Hold on tight, this is a long trip!
An intense feeling of deep affection.
Love is something we all crave and yearn for. Love is one of my earliest memories from childhood. Not only did I have an unbounding love for anyone or anything I came into contact with, but I received the love back from everything and everyone.
Love let's us feel wanted. Accepted. Needed.
With all this love I had for all beings in the world, I had never experienced the most important love. Self Love. Or as the Greeks called it- Philautia. As Aristotle put it, "All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man's feelings for himself."
If this is true, then how could it be possible I had all this love for everything else if I hadn't even accomplished the most important love of all?
I believe it happened when I was about 8 years old, where my memory is more solid. I remember my dad often saying, "When are you going to stop being so homely?" (For those of you not familiar with this word- it means unattractive in appearance.) He would laugh after and sip his fancy drink with ice. I, too, would laugh. But not in the same way. It was a way to hide that I was actually quite bothered that my own father thought I was not pretty.
When I was 8 I also found out I was adopted.
This added even more self-deprecation. Not only did my dad think I was ugly, but now I felt like he didn't even want to be my dad. After my parents adopted me, they had two children after me. They were the light to my life. I loved them unconditionally. I read my baby brother Green Eggs and Ham at least 3 times a day when he was just an infant. My parents adopted me because my mother had had 3 miscarriages prior and thought she was unable to have babies. Meanwhile, my birth parents were just a summer fling that went south after the warm weather, my birth dad leaving my birth mom before she even knew she was pregnant. When she confronted him at 8 weeks, he shut her out saying something along the lines of, "it's not mine, I know you've slept with the whole town." She knew she couldn't care for me in the way a mother should so she made the mature decision to do a closed-adoption.
My parents also got divorced right after Christmas, the Christmas before my 8th birthday. We lived on a small island in Maine. So my mom moved us kids to the "mainland" where we started a new life. My mom was so strong. She loved us kids unconditionally, and never made me feel like I was not "one of them."
I never realized how much my dad's words had hurt me until I fast forward to my sophomore year of High School. High School is such a fun and entertaining time. So many awkward humans trying to find what and who they want to be. I was always told by friends how pretty I was, but the damage to my mental self-image was too much for me to genuinely accept the compliments. I would even deflect the compliments with sarcastic responses like, "yeah right".
I lost my virginity this same year. To someone whom had no love for me, maybe eros love, but that's about all it amounted to. And when that night finally came, and we were in his bed at 2 am and he had already slipped it in, I felt love. But, now I know it was unrequited love. And he whispered, "You want to know what number you are?" and I just blankly stared at him. .. and he said "7".
Like what the fuck? Who the hell asks someone that?! A VIRGIN at that! I wish my first time had been that of romance and unbounding love, but it wasn't. And it only went downhill from there.
And if that wasn't enough, one night he took me to "a friends" house and we all got super drunk. He ended up leaving me there and I passed out in a recliner. I mean I was obliterated! I had been talking to a dog that night, like full conversations. When I woke up I was on my back and his friend was having sex with me. I remember being so angry and hurt. And I didn't tell my parents because I was afraid of what they would do since I was underage drinking. So I buried it, deep, deep inside.
As I got older my dad would say things like, "Britt's built just like her birth mom, curvy." These statements made me uncomfortable, especially since I didn't even know my birth mom. So now it went from my dad thinking I was homely to him voicing that I was curvaceous. Did this mean he thought I was sexually appealing? Or was he just trying to be nice? At the ages of 16, 17, and 18 I didn't know what to think but I do know it made me uncomfortable.
After I graduated high school I attended cosmetology school. I was living with my boyfriend whom my mother kicked me out of the house because of for her disapproval. And I can't blame her, he was not every mother's dream son-in-law, but I was so lost on the love scale that I took it from wherever it came from. For the most part, he was really good to me, but after a year I realized he had an alcohol problem and he had scared me a few times. He never hit me or anything but his intentions when he was drunk were unpredictable. So I moved out and lived with my cousin while I finished up cosmetology school.
After I graduated cosmetology school I didn't pursue it. My plan had been to work with my mom in her salon, and even though we had band-aided our relationship after I broke up with her nightmare of my boyfriend (haha) she had moved to Indiana with my step-dad due to his career. So, I remained at the grocery store deli.
Then one day, everything changed.
I stumbled upon a childhood family friend. We conversed a little and it ended with him asking if I was available to babysit. I said of course, anytime. Only 3 days later he called me in the morning to ask if I could babysit that day because their (yes, their as in he was married) son was sick. I babysat both their son and daughter that day and they LOVED me. They raved about how much fun they had all night and their parents asked me if I would like to babysit part-time. I took the offer.
The first Thursday I worked, the dad was home, he was "doing errands" according to his wife and as soon as he was done he was going to cut me loose for the day. Well, let me tell you what. I don't know what kind of errands you do in your bedroom all day with the TV showing porn on it, but I have an idea it's not the errands your wife thinks you are doing. He didn't come downstairs until 4pm that day to send me home. And he didn't even come down to talk throughout the day.
Every Thursday I babysat, he was home. And he started coming around more often and would say highly inappropriate things to me like, "When you gonna dump 'em out?" and "Man, you look smokin' hott today!" IN FRONT OF THE KIDS! Granted, they were 2 and 4, but still, kids repeat EVERYTHING. It didn't take long for him to start coming up behind me while I was doing dishes and put his hands on my hips and whisper in my ear more inappropriate words. I would say things like STOP, YOU ARE MARRIED! But he would respond with, "you don't know what it's like to be unhappy for 10 years."
This went on for a couple months. And in February of 2013 his wife took the kids to Massachusetts to see their grandma and she asked me to clean the house for her while she was gone because they were trying to sell it and had a showing on a Monday. I agreed, but told her I wouldn't be able to until late Sunday night since I was closing shift at the deli all week. She had no problem with it and said the check would be on the counter.
I was scared. I knew what was going to take place as soon as I entered the house on Sunday night. Oh yeah, did I mention I had had the BIGGEST crush on this man since I was 10?! When I arrived he had a mixed drink ready for me, and as any 19 (almost 20) year old would do, I drank it. He went upstairs while I cleaned and came back down only to make me one more drink. I cleaned that house ceiling to floor and everything in between and when I was mopping he said, "Are you really going to mop the whole floor?" I replied with, "Yes." And he asked me to come upstairs with him and I said, "ahhhh I don't think so, I am going to mop and then go home." Then his intentions became crystal clear. He told me I wasn't driving because I had been drinking, and if the Sheriff up the road saw me leave his house and pulled me over then it would be his ass, too. So I said, "Fine, I will sleep on the couch."
Well, it didn't take long before I found myself upstairs, clothes off, and we were doing it. And as wrong as I knew it was, he made me feel loved. And not the one-sided love that had taken place when I lost my virginity but the pragma love. A deep understanding love.
So yes, I had an affair with a 38 year old married man. And to top it off he was best friends with my step-dad. His older son was best friends with my step-brother. And if I didn't mention already, HE WAS MARRIED! He ended up not keeping it quiet and told some 25 year olds at the bar that he "had a 19 year old girlfriend" and in a small town it wasn't hard to put two and two together. My step-dads sister overheard him say this and she called him the next day to share the news.
I was so nervous my mom was going to disown me at best. But what she did is why I love my mom so much. She asked me to come to Indiana and start over. She knew he had manipulated me and taken advantage of my vulnerability. Even my step-dad was more upset with him than I.
Of course I felt terrible and used. I felt like a home-wrecker (even though he had cheated on her many times before). I believe all of this came into existence because of my lack of self-love. Had I learned to love myself first, I wouldn't have been looking for it everywhere else. I was so scared I was going to miss out on the Pragma love or the Romeo of my love story that I gave out a lot of sex for only a little love.
After I moved, I joined the United States Navy a year later and am now almost on my 4th year. I am doing much better and have found how to love myself through self-talk, journaling, yoga and listening to motivational speakers. I have also learned to forgive. First myself, and then everyone involved. I am done living in the past and done looking for the future and completely living for the NOW.
Don't ever think you are not enough. It will lead you down a road of self-destruction and you will do and experience things you wouldn't imagine doing in your worst nightmares.
I am Bitty.
I am a Brave Babe.
I LOVE, ACCEPT and RESPECT myself.