Belonging

Music is such an important part of my life.  I’ve not always been the best at expressing my emotions in a coherent manner (I’m still not if I’m honest), so music has been a way for me to express how I’m feeling, to get a point across that I’m unable to do myself.  A song can take me back to a specific place, a person, a smell, or a time in my life where I listened to it on repeat for weeks on end because it was a part of my soul for a short period of time.

My ex-husband and I had a lot of songs that we were obsessed with, but there were 2 that we considered “our” songs.  One is the song I walked down the aisle to, and the other is one that we came across after we were married but that we felt just “fit”.

The song we had for our wedding was a song called “You” by Evanescence.  (Luckily my music taste has changed quite a bit in the last 9 years.) The other song is “You Belong To Me”, specifically the Jason Wade version.  I haven’t listened to either of these songs in at least 4 years, but I was going through some boxes of stuff I’ve been avoiding since I separated from my ex, and found some letters he’d written to me that mentioned some of “our” songs, so I gave them a listen a couple days ago.

There’s a lyric near the end of “You” that says “Now that you love me, I love myself.  I never thought I would say that.”  And “You Belong to Me” is very self-explanatory.  I still think it is a beautiful song (especially this version, because I’m a sucker for an acoustic guitar), but carries a whole new meaning looking back at my relationship.  Listening to them on this side of divorce definitely gives me, or reinforces, the new perspective I’ve gained in the last couple months.

I lived my life for my ex-husband.  I thought that, until I met him, I was worth nothing.  He gave me purpose, he gave me someone to take care of, to love unconditionally, and if I just gave him time, he’d love me unconditionally as well.  My self worth was caught up in how he felt about me.  When he was upset with me, I was a piece of shit, and during the good times, when he was happy, I thought I felt like my life was complete, and we were meant to be together.  I wanted to do anything to be with him, to make him happy, to keep him on the right track in life, and at the time, I thought that’s what I wanted in return.  I wanted to belong to someone.  And when he heard this song and shared it with me, I was so happy that he thought of me like that, that he wanted me so badly, that he demanded I remember that I was his no matter what.

But looking back, something always felt off.  I chalked the feeling up to my extreme depression, and the fact that we couldn’t get pregnant, and dozens of other reasons that were just excuses for the fact that I knew deep down I didn’t belong with him, and I definitely didn’t belong to him.

Listening to these songs, I think I was a bit shocked at how warped my idea of a healthy relationship was.  I truly believed there was no way I could love myself, and his love was the only thing that made me a whole person.  He was my entire world, and he was suffocating me.

Reading through the letters and reflecting on the time we shared together, I won’t say I regret it necessarily.  I’m sorry I wasted so much time on him, but I did learn a lot.  Or, am still in the process of learning.  I’ve learned that I will never let anyone else become my world.  I love my fiance, and I can’t wait to share my life with him, and while he is a big part of my life, and makes me happier than I once ever thought I could be, I don’t feel like I can only love myself because he loves me. I’ve learned that unconditional love doesn’t apply to someone who is slowly sucking the life out of you.

And I think the biggest thing I’ve learned, is that I will never belong to someone else.  I’m not yet where I want to be in life, and I still have a lot of changes I want to make.  But only I can make those changes, only I can truly make myself happy, and the only person I will ever belong to again, is me.

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