROBLEM. My struggle with weight had reached an all-time high.

After a bad dating experience in which my weight was crudely called out during a fight (don’t fight dirty, folks), something in me just suddenly awoke. Here I was, an educated, independent, successful, kind-hearted young woman, but my weight was allowing others to think it was OK to talk to me a certain way. It was making others believe I somehow deserved less respect, or had less for myself; that I must be pretty weak. I knew the depths of strength I had seen in myself, and I simply could not stand for it any longer. My struggle with weight had to be dealt with.

So I stepped on that scale I had been avoiding most of that year, mostly because I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, and there it was, 248. Those numbers burned into my eyes like tar to a roof. For several days after that, I literally had nightmares with those three, seemingly innocent little digits. Having struggled with weight (although never to this extent) all my life, I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I knew I had to do something.

The next week, I dragged my reluctant, self-conscious butt to the gym, and asked to hire a personal trainer using a fitness benefit I had at the time. I wouldn’t even have to pay for it myself for the first 9 weeks or so, so what was my excuse? I had none. That is the day I met my now dear friend Eric-Todd Rushing. I didn’t know it then, but he’d be the one to save me from myself, and make me as strong on the outside as I knew I was on the inside. I’ll never forget our initial meeting in which he oh-so-confidently said to me, “I’m going to change your life.”

And he did. Over the next four or five months, I logged my foods every day and counted my calories. First 1,800 a day, then down to 1,500 and finally down to 1,200. I did an hour of cardio four days a week, and trained with Eric once a week. Our training session included a weekly weigh-in, and the weight was just melting off. I lost 50 pounds in about four months or so just by working out and counting calories – no pills or crazy gimmicks. Whenever I ran into an obstacle or it got too hard, Eric was there to motivate me back into action. And I never, ever felt better, stronger, more beautiful or more untouchable. Eric had become my hero, my counselor, my mentor, my friend and just the light I needed to make a real change. He had turned my struggle with weight into a triumph.

It was one of the best times of my life. I had finally conquered a life-long struggle with weight, but what I didn’t know then is that the fight had just begun. And it wasn’t just about looking better, but about fighting the emotional demons tied to my weight issues along the way, and breaking down many of those walls.

That’s the thing about losing all that weight. It requires being pretty overwhelmingly perfect, and no human being can really hold that up for too long without taking a break. The issue is I took too much of a break and really starting falling back into some old, devilish little patterns. I gained a pound here and there, and I thought no big deal, I’d still kept the majority of the weight off. Then about three weeks ago I went to the doctor for a totally unrelated visit, and of course they are always waiting for ya with that sneaky little bastard of a scale. Up I went, and so went the tears in my eyes. I was now the not-so-proud owner of 20 of my old, stubborn pounds.

At that moment, I was completely disappointed in myself. I had worked so incredibly hard, and did things I never thought I could with my exercise and food intake routine to lose those 50 pounds, and now I had taken a huge step back. So for the first time in a long time, I quickly and truly got myself together, and began logging my food and calories again; not estimating, not assuming, actually counting. Here we are about three weeks later, and I’ve already lost 10 pounds. Last week I got a little sick, so I got behind, but I’m right back on track. I feel so much better already, and after not losing a pound for more than a year (but gaining many if you recall), I found a way to get back on my game because I never gave up hope that I would, and somewhere deep down inside I had remained that different person Eric had helped me become. I never completely gave up on myself, and I would never let my weight spiral so out of control again.

My struggle with weight is a battle I will unfortunately have to fight for the rest of my life. I am just not one of those people that can slack on diet and exercise for a while, and not pick up pounds faster than you can say, “pick up pounds.” Often, it is our toughest and most daunting battles that we give up on the fastest. We fail and so we feel like there is no point in trying again. But there is a point, a big point. Fail 20 times. So what? If you get up and try again, you haven’t really failed, because you haven’t really given up yet. You really only lose when you’ve given up for good.

So whatever your toughest challenges might be, whether with your body, your heart, your goals, or anything else that weighs on your mind, just keep pushing, trying, fighting. From time to time you will get tired, and that’s OK. But you must never give up on yourself completely. Always remember that each new day is truly a chance to turn it all around, and failure is just really the universe’s way of teaching you something valuable. 

Right now I feel re-energized to work towards a healthier, happier and stronger me, because I know I owe that to myself. What life battle will you be re-energized to keep fighting today?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie