I had a dream one night where in front of a carnival mad house type mirror I put on a red dress three times and each time I would stand in front of a man whose back was turned so I couldn’t see his face. Coincidentally, the next day I had lunch with my sister and we discussed our relationships or lack there of with a few men. As we bounced stories off of each other, I found that she and I had been wearing the same red dress over and over again. Being in something we wanted to call a relationship but not truly receiving all of the components we so desired. My dream was showing me how I was putting myself through the same emotional let down with different men. Red is the color of judgment and the men with no faces; it’s obvious that I am subconsciously telling myself to look in the mirror and stop trying to turn away from the emotional damage I am doing to myself.

Here’s the deal I have had hits and misses but nothing to brag about. What I did realize talking with her was that we (some women) settle for the ideas of being in a relationship rather than having the full commitment from our mates that we want. For example, my “relationships” since I started having sex has been based on sex. When at some slight moment it could have been commitment it wasn’t before long that it would deteriorate into a convenient fuck fest to when he was available to late nights only. I have all too many times worn that same red dress and each time I felt the same emotional high and low.

There is something in me that find these limitations ok and appeasing when in reality they are shallow and demeaning. I can remember a few times when I dated and it was cool in the beginning but each time it turned into sex only. What’s more interesting is I’m ok with it until I want that intimacy on those nights when dinner and a movie would be perfect then I spiral down into anger and dissatisfaction towards him and I sulk in disappointment in myself.

I see a pattern of self-destruction and I wonder where did this come from. Why is it that my girlfriends have all experienced meaningful relationship and yet I have not? Are these lessons learned in childhood or teen years? I see how I settle for just enough to get me by to the next sexual want and/or intimate craving only to again put on the same red dress. I grew up around a lot of guys, but looking back I can’t recall a word of wisdom that would have put me on the right track. In fact, my brothers and male friends would listen and laugh at my sex stories right along with me. How was I to know I would be damaging myself in the long run?

Are fathers or father figures the people who are supposed to teach these valuable lessons? My sister shared a story of man who spoke to her years ago and enlightened her of her essence. “He said ‘that all women have an essence to them, it’s connected to their soul and to their heart and every time they allow a man to enter their bodies they give some of their essence away. After so many men the woman won’t have anything left to give to the one who was made specifically for her.’” She continued, “Men should have to work for a woman’s love. Men should earn the opportunity to be with us and we can’t be afraid to let him walk if he doesn’t meet our requirements.” How do you make him earn it if you don’t know what you’re worth? How do you find your worth? Is that where the father is supposed to be there to create standards for the men a young lady would need in future romances? Or is it based on trial and error.

At thirty-one I believe it is time to revamp myself. I think it’s important to begin by writing down what I want in a mate and what I will not tolerate. Next is for me to put me on a pedestal without looking back. Not having a father around is not an excuse anymore. I have great friends and strong women whom I borrow many of their qualities to perfect the person I want to be. Another important factor is shutting off the candy store. It is one of the most valuable parts of me and in order to fully love me I must stop giving myself away. Finally and most importantly, love myself unconditionally. Embrace my flaws and all of the quirks and kinks I have. These things make me unique and yes acceptance is the toughest job but at the end of day I feel beautiful. If I feel beautiful the world will see how beautiful I am.

Love self-first and everything else will follow.

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