“The most painful thing to admit is that my judgment is here too. Glimpses into assumptions I’ve made, conclusion I’ve jumped to, hurt that I sought to explain away rather than understand. Women I could have taken a step towards, instead of a step away from.”
Not a hair out of place, children coordinated in expensive outfits, her husband’s arm lovingly draped over her shoulders. Every day she posts another impossibly adorable photo of her family on Facebook … can her life be any more perfect?
She and her husband fought all the way to church this morning, the little ones silently cowering in the back seat. Her family is circling the drain but she’s terrified to tell anyone. What will people think? As their sparkling new car pulls into the parking lot, the yelling abruptly subsides and they simultaneously transform: trendy clothes smoothed, Bibles in hand, masks in place. They walk in—a beautiful shell of a family—hearts aching under the weight of all the lies.
* * *
Look at how tiny she is. She probably never struggles with her weight. Must be nice.
She tears herself apart in the mirror every day, picking out each flaw and mercilessly holding it up to her own unattainable standard. Her repulsion in her body is so intense, she disappears into the bathroom after most meals, flirting with the idea of allowing all the calories to leave her body, like it never happened. It felt so good the last few times. Once more won’t matter.
* * *
She’s so happy all the time. Is her life nothing but rainbows and sunshine?
Life has seemed hopeless since she lost him five years ago. She’s seen countless doctors since then, each one looking down their nose at her for ‘just feeling sad’. She couldn’t bear it if her friends looked at her that way. So she pastes a bright smile on her face and prays it conceals the ache she’s been carrying like a curse. She may as well stop taking the pills … they’re not even working.
* * *
I haven’t seen her at church in weeks. I guess she’s not as spiritual as she makes herself out to be.
She’s been wrestling with God for months now. She so desperately wants a relationship with Him, but her rejection from the church has left her bitter and confused. The joy that used to fill her soul seems tainted, and she’s not sure it will ever come back. No one’s even noticed she’s stopped coming. Does she even belong here?
* * *
When I asked when she and her husband were finally going to start having kids, she was completely rude. I was just trying to include her.
They started trying right away, excited for the loud and crazy houseful of kids they had been dreaming about since their fifth date. Month after month, she sits on the bed, anxiously counting down the seconds until she can check the test. And month after month, her dream is snatched away by the harsh electronic “No” staring back at her. She feels like such a failure. Each time some acquaintance innocently asks when she’ll finally be ready for a baby, the pain that catches in her throat is so intense she wants to scream. As if it’s as simple being ready. She would give anything in the world for it to be that simple. She would give anything in the world for them to stop asking.