What is it about clean, white sheets on a bed? To many, it means nothing more than clean, white sheets, nothing out of the norm. It is a chore many dislike, laundry.
As I was making my bed, my mind went through years and years of memories, of how I felt and where I am now. As I smoothed out the sheets, admiring the crisp look and fresh scent, I teared up, thinking of the past. White sheets. I can have white sheets.
When I go to my sister’s house and stay a couple of nights, I look forward to our visit but her white sheets make me feel special and loved. When I go to a hotel, which is very rare, and once I settle in of seeing no bedbugs (Thank You Jesus), I enjoy the white sheets for the night, it’s a treat. White sheets. I, too, can have white sheets.
My bedroom accent colors are burgundy and olive green, very pretty to me. I always had burgundy cotton sheets, which I loved as they matched so well to my decor and bedding.
Although, after many washings over the years, they were starting to look worn, tired, becoming worthless, just as I felt in those years that my memory was actively reminding me.
Awhile back, I finally broke down and ordered a nice set of sheets, supposedly burgundy but not. Burgundy is a color that is hard to match, it’s a must see item before buying, lesson learned. In that, I ordered white sheets. Unsure if I would like, as I had grown attached to my old burgundy sheets due to the blending of colors. Plus, I hate change. White sheets. White sheets are for special people or guests, not me.
Hesitantly, the newly washed white sheets went on my bed and I loved them. Now wondering why it took me so long to make this change. Just this simple change in sheets, I felt different. As I pull down the covers to crawl in bed, I feel a joy. Just a simple, nice set of white sheets made me feel like I deserve them in my own home. Years and years of feeling worn, tired, unlovable and unworthy, I have felt life returning, as I am lovable and I am worthy after years of counseling and figuring out who I am once again. Life can push one down so low, of no hope in sight. White sheets. I am worthy to have white sheets.
People say they lose themselves in life situations and I totally understand this, as I did. I was at a point of hopelessness and feeling so worthless. No person should feel this or get to that point but it happens. Thank God I had a counselor that spent session after session, for four years, helping me see through the dark days and of understanding myself, as I gave up on loving and trusting others and even myself.
No matter, I knew God loved me through it all. I reminded myself that He knew my name and where I was at all times, which was my go-to saying, sometimes of not believing even that truth. He said He would never leave me nor forsake me so I had to trust and believe when I had nothing left within me.
It has taken awhile to get to this point but just the mundane act of making my bed of all clean bedding, seeing the white sheets, I am so thankful and touched that He did not leave me. He has brought me to a place where I am today. I do have white sheets now, and I love them. I don’t think I will ever buy any other color. A small, insignificant piece in my life just to remind me where I was and where I am and to feel hopeful and worthy. It’s the small things in life that brings the big picture together. White sheets. White sheets are a must.
Perhaps reading this blog of mine, (man or woman) you may relate or know of someone of feeling the unworthiness, which can cause so many issues compounding upon other issues to where you might feel stuck and total hopelessness. Perhaps it is no accident that you read of my own soul-sucking life experience to know that I understand.
Just know and most importantly, never forget that YOU are worthy.
HE KNOWS YOUR NAME AND HE KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE. TRUST HIM
As I walked into the kitchen the other morning to get my coffee, to start my day and knowing I had curlers in my hair, which is very odd for me. During this pandemic, I have let my hair grow, which was always a short pixie style but now it flows down my neck and gets in my eyes on windy days. Hey, it was 2020 so why not shake up some things even more. It is actually shocking that I did this, as I do not like change. I had this short hairdo for years, like twenty-five years approximately. I always felt the short hair would draw attention to my face, my eyes, or just my upper body since my weight had increased over the years due to life, depression, pregnancy and again, depression.
Normally, I am alone in my area of the house and no issues of crossing paths with my husband in the way our house is designed, which is actually perfect. It’s an odd set up, it’s an odd relationship. Still, that morning with the curlers, this would be one morning that he may come up the steps and see me. A cringe, embarrassment and fear struck me. How sad is that? He would see me. In that moment, thinking and feeling, the Ugly Duckling blog was born.
I never felt pretty to him, was never told I was in all these years. The closest I got was that my looks do not matter, as I have a good heart. Really?!?! I should have known early in our marriage, with those words spoken, things would not go well or that I would fully understand this man I married. So, I have a kind, loving heart and that is a good thing. Still, a husband is to admire their wife and make her the most important one in his sight. To love and to cherish, I heard those words in our vows. Maybe I had this whole thought of a marriage relationship out of balance, and I expected way too much, now feeling fake and non-existent. Perhaps I believed in the fairytale of it all.
“When a woman feels loved and cherished by her man, she feels more secure, not more insecure.”
Whenever in my kitchen, I keep a pair of readers on my windowsill for those instructions on cooking, ingredients, etc. It sucks getting old. While I wear a different pair now, actually I have a cheap pair in every room. A year or so before, while preparing for a holiday dinner of a gathering for his side of the family, I had these thin readers on that my sister had given me. He was over by the refrigerator looking at me and I heard him snicker. I could have cried but I did not have time. As I write this, I still have those little, thin readers now in the back of my cabinet, hidden. Hidden, just the way I have wanted to do so often while in his presence.
So many years I have seen this man gwak at women in my presence, not just a glance, I mean up and down and back again. Always denying this while I would stand and just watch him. So many discussions of just this over and over again and even in the church, it happens. Never admitting his viewing when mentioned. I am observant but I have learned to be through this, because it cuts to the core of a wife, I am his wife. How could he do this but not realize he is doing it? Years and years and many tears.
There comes a point to when you feel crazy with his denial and seeing things but the reoccurance was so often, how could this not be real. Maybe I am crazy, I thought often. I do know it was hurtful. Stuff like this, who in the world can you talk to about and hopefully they not think you are crazy also or defend him, he’s just a man. If I did make a hint of such or slight comment, I was informed of how nice he is and such a good father and everything was true. It was between him and I that they did not truly see, it’s not their relationship. It was not their place to see that and how hurtful it made my heart just ache. I quit having friends and family over due to watching this gawking in my own home. I do not deserve that and soon, the house was empty with nobody knocking on our door or over for dinner or is out to dinner, as couples. Was it my fault? I was just exhausted of having the same, deadend conversation that proved I was nuts, that he did not gawk. He did.
“He’s just a man. All men look.” I have been told this but hey, I am just his wife and this hurts, is disrespectful and is killing our marriage. Your invalidation that as a wife, I must accept. No! No, I don’t.
So this morning as I walked through my kitchen with my coffee, somewhat hurrying and cringing of the fact he might see me, I relived all the years that I was made to feel as an Ugly Duckling to my own husband. He still has no clue and will still not admit of his gawking back then and possibly now. Now, I really do not care as we go about life separately but that remembering the way we were together, I never want to experience again. No woman deserves to be treated this way, unknowingly or not.
It was in 2014, walking into my former counselor’s office and my first words was that I felt I was going crazy. It was not just the gawking he was so good at but so many other things that just did not make sense. What is up with this stranger in my house? Thank God she realized after weeks or months that he has Aspergers. I was not sure of Aspergers or if that was fact. I did my research and the book I found, it was like he was a textbook example. His name might as well have been written on every page.
Now understanding him more so and why he did the things he did and now still does, it helps but the relationship is dead. It is just a legal-binding marriage license on paper that keeps us existing under one roof. In the way he is, he is nice, very calm and patient to a point, plus denial holds a place in his mind that we are a happily married couple. He will make it sound like we are when talking to others because we did this or that or went here. Going to Home Depot is a date, he thinks. He will hear enough of what I am saying to my sister or another, and share like he actually knows me. He does not know me.
We have no vacations together, my choice, as I will not place myself in the same position of watching him gawk and deny. I don’t need that in my life or to be stressed over. We may go and pick up our own grocery items, visit his elderly parents and perhaps go see our two sons and a daughter-in-law. For the most part, I drive down alone to visit them, and odds are they notice and sense that their mom is less stressed and more fun.
Even in the short stints together, I can handle. Same for him, as his routine, that is part of Aspergers will come to the forefront and he can only handle so much before he changes. In the home, 10:00 pm lights out, not just for him but when the boys were growing up and myself. Now, even the cats in the house know what happens come 10:00 pm. Yes, the cats know they must settle down. It is the strangest thing ever. A routine, a timetable is a daily ritual for this man. At times, it’s fun just to mess it all up for him, just because I can. Life is boring without fun and laughter, for me anyway.
News Flash!!!!! I am not an Ugly Ducking. I am Worthy. I am made in the image of God. He loves me. My appearance, my approval from my husband is not required anymore. There comes a point of healing the broken pieces of a good heart and person, whether it be trusting the Lord, seeing a counselor, taking care of one’s health (physical, emotional, spiritual) to become a better you. I will never change him, but I can change me. When I am strong enough and get my ducks in a row, seeing that I can move forward in life, as I deserve more. I am getting closer. Taking care of me. Same for you, if you are in a familiar place that I have walked. There’s more to life than feeling like an ugly duckling.
It’s a sad to have a marriage relationship that is more like a business partnership, brother/sister and sometimes in this case through the years, as mother/son. My three sons, is my life.
This is not just my life but many that we may know and may not necessarily know, as pretending to be a happily married couple happens. My situation may not be the same of gawking as another but other issues, where marriages are crumbling behind the closed doors. Looking at the link earlier of Leslie Vernick, noted below, the comments tell exactly the same story but in different words and situations.
If this is you, do know that the Lord knows your name, He knows exactly where you are, He sees and collects each tear. He loves you, you are His Child, and you are worthy. Trust Him when all hope seems gone and in the midnight hours.
Life is funny, or just maybe the Lord likes pulling my leg, just to test how I will respond. Will I pass the test. I have had a lot of tests through the years and failed many. Repeat, and again. Even though, I have learned from them,
In previous years, in my counseling sessions, my counselor over and over discussed changing my thoughts. Rewiring my brain, to make new neurons and to be a better me, more self worth, self esteem, less shame. I would listen to her trying to help me understand the shame and it took center stage very often in our sessions. I was not really aware of shame beforehand, or even used that word except it being more ashamed of what I have done, etc. So in my thinking, negative thinking, with life of myself, it all started to make sense. Shame! While I got it, it also sounded a lot like positive thinking, and basically it is, but better. Even the Bible talks about renewing our mind.
The negative self-talk in feeling hopeless and worthless due to situations, many beyond my control, but my thoughts controlled me. To just think positive thoughts sounds all good and easy and they can go for a bit and then go by the wayside. It takes work and practice to go in a direction that is unfamiliar by rewiring my brain. Even that brought negative thoughts, of I have a glitch in my brain. What is wrong with me was a common question. Who am I kidding? Shame! My exact thoughts, I was stuck in a rut that I saw no hope in the world around me, my personal life and just within me, my default mode. Even though, she did not give up on me. Thank You Lord!
I am sure she grew tired of helping me understand and grasp the positive and seeing the good in me and turning the negative around for the positive. Quit believing the lies and know my worth, so on and so forth. How can I do that I often thought and would struggle in how can this be and back down I go again until the next session. Shame was always present in my life, but I listened and was grasping ever so slowly.
This former counselor, from 2014 to 2018, was a Godsend. The ending between us was difficult, probably more for me than her, but I still cared and still do. To help me work through my feelings and emotions, I did not read her blogs on Facebook. I backed away. I had to take care of me. Another area she taught me, too.
So this past Monday, I opened up her Facebook business page where she has her blogs, videos and posts. I do not go there often at all and that is another whole blog of my own but I will spare you now. I scrolled through to read just the titles, I would see her in the videos talking but I never listened. I did good, I did not cry due to missing her even though I do and I did not feel angry of which I was. I paid attention to my emotions, my body and what was happening during this period. Something else she taught me. I even left the page open for a few hours and would glance as I worked, still paying attention to how I reacted. I do so miss her, that is a given.
What I thought was interesting was when I was turning her page off to go on with my day, and being so proud of myself. Well, that did not last long, as the thoughts came, rapidly. I have actually been doing good with this rewiring. Now, not so much. I dipped low in the negative thought pattern of I am not smart enough, she knows I don’t have it all together still, she will always find me flawed, and on and on it went. Wow!
While it did not last long, it was long enough. Just shut up! I know I thought and I think I even said it aloud in my empty office. I will not allow these negative thoughts to take over.
In what I want and desire to do, even now in my senior years, I am smart enough. The Lord is the one that has given me the desire and my gifts and talents. I have seen too much to back away now. I may not have it all together, but I am not the depressed woman I once was. As for her thinking I am flawed and not as good as her, I think she would be proud of me, even through this battle. We are all imperfect, even her. I have gifts and talents she does not have and vice versa, same with you. My calling is not her or your calling. So I think I finally put to rest this tug of war that I was hit within those moments.
It wasn’t long after, I was just looking through Facebook and saw a post, which is posted below. Now, how perfect it was to read and to remind myself of what just happened, plus remember all the counseling sessions. That shame reappeared to knock me down and used her, the one that helped me dig out of my pit of despair with shame. The enemy wants me and you not to have victory in our lives, BUT GOD… He does!
We have a choice. We can let Satan rule our mind and life with negativity or we can trust the Lord to lead and direct us in His Plan for our life. While I always knew that, all of my adult life, I lost touch during some bad parts of my life with hopelessness. No, not today! Today, I have HOPE and JOY.
Hopefully, the post I copied will be of help to you and to understand yourself or to help another. I had the privilege of having a great counselor of four years to redirect my thought pattern and help me walk forward knowing I am worthy and I am lovable. Will I experience this again? Yes, but it does not rule me. I believe I passed the test on Monday. I think, too, that she would be very proud of me.
“The first symptom of shame you’ll learn about is negative self-talk.⠀⠀
Negative self-talk is your inner critic. It’s the voice in your head that says ‘you’re not good enough.’ It’s the voice in your head that doubts you, judges you and tells you to settle for less than you deserve.⠀⠀
If you want a better life and relationships, you have to heal your negative self-talk. You can do this by putting the following tips into practice:
Be Aware Of The Voices In Your Head • Every human being has two voices in their head: (1) the voice of love, positivity and joy and (2) the voice of hatred, negativity and fear. • A person who struggles with negative self-talk mostly listens to the voice of hatred, negativity and fear. • The first step to changing your self-talk is to become aware of the negative voice. • Awareness is foundation of growth and change. ⠀⠀
Separate Yourself From The Voices In Your Head • Guess what? You are not the voices in your head. • The voices in your head are echoes from what you’ve heard in the past from parents, friends, bullies and the television. • When you understand that the voices in your head are not your own, then you can stop taking them seriously. • Always remember, you are not your thoughts. ⠀⠀
Be Compassionate To The Voices • Self-compassion is the practice of being kind to your negative thoughts and feelings. • Without self-compassion, healing is impossible. • An important aspect of self-compassion is introducing a new voice in your head. You should introduce this voice anytime you’re caught in negative self-talk. This voice should have a soft tone, kind words and a warm embrace. • For example, if your self-talk is telling you that “you’re not good enough.” Introduce the new voice by telling yourself, “I understand why you would feel this way, but this feeling is not a fact. You are more than enough.” ⠀⠀ Your self-talk affects every area of your life. Therefore, once you start to develop healthy self-talk, you’ll see massive life changes, especially in your relationships ❤️ Thank you for reading.https://www.facebook.com/thekyledjones
Sometimes, I have had to look at and read things like the chart below, as it would be explained to a child in order to grasp better and grow from there. This was all new to me back in 2014. The negative remained within me over the years, most of my life believing that I was not good enough as you or others. So many counseling sessions of her trying to pound this in my thick skull that I am okay and I am going to make it. Those negative thoughts needed to stop in order to allow myself to go forward. Even at my old age, the Lord still has a plan and a purpose for me, which will bring Him the Glory and Honor. I hope this helps someone.
Just a note because I can add a note. This whole week, I keep hearing or reading about this neuroplasticity, rewiring the brain, shame and everything I have noted in this blog. Not just once but daily, all week. I heard it again from another source and another in a different way, but the same message. Interesting that it kept happening all week. Life is interesting. It is either to confirm and/or for me to learn from it all, still. Perhaps the Lord is allowing me to hear it over and over again to make me aware He is with me and taking me places and I need to pay attention to the positive. I’m just taking you along for the ride in my journey.
“Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, describes how experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain. Long lasting functional changes in the brain occur when we learn new things or memorize new information. These changes in neural connections are what we call neuroplasticity.“