Writing letters changed my perspective

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Growing up, I was never the pretty girl, never the one the boys had a crush on. I had a few boyfriends through high school, but nothing serious. Whether or not they actually even liked me that way can be questioned for several.

I was insecure. I was always chubby, and I was always the outcast. Combined with my depression, I felt worthless. I know our parents try to teach us that our worth is not determined by what boys are interested in us, but as a teenager with massive insecurity problems, and watching all the guys you like fall for your friends, it becomes difficult not to judge yourself by that.

Even though as a Christian, I believed that the Bible is the Word of God and the word says that we are all special, and all worth something in the eyes of God, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see anything past the fact that I was undesirable.

When college hit, things weren’t much different. The first guy I had a crush on after starting realized it, and instead of just telling me he wasn’t interested, set up a scenario that left me publicly embarrassed at one of our pub nights. A couple months later, he accepted a bet to hook up with me, because I “looked hotter” after allowing a friend to dress me and do my makeup.

From there it was a spiral. The more my self-esteem plummeted, the more I turned to alcohol, the more I lost all sense of worth.

Between first and second year, I lost quite a bit of weight, cut my hair and things seemed to change. First, guys started to notice me and hit on me. My boyfriend at the time had just dumped me, but it seemed like there was no shortage of interest from other guys. I was learning that looking hot = receiving attention.

But then, as I started seeing some of these guys, they made it very clear they were only interested if I put out. That my worth, to them, was determined by looking hot and doing stuff for them. I started seeing one of those guys regularly, and after a few weeks, he started telling me this wouldn’t last long unless I did more. I didn’t want to, but I wanted to feel wanted. So I got drunk, and I did what he asked. This carried on for a few months, until I confessed to him that I couldn’t sleep with him. It was the one thing that I couldn’t convince myself to do, no matter how drunk I got. Call it guilt, call it the Spirit’s nudge, call it what you will; I couldn’t do it.

I never heard from him again. We had the same friends, lived at the same residence, but as far as he was concerned, I no longer existed. Even when I was working the front desk and he was required to show me his residence card, he pretended I wasn’t there and blew past me.

From there, the spiralling grew worse. Being one of a few ‘attractive’ girls on a very nerdy website, I suddenly became insanely popular online. I talked to the guys who showed interest; I did what they asked to momentarily feel wanted, to feel like I was worth something. I felt even worse afterwards, but I kept going back because for a moment, I felt special. It was like a drug.

The guys I actually got involved with were no better. The final one I got involved with in college was awful. He had told me that he couldn’t foresee a relationship with someone who wouldn’t have sex with him, so desperate to still feel like I was worth it, I asked for some time. I had been raised with the idea sex before marriage was wrong, and it wasn’t something I could just turn off.

He told me, if I wouldn’t sleep with him, I wasn’t worth anything. And good luck finding someone to love me.

I shattered. I spent the next four days drunk in New York, trying to numb the pain.

Over the next year, as my bipolar worsened, and the guy I fell for had eyes for nearly every girl but me, I started to doubt that I would ever find love, or worth. I would spend nearly every night watching chick flicks then crying myself to sleep wondering why I could never be that girl. I was the textbook definition of pathetic and desperate.

One day, I got sick of it. I got sick of believing the lies, sick of feeling like crap about myself, sick of letting whether or not a guy was interested in me determine my worth.

In November of 2009, I decided I was done. I made a vow that I wouldn’t start dating again until I could feel value without a man. I also needed to start sticking to my standards, and not allow them to be altered just because of a guy. And I needed to believe that if this desire to one day be a wife was so heavy on my heart, that I would one day meet someone, as God would not put a desire so strong on me if he didn’t intend to fulfil it.

I needed to be able to redirect my emotions, my fears and my hopes into something that could prevent me from plummeting further. That day, I decided that I would start a journal, and write to my future husband, and God, about everything – from the struggles I was facing, to the hopes I had for him and for our future.

It was awkward and hard at first, but then, it became familiar to me; it became a comfort. When I was hurting and lonely, I wrote to God, expressing my feelings. When I was wishing someone would be in my life, and feeling unloved, I wrote to my future husband. He became a presence in my life, even though he wasn’t there yet.

By the time I met my now husband, I was honestly a changed woman. Part of that was obviously due to growing up, but a large part was because of those letters, and because of how they helped me change not only how I viewed myself, but how I viewed love and life as well.

Now, six years later, I’m married to an amazing man. A man who is more incredible than I could have ever imagined, and who made those years of letter writing worth it. Last Christmas, I gave him the letters as a Christmas gift. As we read through some of them, it was incredible to see how some of the strangest, and oddest things I wrote came to fruition; including the list of all the qualities I had hoped to find in him (down to silly ones that were put in more for my amusement!).

Starting next Saturday (with the blessing of my husband), I will be starting a weekly series where I will be sharing those letters, in the hopes that maybe someone else can benefit from them.

7 thoughts on “Writing letters changed my perspective

    1. Thank you CeeCee!

      There were times I hesitated on this, because I felt people would see it as silly, but that’s when I was reminded that it wasn’t silly to me. While it might seem so to some, there’s bound to be someone else out there who could be impacted by this as well. So even if it gives one person the courage to remind themselves they are worth something of value and deserve to be loved, then sharing has done it’s job.

    1. Honestly, as much as it sucked, I really feel like God is allowing me to use all that to help others. I only briefly touched on a lot of what happened, but those situations went a lot deeper, and in hindsight have given me better insight on how we’re failing to prepare our youth for what they’re going to face (which I’m working on a book about).

      I think for me, the biggest thing with those letters was having to teach myself to believe that whomever I ended up with would be able to accept me and love me despite my past. With Scott, there was never a question about it. And it was incredible, because he is the kind of man that those letters meant the world too. To me that was just another sign that it was totally a God thing.

  1. “In November of 2009, I decided I was done. I made a vow that I wouldn’t start dating again until I could feel value without a man.” Exactly two years later, I would do the same thing! I didn’t date for an entire year (for me, this was big news, sadly) because I wanted at least a full year to focus solely on the Lord and seek out what He wanted to do in my life. DIDN’T WE FEEL SO MUCH STRONGER AFTERWARD? I am actually back to doing the same thing right now, and for the first time I actually am okay with whether or not he decides to bring a guy into my life! I know either way, His plan is perfect and I am excited for the future. I’m overjoyed for you that God brought a great man into your life! He is faithful!

    1. That is incredible! And yes, I did. I actually ended up dating someone less than a year later, but it was on my terms; his opinion of me wasn’t going to determine my worth. It ended up being a relationship that really prepared me for my marriage. Following our break-up just under a year later, I had realized that I wasn’t even worried about dating anymore. If I met someone, great, but if not, my life would go on. Interestingly enough, three months later, I met my future husband! But it was that whole, it’s in God’s hands and if it doesn’t happen, I have an incredible life to live that had been the main perspective change.

      I think we’ve grown up in a society that has put SO MUCH pressure on dating that it’s easy to lose ourselves and our worth in whether or not someone wants to date us. But really, we are fierce, incredible women with or without a man on our arms.

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