regrets • where is the beauty in suffering

‘You can’t be sexy,’ they say. ‘That’s for the privacy of your bedroom, for your husband’s eyes only.’

My husband’s eyes weren’t interested in how sexy I was. I was a release for his anger and his frustration. A hand gripping my arm, a push against my back, a grunt followed by sleep. If sexy meant getting sex then I was successful. If sexy meant feeling loved and desired then I failed.

I failed at my marriage, not because I didn’t try hard enough but because I was always going to fail. A wild child, a free spirit, someone who dances to the beat of a different drum is always going to feel shackled within the confines of a contract that limits connection with other people. I shut down. I withdrew. I turned down the flame that burnt inside me lest it consume me and others.

Those years of subjugating, of submission, of subterfuge were long and painful. I was lucky to escape with only a misguided view of my body, my worth, my importance. It could have been worse – the pain of cancer, the removal of a breast or a womb, high blood pressure and whatever else the burying of emotions brings. I no longer cried, my tears long since dried up.

The explanations are too hard. The place is dark and uninviting and yet it draws me back to it again and again. Am I trying to justify what happened or to explain to myself why it happened? It makes no sense even now. I regret being with him. It’s the one thing I truly regret.

Where is the beauty in suffering? Where are the lessons? God has a plan and a purpose for your life. What was his plan in all of this? If there was a plan, it was a cruel one.

Instead of a reward for my faithfulness, my monogamy, my seal of approval from the church to live with a man, I was punished. Hung from a rope and left to dangle. The oxygen taken away from me, replaced by a gas unable to nurture life. The invisible air of abuse, the silent wind of destruction.

Can I have those years back please? Can I take them from out of the darkness and put them to better use? Can I have love affairs and friendships and random encounters that change my life and those I meet? Can I knock up against the rest of humanity and be shaped and softened by the contact? This is what I’ve missed. This is what I long for.

My loneliness trapped me inside a prison I was too frightened to leave, not knowing that fresh air, sunlit fields and soft earth were only inches away. I kept my eyes lowered and missed the beauty of the sky. This is what I regret.

regrets • where is the beauty in suffering T

14 thoughts on “Regrets

  1. “It could have been worse – the pain of cancer, the removal of a breast or a womb, high blood pressure and whatever else the burying of emotions brings.” I love the brutal honesty of these words. Very well done, Katie.

  2. “I kept my eyes lowered and missed the beauty of the sky.” reminds me of someone who refuses to accept their situation, which makes me so sad. I’m too young to regret too much yet – I have a few, like spending thousands of dollars and my early 20’s devoted to a man halfway across the country, spending my money to visit someone who really took me for granted and didn’t meet my needs – but I can’t complain too much on that count. You mentioned in our last conversation that we tend to regret the things we don’t do and that’s something I try to remember when I’m being a big chicken 😛 so I can have as few regrets as possible.

  3. Honest raw, soul searching writing. I want to say please don’t look back, don’t hold on to regrets but I think you’re writing as a part of the healing process. Thank you for allowing us to bear witness.

    1. Thank you for your comment Walker. It was just a stream of consciousness writing exercise that turned out quite nicely so I posted it. I agree that it’s all part of the healing process.

  4. ahhh, you write how I feel.
    Sometimes I feel its an exercise in futility to point out the sky to those who think only the dirt exists.
    Maybe I can’t make them look up, but I wont stop seeing the beauty for myself.

  5. I love the way you write, with such raw emotion and passion. You often make me stop in my tracks and reflect – whatever the subject. Regrets, I have a few – but then again, too few to mention …

  6. I think it’s helpful to occasionally revisit our regrets because it affirms how far we’ve come, and the healthier choices we’ve learned to make for ourselves. Sounds like that’s a big part of this powerfully written reflection…

  7. Just found this off of the Facebook share group, so glad you posted this. Writing out raw emotions I have found is one of the best (i.e. free) forms of therapy there is. It’s gotten me in trouble in the past but wouldn’t change a thing. Look forward to catching up on this site.

  8. I don’t regret it. Because it shaped who I am today. If it hadn’t been so bad, I would never have reached out and found myself in community with the most WONDERFUL bunch of writers online. I would never have found my best friend or my BlogWife or…well, anyone else important and special to me.

  9. So beautifully honest and powerful. This line – “I kept my eyes lowered and missed the beauty of the sky.” That is very similar to something I try to keep in mind as I figure out my way through life – I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I missed something because I was not paying attention or was too focused on what was not beautiful to see what truly was.
    But as for regrets…I’m in Lizzi’s camp on this one. No matter what has transpired in my past, it is all part of who I am today. I do my best to embrace it.

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