All my life I believed that I was unlovable and that anyone that I loved would eventually leave me.
You see my dad left me when I was only 4 years old by taking his own life with a gun. I loved my daddy so much and I knew he loved me. So why did he leave me? It must be because I wasn’t loveable enough for him to stay. This is what my 4 year old brain made this traumatic life event mean about me.
So my biggest fear from that point on was that everyone I met would find out this terrible truth about me; That I was so unlovable my dad left me and died and it was my fault.
Thus began my lifelong career of hiding, pretending, and lying. Never letting anyone get close enough to me for fear they would be able to see who and what I truly was; unlovable. And then they too would leave me. I got really good at people pleasing, wearing the costumes to hide behind, and playing all the right parts. I did whatever I had to do to feel loved, to feel lovable. I could never be myself because who would love that?
Living this way was causing me so much anxiety because I was in a constant state of fear, and this lead to a depression that I would eventually need therapy and medication to treat. Which made me feel even more defective and unlovable. I was so disgusted by myself, I hated myself so much that I became suicidal by the time I was 14 years old.
I desperately wanted to be loved, to feel loved and cherished by someone who would not leave me. Then at the age of 26 my dream came true! I had found my prince charming and we got married! He was everything and more than what I could have ever hoped for. Our life together was a fairy tale dream come true for me. He loved me, he cherished me, he took care of me, he protected me, and he stuck by my side and loved me even when I was unlovable. And because I had his love, I felt I was lovable, I felt whole, confident, happy, and safe for one of the first times in my life.
Then a month after our 27th anniversary, he was gone. He had been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder two months before he died. The love of my life was gone. My reason for living was gone. The one who validated that I was lovable was gone. He was the only person on earth who knew all of me and still loved me and he was gone.
Along with all the emotions of sadness, loss, and grief came this incredible fear of my truth being exposed once again; that I was unlovable and it was my fault he died. I had never felt so vulnerable and scared.
In those first days after his death I found myself sitting alone in our home feeling so lost and alone, asking myself out loud “What am I going to do?” over and over. The answer first came in another question: “What would Tom do?” And I remembered that Tom always made sure I was taken care of and he did everything he possibly could to make sure I was happy. I thought “That’s it! I have to make sure I am taken care of and that I am happy!”
It was like he was saying to me “Now it’s your turn to love yourself the same way I always loved you; unconditionally”. That was almost 3 years ago.
Today I can nakedly say I that I have found my unconditional love and have become crystal clear of my gift to the world in guiding others toward finding love after loss.
To finding the truest of true love,
This is my very first talk on stage about one of the many amazing lessons I learned during my cancer journey. It will give you a little taste of who I am. 2/8/20
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