I am a woman with some scars. I will not claim I have deeper and bigger scars than the rest. I just know I have the scars to remind me of my past mistakes and trials that made me the person I am now. It reminds me that suicide and even thinking of it is NOT the answer.
Before I had kids, I fell in love with a guy who could not commit to our relationship and to any job. It was a mistake to stay and take care of him but I still did. I had forgiven his affairs to other women and still welcomed him with open arms every time he felt like coming back to me. Everyone who cared about me wanted me to get out of that stupid relationship. I did not listen and I knew it cost me a lot— I lost the love for myself.
With that same guy, I got myself into a lot of debt. I wanted to impress him and my family. I believed that if my family could feel financially better they would be happy in my relationship. I also thought if my boyfriend would see I could give what he wanted, he would treat me better. However, things got worse. I used my credit cards a lot until these were all maxed out. I couldn’t afford the monthly bills and I was receiving a lot of letters, text messages, phone calls and emails from credit card companies and their collection agencies. I was so scared that I would go to jail if I could not pay them. I was so stressed because my family was also having financial troubles and my siblings might not be able to finish school. I could feel the guilt because I was the eldest. I knew they expected a lot from me but there I was with a guy who’d brought me down the drain (because I let him).
I was from a US-based corporate company where employees are mold to grow professionally then I left it because I thought I could do better somewhere else. I applied abroad and got accepted in Japan but I did not go. One, I did not want to leave my boyfriend. The next reasons came up to cover this up. That time, the Japanese yen significantly fell down. I would lose 30% of my expected salary if it was converted to Philippine pesos. It was my perfect excuse though the recruiter was willing to adjust the salary “a little.”
Then, I was accepted into an Asian company where the Philippine branch is made up by mostly Filipinos and a Malaysian manager. The culture was really different. I did not know how to deal with people who had unprofessional manners. It was the first time that I met people who would bring down their colleagues emotionally through screams, gossips, and isolation. There was a lack of respect with the Malaysian boss and I was uncomfortable about it. I did not do well with the company whether it was work- or social- related. The sadness and depression worsened but I had no one to tell because I was blaming myself for choosing that kind of life and that company.
Then, I had met a college classmate who recruited me in this multi-level marketing or networking company. I guess she sensed I was desperate to make ends meet so I was an easy prey. Well, it was a legal company but it was not where the pot of gold was. Desperately, I borrowed money from my (ex-)best friend. I thought I had finally done the right thing but it was a mistake I deeply regretted. It was the only thing I wished I’d never done. The recruiter let me borrow money from her family with a monthly interest rate of 5% of the original debt. My recruiter was earning from me whether I recruited, sold an item or did not earn any.
I lost a lot of weight and had trouble sleeping at night. My old best friend wanted her money back. I could not pay her and our friendship was broken. The collection agencies were after me. My family hated me more. My boyfriend did have a job but was womanizing. Because I was paying 30% of my salary to my recruiter and I needed to still help my family, and pay the bills, there would be days that food was scarce. I couldn’t even afford to buy a medicine when I got sick.
I decided to run away from the MLM recruiter. I could no longer take the deep shit I was in. I was not doing good as an MLM member and my financial woes just got worse than ever. I returned her packages and got my ATM back. Yes, I did not pay her the money but she had the packages I bought from her. If what she claimed that she was a superb seller was true, she could have easily sold those packages to other people, got her money back and earned double from what I borrowed from her. At that point, I did not care if I had broken my relationship with her. I already lost my best friend. Why would it matter if I lost a so-called friend?
After running away from that MLM company, I wanted to leave the job but it was the company that decided my fate. In the January of the 2007 financial crisis, I was one of those unwanted employees who had to leave the company. They gave me a severance package which was enough for me to last for three months. I also had an issue with the severance pay but I guess the story didn’t fit here because it was the stage where I already had scars.
After leaving the company, I should have a job in less than a month but the contract date was moved so I waited for four months. I separated from my boyfriend for a while and started all over again. After several months, we went back together but he did not change for the better. I know most of the readers would consider me stupid and it was really my fault to stay with a man like him.
We stayed together for a couple of months. He got me pregnant and used my pregnancy to further justify his womanizing activities. It was at that point I had to leave him. For several months, he happily stayed with this other woman and made me look that I was the one going after him. That was enough for me to get off the radar. I closed the door for months but he kept on knocking and reaching. I knew back then that I had to stay strong for my baby and ignore him.
This was the point were some of my wounds started to heal. I learned that a family’s love is unconditional and they were with me all throughout my difficult journey. Together, we faced our financial problems and, slowly, we were able to fix it. I had the help of my cousin to help my family and I was really thankful. Somehow, it felt good to know my family was doing fine.
My contract ended when I was five months pregnant. I thought it would be a scary part of my life but it turned out to be the source of my renewed strength and hope. I applied for an online job and was hired by Andy to become his virtual assistant. He was just not my boss but he also reached out to know me, my thoughts and my feelings. He was like a father who would just listen and never judge. Working with him was the best two years of my life after all the problems I made and encountered. He was my angel and he guided me towards hope.
After giving birth, I got an offer to have an office job again. It was a choice to go back to the city and I had to give up my online job with Andy. His health was also compromised so he had to stop his online business. I still see some Facebook updates though and I’m glad to know he’s happier than ever.
My boyfriend tried to win me back with promises and (sometimes) lies. It was a tough part because I love him but I don’t trust him. I even confronted the other woman and I found out more bad things about him. Out of thirst for revenge from both of them and my obsession, I decided to take him back but living together was like hell for months.
I was bitter and angry. He was defensive and tried to create more lies. I just wanted to destroy their relationship and let them feel what I felt. I hurt him physically while he hurt me emotionally. I thought we would hit the end button as soon as I realized that my revenge was a waste of time to soulless people.
I was waiting for him to go but he never left. I told him he can leave me anytime and I will never go after him anymore. He left and realized I was determined to forget him. I guess he saw the scars. He saw a different person in me and maybe it frightened him that I would be gone for good if he hurt me again that time.
He did change so I would still go home.
It was a very rough and dirty road to fix our unhealthy relationship. I used our daughter’s existence to choose a better life with or without him. He made a choice to stay and be a better man for me. It took us several years to be in good shape. Actually, even if we had our second kid, I had qualms about staying with him. The wound was deep. I could still taste the bitterness of my heart.
It was hard to forgive him yet alone forget everything that had happened. He did not get a job anymore. I didn’t want to see him in a job and still become a burden to me financially. For years, I was sustaining the family. We had our third kid and, financially, we were better off with my job. Though my family still disliked him, I stayed with him and he made his way back to me. Maybe, I had forgiven him still the scars was a reminder of his misgivings and how I stayed strong and why I should remain tough (and not trusting)
Up to this day, I am confident that I can live without him. A few years ago, he could be my weakness. However, the ups and downs of our relationship made me stronger and wiser. It also made him rearrange his priorities— kids first, each other and anything else.
Going back, I knew I could have done better and chose a better man. I might not have lost my best friend, lost a part of my dignity and most of my dreams. However, as years passed, I learned to accept what I did and did not do. Slowly, I stopped mourning about my losses and choosing a man who could never be my prince charming. I started to rebuild myself for the sake of my future and my three kids. I learned to respect myself, my boyfriend and the importance of life.
Looking at my three kids right now, I know I will be willing to take that rough road again if it means it’s the only way to have them. My happiness is with them even if life is sometimes hard and imperfect. As a good friend told me, if I choose my boyfriend and my kids as my source of happiness, I should make a stand.
The scars prevented me from marrying him even if he asked me several times. The wound of betrayal is not yet completely healed.
There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with. — Harry Crews at Brainy Quote