There’s no denying that Carnival forms part of our culture. The national festival stirs up a myriad of emotions and thoughts. Requesting anonymity, a reader shares her feelings believing there are others like her. The article has been edited for length and clarity.
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SCARED. Amidst all the revelry of the Carnival Season, that is how I would describe one of my most pervasive feelings at this time.Scared of what? Scared of the feelings of deep hurt, sadness, disappointment, rejection and humiliation I feel when my husband gazes lustfully upon another woman.
Even though the glance may be fleeting—two maybe three seconds—to me it is in slow motion and feels like 100 years, his face recorded like a movie in my mind, ready to be replayed at my most vulnerable moment.
I do not feel beautiful. I feel not good enough. My self-esteem plummets. Thoughts that her body is somehow better and more attractive than mine fill my mind and I feel unbeautiful.
But I keep my hurt quiet, afraid that I would be perceived as insecure or oversensitive and afraid that if I make my heart vulnerable and my hurt known, my feelings would be brushed aside and that would double the feeling of hurt and pain. I feel like what I have is not good enough and I bow my head in shame.
I feel scared too, that in order to regain my self-esteem, to feel better, to get the affirmation I so desperately want and need, I may be tempted to dress immodestly, act or glance at other men suggestively.
If they glance back, then it means that I am of value. I prove him wrong. See, I AM beautiful. But who are these men? Another wife’s husband? A child’s father? A son of God? My brother?
Later, when we come together, the experience is a very passionate one but when the pulse returns to resting beat, how come I feel so empty inside? How come I feel so insecure? How come our coming together which is supposed to be sacred and heavenly has instead brought more shakiness and pain? More emotional fragility?
Because I have allowed myself to be lusted after by the very man who stood on the altar and swore to protect my purity. I have allowed him and even encouraged him to use my body as an object for his (and my) physical and emotional gratification, ignoring the fact that lust exists even in marriage.
This can never be of God. This dark, empty and shaky feeling can never be what God intended. I cry and cry; the hurt is great. But I offer my tears along with my hurt, disappointment, sadness and feelings of rejection and humiliation up to Him on the cross so that they can die and be resurrected with Him.
I believe that the charitable thing for me to do for myself, for my husband and for the man I may consciously/unconsciously seduce is to stay away. I am weak. Maybe one day when I have become strong through Christ, I may be able to partake. But for now, I apply, is it prudence?