Marriage & Recovery

There was a time in my life when I wholeheartedly believed that finding “the one” would fix everything. That my prince charming would sweep me off my feet and make every insecurity and addiction disappear. Over the years I realized the naivety of this belief, yet there was still a part of me that believed, or maybe hoped, that having a ring on my finger would make every other struggle in my life vanish.

I’m here to say that this is 100% not the case.

I’d learned well before meeting Ryan that being in a relationship would never fix my problems. No man would ever come along and miraculously make my trauma disappear. However, there were, and always will be, men who try to convince women that they are indeed the answer to all of their issues. It’s these men who reinforce codependency and lead their partners even deeper into the pits.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Ryan to begin with was because he never tried to be my cure-all. He’s supported and encouraged me from the beginning, but has never pretended to be able to “fix” me. Instead, he has loved me through relapses, grief, insecurities, depression, anxiety & nightmares. To explain a bit more, this is part of the little speech that I gave at our reception:

“I’d never ever been the one to make the first move, or say those three little words first, but I did. He was different, he is different. He is my knight in shining armor, but not because he saved me. But because for the last three years he has challenged me to save myself and continues to be my support and my best friend… The point is, he is not like anyone I’ve ever known, and I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to call him my husband.”

It’s been difficult for me figuring out this whole “wife” thing. I have the same, if not more, unconditional love and support from my husband, but I’ve been struggling. I think I’m trying too hard to identify who I am as a “wife.” I’m still me. I’m still the same woman who is learning to love herself, despite not necessarily liking what she sees in the mirror. I’m still the same woman who has claimed victory over some of her most aggressive demons. I’m still the same woman who is madly in love with Ryan Norton, and who is working so freaking hard, every day, to be a better human.

So here’s to marriage not fixing all of our problems, but to being able to celebrate the victories, big and little, with your permanent roommate. 👫

NN


Self-Hatred to Self-Love; 10 Tips to Love Your Body

Self-Hatred, something more intense and destructive than anyone who has never experienced it will ever understand. There’s a huge difference between someone who doesn’t like certain things about themselves and someone who hates every part of his/her body & being.

I have gone through most of my life hating myself. The reasons why I hated who I was are many, but shame is at the root. My shame evolved to a point where I absolutely despised my self, my soul… I dreaded looking in the  mirror every morning. Living life this way should hardly be considered living.

For many, self-hatred either begins with poor body image or the hatred becomes projected onto one’s body. Here are ten tips to learn to love your body; in conjunction with these, put a smile on your face and if you must – fake it ’till you make it. 😉

1. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
2. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
3. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
4. Count your blessings, not your flaws.
5. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
6. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body at this point in time.
7. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”beautiful
8. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
9. Consider this – life is way too short to waste time hating yourself.
10. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people who remind you of your own inner strength and beauty.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ~Malcolm S. Forbes

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tips chosen & paraphrased from NEDA’s “20 Ways to Love Your Body” Compiled by Margo Maine, PhD.