You. You. But not you. You don’t deserve any love.


I learned how to pronounce “corrugated” two days ago. A lot of people think that learning stops after you leave school, but just look at me, constantly improving and smartering myself. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to say it again, but not that many people want to talk about cardboard or metal.

The more I learn, both about myself and my surroundings, the more I start to question everything I already know- beliefs I’ve accumulated through personal experiences or because I just assumed they were the truth.

We went to church on Sunday, mostly because Cal had been asking to go for weeks and I finally relented out of guilt. I’ve been trying to incorporate more of what she wants to do into our plans. For a while, the simple task of driving Cal somewhere was overwhelming. It must be difficult and shitty to be a 14-year-old with a myriad of interests and a parent who says “no.” I feel so much anxiety about leaving the safety of my house sometimes, but I’ve worked out a pretty solid system to keep my fears in check. I allow myself to act like a little bitch until 3:15 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and then I just have to get my shit straight and be a functional human being until Cal goes to bed. My desire to be the kind of mom Cal deserves trumps my issues.

During service, I started thinking about the lessons I learned as a kid during Sunday School. My biggest takeaway was that Christians really like felt boards and activities that involve cotton balls. From the very first Sunday, I also learned that God is merciful and that Jesus loves without exclusion.

I want to talk about Jesus loving everybody. I don’t want Jesus to love everybody.

I almost never share this thought with anyone because I think it’s really telling about my true character. There’s just no way to say that I want him and him and her to suffer and suffer deeply without sounding small. Maybe that’s why I never grew any taller. Hate is heavy, and it pushes you down.

I believe that some people are defective and malicious and broken beyond repair. When I think about these people receiving God’s love and mercy, it makes me question my faith. It makes me angry to know that the worst AND the best of the bunch still receive goodness and grace, and the wayward often get more compassion. When I am confronted with a person who has caused me immense pain and an opportunity to be forgiving, I choose the other end of the spectrum.

I once told someone (a man that I was dating) that I thought he should kill himself. It is, by far, the most heinous thing I have ever said, not just because the sentiment itself was cruel and evil, but because I really, really meant it.

I hated him because I felt like he took everything away from me, and I hated myself because I let him. He wanted to be #1 in my life, first and best in every category. He resented the love I had for my daughter and the time I spent with anyone else.

By the time I said that fucked-up thing to him, I realized that he had carefully executed a plan to cut off everyone in my life. Because he was violent and because he would not “let” me leave, I sent Cal away for more than a year because it was the only way I knew to protect her.

I tried to keep the most shameful and volatile moments as late-night affairs because Cal would be sleeping then, and she wouldn’t have to witness her mother doing degrading things, like getting on her knees and begging for forgiveness for an offense she wasn’t even sure she had committed.

But Cal overheard us. I know this because recently, out of the blue, she turned to me and said, “Do you remember when he said that you were stupid and you cried? I don’t think you’re stupid.”

I want to turn away from my faith during these moments. I don’t want to be loved by the same God that loves that man. Coupled with that hard-to-stomach truth is the knowledge that the dude is still alive. Let this be a lesson that no one gets everything they want in life.

It gives me pause to think about him reading this one day. But I’m not sure if prisons have internet access or if he knows how to spell “flourish.” Not only do I know how to spell “flourish,” I can also correctly pronounce “corrugated,” so it’s pretty obvious that we’re unmatched. Checkmate, bitch.

Maybe God sent Harv soon after this man to show that for every badness, the goodness that exists is so overwhelmingly bright. Light always overpowers darkness. Always.

P.S. Mommyonthespot, you are the winner of last week’s giveaway. Please holler at me (flourishinprogress at gmail) with your mailing address.

P.P.S. Pics from our Fam Jam over the weekend on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress):

famjamdvfI love you first. I love you best.

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  • BleepBleeper

    I love this so much. You expressed my own dichotomy of not wanting to wish evil on anyone in this world, but knowing that there are some people that are just. fucked. up. and just hating their guts.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It’s hard to balance love and hate. They should sort of cancel each other out, but one always prevails on any given day. I just hope to have more love days than hate days.

  • Melissa Burton

    Even when you write about hate, you do it so beautifully.

    I’m so sorry that this person was so awful to you but wow, have you flourished. For a tiny looking person, you are one fierce bitch!

    Your strength is awe inspiring.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Can’t believe you texted me right when i was reading this again this morning. We’re, like, connected or some shit.

      I get called bitch a lot but I most prefer a positive adjective in front. Thank you. Fierce bitch is extremely flattering.

  • anonymousUS

    Some toxic people I have compassion for – as long as I am able to see their fear/insecurity/confusion AND protect myself from their hostile behavior. But if forced to interact with them regularly, they kill off that compassion.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This exactly.

      So hard not to get pulled down into the vortex that toxic people create. Those assholes.

      • Trasherati

        I’ve taught my boys, and proclaim it all the time, that there’s only one Golden Rule: Don’t be an asshole.
        If you apply that in any situation, you usually come out ahead. Conversely, if you’re focused on that rule, you can spot those who aren’t following it and avoid them or hit them in the back of their legs with your shopping cart and act like it was an accident.

        Or see them land in prison while you go get your hardcore flourish on…

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          That shopping cart thing usually makes me feel happy and glow-y and shit for days. Doesn’t take much to bring joy into my life.

  • Hers, His and Ours

    I totally relate to trying to make sense of a God that loves everyone. I constantly wonder why my Aunt is still on this earth inflicting emotional harm to anyone who crosses her path and yet my brother who was an amazing soul was taken at a young age. Ultimately I come back to the thought that if you didn’t have horrible people in this world you wouldn’t know how to appreciate when the good ones come along. The best revenge for that guy is you having a life with Harv and Cal that is the complete opposite of the one you shared with him. He knew back then that you were way too good for him so he had to put you down to keep you for that time period.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I have repeatedly been told “the good die young” and I guess I should take some kind of strange comfort in that, but the whole things seems kind of fucked up to me.

      But, so true….it’s hard to know just how good the good really is until you have such a stark contrast. But now that I know what bad looks like, I really wish more examples wouldn’t pop up.

  • Steph@DontChewGlass

    I feel very guilty about my issues regarding my physical and mental health and how my anxiety affects my kids. I hate it. Sometimes I think they would be better off without me, but then I tell myself that NO ONE could ever love them as much as I do, and that has to count for something.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Fusheezy, yo.

      I have that same thought during a lot of my dark moments- that by exposing my kid to my issues, it will somehow damage her and so it must be so much better not to have me around. Then I think “Who the fuck with teach her about Pac” and I snap out of it.

  • theblahblahblahger

    This is one of the best damn things I’ve ever read…maybe because I shamefully relate despite the way I proudly proclaim my faith. Thank you for laying it all out on the line…love you, friend!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Luh yuh, boo.

      One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned is not to expect people of strong faith to be “perfect” with “perfect thoughts.” I mean, sheesh, the pressure for any person. People of strong faith show me what the rewards of living a life where He is the boss and not me look like. Cuz we all know I can’t be trusted to make decisions for myself.

  • Amy @ ToothbrushTravels

    You are such a babe, and a testament to the fact that light overpowers darkness.
    I’m not religious but i can appreciate peoples need for faith, but just think of it like this. Whilst you cannot control who others love, you do get to choose who is worthy of your love xx

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Damn, This shit right here was profound.

      Thank you.

      What a fantastic reminder that toxic people don’t have to control us.

      • Trasherati

        And your love, freely given, is very valuable. You are a great gift. Seriously teared up on this one, because you are an awesome person and mother and partner. And a great friend to all of us who follow your blog.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Thank you for this. I really needed that today because I felt like none of those things. xo

  • Lissylou74

    The shame and guilt is overwhelming. Especially when you have a partner that loves you more than you could ever love anything, ever, and they just want you to have faith, but you can’t, not in the way they want, so you feel small and even more undeserving of their love. Like a love thief.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This is one of the things I’ve been working on in therapy- not feeling like a love thief and not feeling guilty over not “deserving” a good person’s love.

      Maybe they see something in us that we don’t yet. <3

  • Amy at Funny is Family

    God has a heavy task, loving fuckwads like your abuser. I’m glad that’s his job, because it’s too much for me. I love the way you express the pure and focused love you have for Cal. You, m’lady, are a great mom.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Homegirl, that is TRULY the best compliment. Thank you. I may have fucked up a lot of things, but I would like to fuck up less than average on this parenting journey. Cuz Cal deserves it.

  • Ronalee Duncan

    Sometimes I feel like you are my therapist. That’s all I can say, because if I went into detail I would end up rambling like a fool.
    ps I adore that pic from Fam Jam

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      So such thing as rambling when you are sharing your truths and your experiences. I’m down to hear you whenever you want. Thank you for saying such a kind thing.

  • Elee

    I like to think that God uses people like you to show the world that he’s going to use who he wants to use to make a difference in this world. I don’t think “hate” when I see you. Hate doesn’t flourish anything. You have flourished so much in your journey so far. Only something as beautiful as love could take responsibility for that. I think, in your life, Love has won all around. (Romans 5:3-5)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I have been thinking about you and your family’s journey. You, as a mother and a woman, are a true example of what it means to love and flourish.

  • Jennifer Clark

    My dearest girl. I hate that you have had these experiences. I’m glad you have your daughter. She is a wise soul.

    Wish I could be there to give you a hug.


    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I would like to collect on this hug at the end of May. xoxo

      • Jennifer Clark

        We will make it happen. It may be just a quick stop for coffee, but it’ll happen!

  • Brittany Olson

    E, thank you for sharing this. It was a great read. Especially a out pulling it together on the weekends. My weekends are my time to hide :-)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I only recently learned that I’m an introvert which totally shocked the shit out of me because I always thought I got the greatest boost by being around people but now I understand that it’s not for me and hiding does wonders for my soul. As long as I do it between designated hours. =)

  • alexandra

    Made me cry, as I remember the asshole I had in my life when I was in college. The one who punched me in the stomach. such assholes, why do they exist… I’m so sorry you have this in your life story, too, but you are right. there is so much good, and an abundance of it. I have been happy, loved, cared for, and respected, for the last 20 years of my life. I wish the same for you…. xo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Totally not recommending that you look up how this asshole is doing currently, but I have a feeling that in these last 20 years, your life has blossomed and filled with all kinds of goodness and love. And his….well, I think “Checkmate, bitch” would also be applicable to your situation.

  • Josh D

    Oh gurl, these are the posts I love best. Because they’re real and show the true you.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Sup boo! Oh, you just reminded me to email you. I’ve been meaning to ask if you got my package. xoxo

  • Ribena Tina @ ribenamusings

    Like you I had someone who was truly awful to me and his daughter, who still remembers what it was like. Despite being able to hide the worst from her I couldn’t shield her from the mental abuse. I am ashamed to say that when he died I was relieved despite my daughters pain, knowing that he couldn’t continue to hurt her over and over anymore.
    Like you I am stronger; no longer will I put up with that behavioiur which is why I no longer talk to my sister. One beating was enough, the second unforgiveable. She needs help, she is not stable yet I worry I am a bad person because I cannot bring myself to forgive her.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is to give myself permission not to have certain family members in my life because they were no good for my mind and body and heart. I think we are expected to forgive and forget because they’re family, but, um, fuck that.

  • Britt Reints

    I think I appreciate the loving all the people part because I have had that much loathing towards myself before.

    BUT, that’s not what I really want to say.

    What i really want to say is that you told me once that I seemed brave, or fearless. This? This post was so very, very brave to publish. xo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Wow. So interesting you bring that up. I actually had a paragraph in this post about my feelings toward Jesus loving me bc I don’t think I deserve it either…but I decided to take it out. There was already too much self-loathing in there. Also, I chickened out. Maybe I’m not so brave. But…Thank you. xx

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  • Misty

    It saddens me that you had to experience something like that. While I’m sure it made you incredibly strong to have to weather that storm, I wish it would have passed you by unscathed. I believe there are evil people in this world and that there are good. Not that it is black and white, but there are definitely much brighter and darker shades of gray within people. You, Harv and Cal are a very bright gray. That jerkoff is the darkest of grays. He is not even worth another moment of your thoughts. You found your happy and good.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ooo…I bet you have seen some really, really dark grays in your day-to-day. I think they should all be rounded up and forced to live together. I think the situation would take care of itself.

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  • LessThanKate

    I used to read your blog a couple years ago daily – back when my job was much, much less busy, and I could steal wireless internet from the building next to us because I’d always forget my phone charger. Well, after following you closely on Instagram and Facebook for the past couple years, I decided to make a return to the blog and see what’s up. Oh, how I have missed reading your writing. You are still just as insightful, honest, and hilarious as ever. I love this post. I am bummed I haven’t been keeping up – but I am making it a point now to get back into it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


      Oh girl, I had no idea you went through all that to read this hot mess. Thank you so much. I’m totally flattered.

      And thank you for taking the time to check back in on the blog and see what’s up.


  • Christine

    Holy Wow! Everything you write… I’m in awe of your strength, honesty, and fierce bitchiness. This post makes me feel so much better for blurting out in bible study that I’d prayed so many times for my Narcissistic ex husband to die but it wasn’t working. Oops.

  • alexandra

    I left a church 22 years ago because they said
    “If you don’t feel like a doormat, you’re not doing it right.” Buy-bye.
    (Also, I love your words here)

  • Brocka

    This just showed up in my email inbox! Why a year later :(