Something Beautiful in the Chaos

I have experienced my first panic attacks. They represent everything I feared I would become because of the events that have shaped me. I claim I am strong. I claim I am a warrior and a survivor. I make these statements with pride. Now, I feel I am a coward. I do not mean to belittle anyone who suffers from panic attacks because now, I know how crippling they are, but I always worried that one day, I would just be sitting in a room, rocking back and forth, muttering to myself.

That’s how a panic attack feels.

I am telling you this to break down barriers, to stop the stigma. I am so tired of putting up a fight, putting up the façade of “tough girl”. Some days, I feel I am the tough girl I claim to be, but other days, I am rocking back and forth, unable to catch my breath, completely unable to articulate all the thoughts racing through my head faster than I knew I could process thoughts. They just kept running circles in my head, spinning these phrases like a whirling dervish. I kept hearing her voice time and time again, then his voice would intervene, so much so I could barely hear my fiancé’s voice through it all.

I kept hearing my mother telling me that no one will ever love me, that I will ruin my own wedding day, that I look like I’ve put on a few extra pounds, and that I’m a fucking bitch. Kept replaying those thoughts to the point that I kept wondering why he would love me? I kept remembering at the beginning of our relationship, she would scold me not to tell him too much because then, I’ll scare him away and that nobody wanted to hear about my stupid girl problems.

I kept replaying my ex telling me that I belonged in a house for people with special needs. That I shouldn’t be allowed out in public. That I did this to him. That it was my fault because I just wouldn’t fucking stop. The roar in my head was muffled, but it sounded like his voice. Meanwhile, in soft, calming tones, my fiancé told me he loved me, that he wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t even breathe hardly. I kept taking short little intakes of breath quickly, but not getting enough air. How could anyone love me? Here I was like a watch with its backing made of glass, all the cogs and gears exposed, but instead of exposing something mechanical and fascinating, it was me coming unwound, and damn it there was so much ugliness there.

People tell me I’m beautiful. I’m not saying this to be arrogant or egotistical because 2/3 of the time, I don’t believe it. However, people do tell me I’m beautiful. I feel so ugly most of the time. I was told from a young age not to brag about myself because that’s an unattractive trait. I was told anytime I said something good about myself or something I was proud of about me to not say those things because I was being arrogant or full of myself.

So, I know I’m ugly. I know that there is little good to see in me, but damn. I somehow got so lucky, and this man who is so damn wonderful sees something wonderful in me.

-L.G.

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