Beautiful Ugly

This is the most personal post I have written. It may sound sappy to some. I hope not, because I am putting myself out there right now. I’m hoping somebody will connect.

Beautiful isn’t pretty.

I don’t usually share this part of my life with anyone, well, ever. It is about addiction. This time I will because it is the only way I know how to share what followed. It took a long time and it is only by chance (or was it?) that I was given a glimpse of such beautiful ugly. I hope it will be for someone out there.

It was a long road for me. Many years battling serious addiction. Cocaine, Pills, Heroin, anything really, but those were my drugs of choice. I am not sure why I am still alive, my present existence is an unlikely outcome. I have been homeless, I have ruined careers, lost possessions, and many other great possibilities were sacrificed for the lifestyle I became caught up in. It seemed like an impossible cycle. I was very low for a long time. I don’t remember a time when my reality was bearable enough to not desperately seek any sort of self medication I could find. The substances described above were those that I settled into after many years of trying anything to soften my waking life. I hear there is a correlation between bipolar and addiction. In case anyone is wondering, I was diagnosed Bipolar before my life of drugs. I’m sure the drugs worsened my condition, but they didn’t cause it. Needless to say my self-image was not in line with what those who loved me saw. Don’t get me wrong, I appeared to be functioning well. I achieved multiple degrees in university, awards, started careers, but I was a master at hiding it. The internal agony on the other hand was like being given a day pass from hell to carry out the image of a normal life, knowing that I didn’t live here and I was still always a citizen of hell.

When things were almost at their worst, I had spent everything on heroin and cocaine. While my fiancé worked away, I spent. When he came back and reality set in that there was no money, it was one of the worse days of my life. I thought, “We’ve been through hell and back together, but this is the limit, and I cruised past that line with the top down, leaving nothing but a trail of dust.” As he stood there, left with nothing but a tumbleweed bouncing in my tailwind, he found the strength, and had the vision and optimism to forgive me, once I admitted what I had done. He didn’t hold it against me and continued to discuss what we were going to do and how we would deal with it. I had a new appreciation and confidence in the depth of his love for me, which he always expressed, but I couldn’t truly absorb. This is another one of the situations that we survived as a couple, but it gets worse. There was a new bottom to come.

Now I see. I first see the ugly, but now I am not fooled. The ugly, the illusion, is not the person, it is the manifestation of their pain.


My world started crumbling down. Partly because of the drugs, the illness, and many months of extreme stress. Each making the other worse. At my worst I was using heavily every day, doing enough heroin and cocaine to kill a horse. I always mixed heroin, cocaine, benzos, not to mention all my psychotropic medication. My fiancé told me that he thought I wasn’t going to wake up. He could never sleep because he kept getting up to make sure I was still breathing. My breathing would get so shallow from the heroin especially with the benzos. I never knew he did this. He said that he thought he would have to leave so many times, even though it would devastate him. He calls me his heart. His life. And he means it.

Things had become almost 100% better, thanks to quality medical and psychological care, including drug counselling and addiction professionals. However, one thing that I still hadn’t learned was how to love myself. I still didn’t have the tools to put that into action. I understood the concept, but was missing an essential component. I wasn’t sure what that was until recently, and that is the reason for this lengthy sharing. It is almost easy to lose sight of the depth of meaning when describing the beauty and wonder of life. It isn’t that anybody doesn’t believe it, or mean it, it is just easy to forget the unfathomable wonder and beauty that is being described. I thought I got it, and I did on a certain level. I even agreed. What I didn’t realize, though, was that beauty does not mean pretty. In fact, I have come to see that the true beauty in life is not pretty. Let me explain.

Something happened recently that allowed me the honor of a glimpse of life’s elusive beauty. Perhaps it is not elusive, just really hard to see clearly through our personal shit storms.

Just to fill you in, my fiancé calls me his heart, baby bird, squirrely bird, his life, tons of sappy pet names. (Don’t gag – it’s just so you will get the significance of something coming.)

 He and I were shopping a few days ago. Nothing special, just an average day, then a song came on. I had heard it before and liked it, but I didn’t personalize it. I had only heard it a couple of times. Then my partner walked up to me and said, “This is the song that I would always sing in my head when I thought of you when you were really bad.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. He answered…

“When I thought you were going to die, or that I was going to have to leave you to save you. I would never sleep, I checked your breathing every couple of hours I was so scared that you weren’t going to wake up. I really thought you were going to die. I would see you nodding off and losing consciousness while watching TV, or at the computer. I was getting ready to lose you. This is the song that played constantly in my head, and when I hear it now I remember that time and how lucky we are to still have each other. I would have died without my heart. You are my life, my heart, I love you more than you will ever know. How could I live without my Baby Bird? I felt so sad for you, a sadness I have never felt before.”


The Song



I almost cried in the store thinking about what he was going through during that time. I had no idea. I was seeing things through my eyes. Never truly knowing how to feel loved by myself or anybody else. I was so lonely.

I lived what he was talking about, I was there, but as myself. Even though it wasn’t his intention, he gave me the rare gift of really seeing myself through the eyes of someone who truly, selflessly, loves and adores me. I haven’t thought about myself the same way since. I felt sadness for myself in a way that you can only feel out of love for someone. It is no news to anyone that knows me that I have never held myself in high esteem. Trying to understand how to love myself was entirely lost on me. I didn’t know how.  His telling me about what that song meant to him showed me beauty. Beauty exists in love, and pain, true and selfless pain, exists only in love. My eyes opened to one of life’s moments of true beauty, and it was too beautiful to be pretty.

Soon things started to change before my eyes.


My rare glimpse of beauty began to show me not only myself through the eyes of love, but I saw others through eyes of love in a way I never have. Could this be what it means to not be able to love others until you love yourself? I was shown the beauty that existed out of my ugly. Beauty that could have only come into existence because of my ugly. I consider this one of the defining moments in my life’s journey. Now, where I would have only ever seen ugly. The ugly of the person I only knew how to hate and blame. The ugly that I took personally, resented, hated, cursed, and worst of all, the ugly for which I had no ability to see with sympathy, empathy or love. Now I see. I first see the ugly, but now I am not fooled. The ugly, the illusion, is not the person, it is the manifestation of their pain. To see through the ugly, to the pain is where lies the window to the true person, to true beauty.

The rarest, most breathtaking beauty is that which is seen through the ugly. When you are loved at your worst. When you hate yourself. When someone loves unconditionally, never losing sight of your beauty. To experience that dimension and depth of love, and to be given a glimpse of yourself through the eyes of someone who sees only your beauty, when it is almost impossible to see anything but the ugly, is a gift. Those loving eyes cannot see the ugly as being a part of you, of who you are. Love sees through the ugly, understands it is the disguise of pain, and sees through to the true beauty behind. It is a special love to see that authentic, beautiful ugly. The long-suffering and devotion of one who loves another through those open eyes, comes from the inability to give up hope that the one they love will one day get a glimpse of themselves through open eyes. To see their beautiful self the way they have always looked to the one who loves them unconditionally.

I will never forget the first time I got a glimpse of myself through such loving eyes. I don’t think it is something you can give yourself, I think it has to be given. Stay aware lest the moment pass before your eyes, because if you are given a glimpse, life stops and you get lost in a beautiful moment of the infinite now.

25 thoughts on “Beautiful Ugly

  1. Amazed for the second time today how people open themselves up and pour out everything. I was so touched by your words and story. Sometimes it takes other individuals perspectives to help you identify some of your own. A lot of the same issues. Then started reading…and this post was wonderful to read. I don’t think I could ever have the courage. Stay true to yourself…and keep fighting. TC

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for opening yourself up. This is absolutely amazing and I relate in so many ways. Your story is the story of so many like us. We all have a version of this story, well some of us still need to learn to love ourselves, but this is inspirational to anyone person that is on the rollercoaster and cannot see anyway out. Thank you for your honesty!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It was unexpectedly healing to actually state what I lived. It made it more real. I hope that any part of what I have shared will be that thing that someone just needs to hear. I have found that it has been the more difficult-to-talk-about personal stories others have shared that have always been the ones that have helped me to feel less alone and see hope.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This was so beautiful. You worded this so well, it’s exactly how I feel at times. I’m so glad you have someone that loves your “beautiful ugly”, I do too and I just recently realized it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you 🙂 I’m happy that you are able to appreciate it. Thank you for stopping by here. There is a pretty great, supportive community here. Stay in touch!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I too love that song and all it means for our loved ones. I have two similar song moments that I will share when I have more time, from my husband and my baby girl, but know that it is all worth it in the end. I have two years of consistent health behind me and a marriage of 21 years still intact, battered, tattered, and stronger for surviving the storm. You are so very brave. And respected for your sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 It was a tough one to write. but I feel a little lighter for having shared. Music is so powerful. I look forward to hearing about what your songs mean for you. We are blessed to have people in our lives who have such genuine love for us. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I was quite nervous about posting so it has meant a lot to me to get so many positive comments. Thank you 🙂


  4. I began reading your story and very quickly was nodding my head to some of the things that you were writing. Your story put a lump in my throat the needless burn of being on verge of crying, tears stuck silently behind my eyes waiting to spill. You perfectly expressed your situation and I actually feel honored to have been given the privilege of reading it, learning from it.

    That song always brings a lump in my throat because my biggest fear is that my husband is going to give up on me because of my mental illness. But he has always been my strong force, my anchor. Grounding me in the moment, making me see, understand and showing me unconditional love.

    Sometimes the unconventional love stories are the best love stores.

    Thank you for sharing. Gonna go check out the rest of your blog now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. Thank you for incredibly thoughtful words. Your feedback means so much to me that it took me 2 days to figure out how to express how genuinely touched I am. For me to hear that at least someone out there has faced similar issues. It means so much because that was the most difficult post I have ever written. I haven’t shared anything even close to as much of that part of my life with anyone. Not even my family or closest friends know about that side of me. I am so grateful to has access to amazing doctors who have worked together to help me heal. I’m not actually sure what made me post it. I wasn’t planning to, I was just suddenly overwhelmed with emotion when I heard that song and thought back to the day he told me how bad I really was. I didn’t see it. Oh, and bless your partner for his selflessness in loving you.. We are lucky to have found such gems, I think 🙂

      Thank you again, and of course, I am always hear to lend and ear. 🙂 Any time, really.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I am glad that you were able to post it. Sometimes when posting its difficult to find the words to express what needs to be said, or sometimes it is just something so heart wrenching that we are unsure of weather or not to post it. I keep telling myself that if my words touch just one person and help them in any way then it was worth taking the time for me to write it.

        Looking forward to reading more of your blog.


  5. Sharing this story has to be an incredible weight off the shoulders. No sappy feeling from these lines at all. Ultimately, it brings me a smile to my face knowing more clearly that you have gained self-worth and self-love, and that you have someone so fond who demonstrates these to you. What’s bittersweet for me is the mere mention of “Say Something”. It’s such a gorgeous song, sung brilliantly and has a touching video component. It is, however, a sad tune for me because it’s an emotional reminder of an old boyfriend who adored the song as well. He has bipolar disorder and has been estranged from me for several months while coping through, presumably, in a major depressed state. His absence has taken quite a toll on my heart but constantly he thrives within me and I feel there is hope at the end of his harrowing tunnel. How I wish to go back in time to when he posted the video and shared his general, favorable impressions on the song. He and I were happy then, He was managing symptoms well, at least had a good hold of them. I felt on cloud 9 being with him. Back then, I hadn’t personalized that song, didn’t relate to crying out for my listless partner to “say something” , didn’t see myself like the woman in the video walking away in distress from her sad bedfellow. Oh back then , the good ol’ days…

    Thanks for sharing Amy. You’ve been a help for me in attempt to comprehend my boyfriend’s ordeal. I just hope that he’ll make a breakthrough to my side , perhaps one similar to yours- though I know it won’t be easy….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know this will not fix anything, but because it is not easy is precisely the reason for the beauty of your depth of love and hope for him. The depression is absolute darkness. It is a scary, lonely place where you stumble hopelessly through midnight fog, desperately seeking any sliver of light. Just a peak of light would give direction and hope in an otherwise hopeless, eternal darkness. I am so happy that you can appreciate the blessing it is to be able to genuinely love and care for a person despite their seemingly endless separation. Depression feels hopeless, but that does not mean there isn’t any hope. People survive on hope, they stay alive through deplorable experiences simply because they hold desperately to hope. Hope is not a sentiment, a cliché, With hope you can move mountains. I am happy that you took the time to visit me and leave such a beautiful comment. Thank you, really. I know that through love and hope he will find his way through the fog. It takes time, and heart-wrenching patience for loved ones, but he will find his way. I am so happy my post helped in any way to give hope. Stay well, and I am always here to lend and ear. 🙂


  6. Beautiful story. I must admit this struck a nerve in me. This story brings tears to my eyes because the way you describe your fiance reminds me of my own. I struggle to give myself fully to any relationship. He sees me struggle with with this, with myself. He told me recently that he’s never seen such a good person be their own worst enemy and despite this he has stuck by me through everything. Our relationship has been tested many times….by all means he should have left me by now but he insists on seeing the good. The real me. You’re right, that is truly a beautiful thing when someone can see through the ugly. I’m happy to hear you’re still fighting the good fight. You deserve happiness and you deserve to be loved. Thank you for opening up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so happy that it resonated with someone. It is so difficult to not feel completely alone. Even with such amazing support like we both are so blessed to have, it almost feels like, when am I going to have pushed him too far? I am beginning to believe that I am loved unconditionally and it sounds like you are as well. Stay strong and I am always hear to lend an ear 🙂 Thank you for commenting, it makes it worth having shared something so private. I’m not the most open person! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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