He loves my scars.
Everyone has scars. Everyone has a story to tell. But whether or not that story will actually be told is an entirely different matter.
For most of my life, I walked around pretending to be this totally confident, driven, ambitious person. The one who would keep going no matter what. The one who let the idiocy of the world around, the disappointment of mistakes and failures, roll right off her back. I played a good game for those who didn't care to look deeper, which, if we're honest, most of us don't look deeper. We have our own pains, our own struggles, our own challenges of survival. We don't have the time, effort, or energy, to take a deeper look at someone else.
Most of us.
My husband took a deeper look at me. He continues to look at me on a deeper level than anyone else I know (other than my therapist!), and he does it because he wants to. When he first began peeling back the layers, getting under my skin and into my mind and my emotions, I didn't know how to deal with the vulnerability he drew from me, but the more I let him see, the more he showed how much he loves me.
I have physical scars which have always made me a bit self-conscious, but it's the invisible scars that made me feel inadequate, devalued, and unworthy. I'll never forget the day I told him the one thing I was sure would cause him to turn his face from me in shame. I fully expected him to withdraw from the darkness I'd been hiding, to find me as disgraceful as I found myself. That may have been the easier reaction to handle, because it's what I expected. What happened instead? He raged against the thing that had been done, but not against me. He wept in sorrow for me and drew me into himself. If it was possible, he wove himself into me in a deeper way than I ever could have imagined possible.
I left him.
I ran away because I couldn't handle what he'd shown me. Pure, unconditional, unadulterated love that knew no bounds. It took a lot of work on my part before I came back to him. I spent many months running, trying to calm the tempest of insanity within my mind and emotions with meaningless sex and an alcoholic haze. One night, I woke up in a bed I shouldn't have been in and stared at the ceiling. "This is not how I want my life to be," was the thought that grabbed ahold of me and dug in.
Over the next several months, I saw a therapist, digging into the places that had poisoned me for so long, doing the painful and dirty work that needed to be done so those wounded places could heal. It was a horrible process. But I emerged on the other side, stronger, not the same as I was when I went in. I have a toolbox now, a treasure trove of processes and reminders that help me remember who I am, what I want, what I have, and where I'm going.
I have scars. Some of them are deep, jagged, ugly things, constantly reminding me where I've been, what I've endured, but my husband loves every one of them. We got back together after I'd taken the time to take care of myself, and our relationship is stronger than it's ever been. We often joke that we went through more shit before we were married than most people will go through in a lifetime. We have the relationship we have today because we both worked hard on ourselves before we ever said "I do."
I love my husband because he loves, unconditionally and without hesitation, every single scar I have - he doesn't love how I got them, he hates that - he loves what they represent. They say I'm a fighter. I'm a survivor, and that's what he loves, that's what he reminds me of when I'm feeling insecure. He reminds me how strong I am, even when I don't feel so strong, and he becomes my strength when I need him to.