Perfectly Imperfect

 I will start this off by saying this has been one of the hardest posts I’ve had to write.  And if you’re looking for the funny, sunny, on the light side Peg, sorry.  She’s not here today.  You can skip today and come back later in the week or if you’re feeling brave, soldier on.

Sunday I was reading Carol’s post from Wanderings of an Elusive Mind and she was sharing a blogpost from another blogger she is familiar with, Danoah, aka Single Dad, Laughing.  I clicked on the link to read a post about our society’s obsession with perfection and everyone’s struggle to obtain this unattainable perfection and how horribly this inability to be perfect affects us all.  Some with very dire results.  It was a very powerful post that touched me to my very core.  You can read the post in it’s entirety here.  Or you can click on the picture on the right hand of my blog over here>>>> that says “ a powerful message”.  That will also take you to the post.  He wrote it last week and has had totally unexpected and phenomenal reaction to it.  I think it floored him as much as anyone that this thing has gone viral.

This morning I received an email from Dan, the author of Single Dad, Laughing asking me to please go to his blog today and read its message and please participate.  You can read about it here, but, in a nutshell what he asked was:

First, share with us the biggest struggle, mistake, or trial you’ve ever survived. Share why it was so hard for you. Don’t sugar coat it. Be real. Be as real as you can possibly be about it.

Second, write a short message to the “you then”. If the “you now” could send a message to the “you then”, what would you tell yourself? Somewhere here among us, there is a broken soul; a trampled spirit; a lost individual, trying to survive the very thing you’ve already been through; a beautiful person who desperately wants to receive your message; a beautiful person who desperately needs to receive your message.

Third, tell us what the “Perfection” article has done for you in your life and to your way of thinking. Your perspective on it will hit others in a way that my writing never could.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to participate and then realized that I needed to participate whether or not I wanted to.  What I have written will surely anger some people, including family members, and will probably lose me some readers and for that, I’m sorry.  I feel compelled to write this.  Who knows?  Maybe what I have to say will help someone.  And if it helps just one other person with these struggles in their lives then it’s worth alienating a few in mine.  I don’t mean that in a harsh way.  I’m just saying that it’s time for me to stop hiding and stop trying to please everyone else in my quest for fulfillment, to be liked.  In my quest for acceptance I have put up with a lot of crap that no one should have to put up with, from friends, neighbors, and relatives.  And I realize it’s my fear of rejection that has kept me silent for so long.  I need to share my voice.

I apologize in advance if I hurt anyone’s feelings or shock or embarrass anyone.  This is an adult aimed post and the theme and subject matter are not really suitable for children.  Not that children ever read my blog, I’m just warning you in advance.

I will try to make this as brief as possible but don’t think I will succeed. You know me, I tend to ramble.  Most of you already know that I was raised in a very dysfunctional family.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t or don’t love them, that’s just the facts.  I was always made to feel I wasn’t good enough.  It may not have been intentional, but it was there.  I felt ugly, fat, unloved and unlovable. 

I moved in with an older sister and her young son right out of high school. She was separated from her husband and in my opinion, very unhappy with her life. My belief is that she felt trapped and looking back more objectively now, I see that she was probably jealous of me, not necessarily because I was prettier or better or anything, but, I was FREE and younger and unencumbered.  She had been married since she graduated high school and had a child less than six months later.  I had no real responsibilities to anyone but myself. 

She used the opportunity of my living with her as a built in babysitter (although I’m sure she’d tell you that she took care of me) and constantly told me how fat and ugly I was and how no man would ever love me because of that.  She only reinforced the low self esteem I already had.  She told me that the only guys who would go out with me only did so because they really just wanted to be closer to her but since they couldn’t have her, they would settle for me.  She tried to seduce (and many times succeeded) every guy I dated.  I hated to introduce her to any potential suitor.  I pulled my own weight and paid my part (and sometimes more) of expenses.  But yet I still felt I owed her.  And she constantly reinforced that guilt.

Skip ahead a year and let’s just say you can read my blog post describing the scene here.  This was in response to a writing assignment and the first time I had attempted to put into words what I had been through.

In case you don’t want to read it right now, long story shorter, I was raped by HER friend.  He had “dropped by” to see her, unannounced, but she had a date and left him there with me, “to keep me company”.   I had never met him before he showed up on our doorstep that night.  Her son was home, asleep in the next room, so I couldn’t scream for fear of waking him and although I did try to fight him off, he was a 5th degree black belt in karate and at about 5’5” (and that’s stretching it) and about 130 pounds, I was no match for him physically.  When she got home a little later that night I was hysterical.  I tried to tell her what happened but instead of being the support I thought she was going to be, she instead got mad at ME and accused me of seducing her friend and trying to blame him for me being a slut and her exact words were “Well, I’ll just call him tomorrow and get HIS side of the story.”  

Are you effing kidding me???  What kind of sister does that?  Even if I had ever given her any reason to think I would do something like that, which I hadn’t, why would you not comfort your own sister when she is obviously distressed to the point of hysteria?  Instead of comforting me, she slammed cabinets and stomped around yelling at me.  I was crushed, humiliated, scared shitless and heartbroken that she reacted the way she did.  Needless to say, since I felt my own sister didn’t believe me, I did not call the police and report it.  I was afraid to.  If she didn’t believe me, who would?  I couldn’t chance any further humiliation.

I spent many years afraid, afraid of every man (including my own father and brothers), afraid of my own feelings of anger, afraid of the disgust, degradation and unworthiness I felt about myself.  I lost all respect for myself and did things I was not proud of.  I felt that if no one else cared about me why should I?  I spent many years hating myself.  I lived in fear and shame even though it wasn’t my fault.  But she made me feel like it was.  I had done nothing to deserve it.  But she made me feel like I did.  I started thinking maybe I had done something to bring it on myself.  Maybe I did deserve it.  I started thinking I was a bad person.  I started on a very dangerous path of self destruction.

I buried that fear and disgust and rage in food and promiscuous behavior.  No one could hurt me if I didn’t care, right?  I had no respect for myself or anyone else, only fear.  And I fueled that fear as I fueled the rage.  I used food as a protection and my body as a weapon.  I felt if I was fat, NO ONE would bother me.  Who would want to rape a fat girl?  As long as I was fat I was safe. Besides, you couldn’t rape someone who didn’t care.  My food and my fat were my comfort and protection.  No one should have to go through that.  I know NOW that it was ridiculous to think that way.   I know NOW that rape is NOT a crime of passion but one of anger and control and it has nothing at all to do with how you look or who you are. 

If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would tell the younger me first off, to report it.  Because I didn’t report it at least 6 other young women on that campus were raped (he was a professor – of psychology – at the local college).  I have spent innumerable years saddled with the guilt if I had only come forward, maybe those other young women would not have had to suffer the same way I did.  I would tell her that she WAS loved and even though she was (as she saw herself) “damaged goods” she was lovable and worthy of respect.  I would tell her to seek counseling and try to develop a healthy relationship with food and men and not to use either as a crutch or a weapon.  That abusing anything, food, your body, men, drugs, alcohol or anything else is NOT healthy and is not the answer.

I would tell her she didn’t have to believe the minister who told her that a “real Christian” woman would rather die than allow herself to be raped and that she would be better off dead than to have allowed that to happen so she wasn’t worthy of life.  I would tell her that just because he was a minister did not mean he was right or justified in saying what he said, only God has the right to judge you. 

I would tell her that just because someone is your relative or “friend” does not always mean that they have YOUR best interest at heart and that sometimes you need to follow your heart and NOT worry about whether someone was going to be angry with you because of something THEY did.  It was NOT your fault.  You were totally innocent in the whole situation. 

I would tell her that sometimes other people ARE jealous of you and do lie to you to compensate for their own shortcomings.  They lie to you to make themselves feel better. I would tell her that just because they speak the lies as truth does not make them truth.  Someone telling you that you are fat and ugly does not MAKE you fat and ugly and you don’t need to give in to the hurt and make their words come true.  Not everyone who says they love you is looking out for you.

I would tell her that you need to cast off those toxic people who put you down and realize that you do have worth.  You ARE a good person.  You can overcome this distrust and hurt and anger.  Life will get better and it is worth living.  I would tell her that not all men are like that and there is someone out there worthy of your love and trust.  It doesn’t matter if others get angry with you or even if they decide they want you out of their life because YOU deserve better.  It WILL get better.  And I would tell her that I do love her, now.  That is what I would tell the younger me if I could. 

Lastly, how this post has affected me.  It makes me realize I am NOT alone.  There are many hundreds of thousands of people just like me who struggle with horrible things that have happened to them and the havoc that “thing” has wreaked on their lives.  But, you don’t have to let that havoc ruin your life. I realize that I am lovable and I don’t NEED to be perfect.  I am perfectly IMPERFECT and I am perfectly ME and dang it, in spite of it all, I am happy!  I have a wonderful husband who loves me as I am with all my imperfections.  He shows me every single day that he loves me and respects me and values me.  I have wonderful children and a wonderful home and I have all I need in life. 

I no longer care that I don’t have the perfect body (OK, I CARE, but I am no longer obsessed with it) and people can say what they want about me.  They are entitled to their opinion and it is just that, an opinion.  There are lots of people who DO have perfect bodies who aren’t nearly as happy as I am.  So who CARES if I’m overweight or undertall or underemployed or middle class or graying or wrinkled?  If you don’t like me and can’t accept me for who I am, I don’t need you in my life.  If you’re going to bring toxicity and negativity into my life, I don’t need YOU in my life.  I don’t need anyone’s acceptance.  I only need my own.  And I am finally beginning to realize that.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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39 Responses to Perfectly Imperfect

  1. SuziCate says:

    This is the most incredibly moving and honest post you have ever written. This is something you have needed to get out. I am so sorry you were treated that way. I am so sorry that I was so much younger that I was not able to know or understand what was going on in your life at that time. And I hope that minister is not practicing anymore. It’s sad how people try to degrade others to make themselves feel better. I am so sorry you were hurt in so many ways. I am happy you have a beautiful wonderful life despite all of that. I love you and am proud of you for being able to write about the most hurtful time in your life.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Suzi. You know I will probably catch a LOT of flak from this if certain people read it but it needed to be said. I did need to get it out. I love you too, More than you will ever know. Your being there as a sounding board is one thing I can lean on. Thank YOU.

  2. Peggy, what an amazing tale of survival! You are so strong and I doubt you even recognize that about yourself. You were badly mistreated but you rose up above it. I learned a long time ago, there are people who I’m better off without, including some people in my own family. Any woman who has experienced rape needs to know that the very fact she’s alive to tell about it means she did the right thing. I’m sorry you’ve had such pain and sorrow in your life, but so glad you were able to move ahead and build a lovely life for yourself and your family.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Linda thanks so much for your comment. It brought tears to my eyes. I really needed to hear that. This has been incredibly hard for me to put myself out there. Thanks so much for being there.

      • Sweetie, you have come a long way, but you need to go all the way! You are a beautiful, intelligent, and vibrant woman. See yourself for what you really are. And if anyone sees you another way, get them off your radar. The bad old days are history now.

      • pegbur7 says:

        Thank you for your encouragement and for the kick in the butt. I need that every once in a while!

  3. Ron says:

    Ok, first, I want to say BRAVA for having the courage to share this experience because I know it wasn’t easy. And you shared in such a way that was direct, honest, and intelligent.

    ((( Peg )))

    Just know that by sharing this, you will be helping those who may have also experienced something similar.

    “I would tell her she didn’t have to believe the minister who told her that a “real Christian” woman would rather die than allow herself to be raped and that she would be better off dead than to have allowed that to happen so she wasn’t worthy of life.”

    I can’t even say what I feel about that, other than it’s so sad and makes me angry.

    Being someone who is in the beauty industry myself, I see the pressure this industry places on people (especially women). It’s unrealistic. So, I always advise customers to first see and appreciate the beauty they already have, and then use makeup, clothes, etc. to enhance it, not CHANGE it.

    “I realize that I am lovable and I don’t NEED to be perfect. I am perfectly IMPERFECT and I am perfectly ME and dang it, in spite of it all, I am happy!”

    You said it, my dear friend!

    You’re perfectly YOU!

    Thank you so much for sharing this post today. I applaude you!


    • pegbur7 says:

      Thank you Ron! Having friends like you tell me that I did the right thing in sharing this means so much. I can’t say that I’m “over” this or ever will be but I have chosen to try to rise above it no matter how much it damaged me. I’m not sure which was actually more damaging… the actual occurence or the reaction from tne one person at the time that I thought would understand and help but instead rejected and vilified me. But that too is in the past and I can no longer allow them to control me or make me feel bad about my self. Thanks for the hug. I really needed that this morning. Right back at you buddy!

  4. Peg, betrayal is devastating especially from a family member. Your sister is clearly the one with the issues. And I hope the scumbag that stole something so precious from you is behind bars where he belongs. Time does not heal the wounds but we learn to accept them and move on…I’m so glad you found the man of your dreams. You took a huge step to trust in love. You deserve the best!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Kathryn. It has been hard even though it was over 30 years ago, it seems like yesterday sometimes. The sounds, smells, etc. are burned into my brain forever.

  5. Spot says:

    Oh Peg. What a beautiful heartfelt post. While the subject is ugly and the truth brutal, it’s amazing that you were able to put it out there and be so honest about what happened to you. I am certain that it will help someone else.

    I’m more sorry than words can convey that you had to live through something like this. But look how far you’ve come. Triumphing over the experience and forging a life of love and hope is so inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing your “whole” self with us. I hope it contributes to the peace you seem to have found.


    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Stacey. It helps to be able to finally “talk” about it and put it into words and have people maybe understand a little more of why I am the way I am. Does that make sense? I appreciate your kind words and thoughts. It means a lot.

  6. Jenny says:

    Oh Peg., I am so sorry for what you have been through…I admire you so much for having the courage to try and let go. I have always thought of you as a beautiful person with a kind heart. As you know, I have struggled with weight too, mostly out of guilt of disappointing my parents (dad being a minister) by getting pregnant and marrying a man that was physically and mentally abusive to me after he begged me not to. God was watching over the both of us and sent us two wonderful men(who happened to live and grow up together) who love us and show us daily.
    Must be something to those Grovetown men! I so much appreciate you and Dwight coming down when my mom passed away…thank you!

  7. terrepruitt says:

    Whew! Left me breathless. I was choking up at your painful story, then stunned—just stunned at that “minister’s” comments to you. That really is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. I cannot believe that.

    I am so amazed by you. I feel that being raped has got to be one of the worst things in the world. Then on top of that you were the one that was blamed for it. I just . . . I can’t imagine. You have to be one helluv strong cookie! I would imagine that you never get “over” something like that which even PROVES what a tough cookie you are because you still have to live with all of that “stuff” everyday. And for me, I know that it would still hurt. Even though you have moved on and you have a wonderful life and you are happy . . . the people in your life were very hurtful.

    I raise my hands, my heart, my head, my voice, my smile, my words, my thoughts, and my admiration for you and to you for being so strong to 1) have moved on from this and created such a great life for yourself and your family and for 2) writing about it. Damn! That had to be so tough.

    YAY YOU! You ARE a square peg in a round hole, unique and special beyond words!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Terre, thanks so much for your kind words. You have no idea how TERRIFIED I was to write this. I had all kinds of imaginary thoughts going through my head on how people were going to react. I was expecting massive negative comments and am amazed and relieved that hasn’t happened…yet. I know if certain people read this, there will be dire repercussions. Trust me, I don’t belong on a pedestal. All I can do sometimes is keep putting one foot in front of the other. They say you’re supposed to forgive and forget but I haven’t been able to move on THAT much. I’m trying, but, truth be told, I don’t think I could ever forgive him for what he took from me.

      • terrepruitt says:

        Yeah, from what you have said, some of your posts get you “in trouble” so this one will be no different. But I kind of think that those are the same people that didn’t support you in the first place.

        I know that we are supposed to forgive and forget but I haven’t managed that often, and I know I wouldn’t be able to in this case. It is just great that you are not eaten up by it and you aren’t a negative mean person . . . . so for the most part, I think that you did a great job forgiving and forgetting to the best of your ability. To the end that it allows you to move on. But you know the one person that needs the forgiveness the most is you.

        I understand what you say you wish you could tell her (that young girl), but I also understand that times were WAY different back then, so even if you could go back and tell her she should go to the police . . . it was different back then. I feel that you can’t be too upset with yourself for not having gone to the police and all that. I understand, but I hope you can forgive YOU! (I don’t care about that jerk, but I care about you!) HUGS!

      • pegbur7 says:

        Thanks so much. I appreciate your support.

  8. that girl says:

    omg. omg. omg. i have nothing but respect for you for sharing this with us. you are strong. i have nothing else to say other than to send you a hug. 🙂

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thank you so much. I’m just hoping maybe some other young girl out there who feels as worthless and horrible as I did can realize that you can move on even if you can’t forget.

  9. K Odell says:

    wow- I applaud you for getting that out evn if you fear reprecussions. I can’t imagine being betrayed by everyone- men, your sister, a minister- at one time. I hope this post helps continue the healing.

  10. Carol says:

    Oh! That makes me so angry! “No good Christian woman would allow. . . ” Wait! Who the heck allows herself to be raped. Isn’t that a lot like saying “well, she asked for it”. People like that. . . I won’t go there.

    Peg, you are an incredibly brave, strong woman. Stories like yours are so easy to hide, to suffer with silently, and so difficult to share with the world. The horror of what you experienced will probably never go away completely, but acknowledging it has to help some. Having secrets adds the fear that those secrets will be discovered. No secrets, one less fear. Bravo!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thank you Carol. Yes, I did suffer silently for years. I think that’s just one more reason I love my husband so much. He was (and is) so incredibly understanding and loving despite what I considered “my flaws: and my insane baggage. He is a wonderful man. I’m just sorry it took me years to find him.

  11. Sharon Saunders Niccum says:

    I looked at your family pictures when Susan posted them after your parent’s anniversary.
    I kept looking at you, over and over, trying to remember a young Peggy. I want to tell you, you are truly beautiful! Your smile, your hair, your skin is radiant.
    Be proud of yourself, that you were able to rise above all the conflict.
    Pictures did not show everyone smiling. Your smile and Susan’s outshine them all. Take care!

    • pegbur7 says:

      Sharon, thank you so much for your kind words. I think I have some of me when I was younger in my family photo album on facebook. I always thought I looked like my Daddy because Hallie Beasley (remember her?) used to call us Pete and Repeat ever time we’d go in the store. As I’ve gotten older I think I look more like my mom now. I appreciate your kind words and I was just so happy for us all to be there together I couldn’t stop smiling! Despite everything, I love my family very much. Thank you for commenting.

  12. Jimmy says:

    Peg, First off I want to say how bad I feel that you were put into that situation and taken advantage of, I agree you should have had the support of your sister rather than the hate she showed you, it’s a crying shame that you had to go through this.

    As a Friend I’d like to get my hands on the Professor and also the minister who treated you like dirt, this man is as guilty as the man who raped you in my opinion.

    I respect you 100% Peg simply for the way you have always treated me and in my heart I know you are a good person, I am proud that you overcame this time in your life and continue to deal with it to keep it from taking you down, you have a Loving Family I know this because of the way you speak of them.

    The way you ended your post says it all, you are perfect in my opinion and you don’t need anyone who is going to give you grief or expect you to be anything other than yourself, if you lose followers, friends, or readers due to this then they were never there in the first place, I for one am proud to call you a friend.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Jimmy, you are such a good friend. Thank you so much for your kind words. I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to this as I truly thought I’d get a lot of flak. Of course it’s not over yet but I’m still gonna hold my head high. Thanks for helping me be able to do that.

  13. eri says:

    this is a little late but my internet has been acting up so i just read this post. first off, you are the most incredible, beautiful, and loving woman i have ever met and i am so lucky to call you my mother. i am happy to say i have never felt this way because you raised the 3 of us to support and love eachother no matter what and you should damn well be proud of that! you are so brave for writing this and i hope you look at everything now and are proud of yourself for everything you have accomplished despite your hardships! i love you so much mama and i am so grateful for having such a caring mother as you!

  14. NikNik says:

    I too am so proud of you for getting this difficult memory out! You are a shining example of what a mother, daughter, wife, sister, and friend should be! I can only hope that one day I can be half the mother you are to me! I love you so very much!

  15. Megan says:

    Peg, I think you are much braver than I in writing this story, and you are clearly very strong to survive so much with such knowledge of your self-worth. I know it wasn’t easily won. My post really was a release for me. All that shame is just gone. I hope your post has done the same for you. Dandelion seeds – that’s all this stuff is now, right? Bad memories blowing away on the wind.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Trust me, there was a lot of shame involved with this as well. After my sister not believing me, I felt like maybe it WAS my fault and felt much shame of my behavior AFTER the fact. I’m not brave… I just got tired of being a slave to it and Danoah’s post just coincided with me finally being able to release it. Thanks for the dandelion analogy. I will use that. I think it’s a wonderful way to look at it. I’m still a work in progress, I do thank you for reading mine though. Be sure to read his original post of the Disease Called Perfection. It really hit a nerve with me. Thanks for responding.

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