Seeking Men For Self-Esteem
For as long as I can remember I looked to men for approval.
Why? Maybe it was my absent father who was only around for dinner and bed. He paid the rent but didn’t show me much interest. And he favored cousin Daniel over me.
So I made it my mission to become his favorite child.
I sought his love and attention by cutting my hair to look more like Daniel, and I wore clothes that looked like my cousin’s. But instead of being invited to join dad and Daniel, I was scorned and left behind.
I couldn’t understand why dad favored his nephew over me until I understood patriarchy. In patriarchies men and masculinity are valued over women and femininity.
In its worst manifestation I watched my drunk father dominate mother. Yet the church told her to devote herself to him, body, mind and soul, until her final breath.
Her own father had inflicted abuse on his family, whether through beatings or insinuating that mother’s thoughts and feelings were worthless.
Traumatized from all of this, she still has trouble trusting men. My father, in particular.
Respect for men was not to be earned, but was simply expected – because they were men.
Meanwhile, society told me that men were so fantastic, so women should — obviously — devote themselves to them.
Always longing for men’s approval I became promiscuous in my teens. I guess I had “daddy issues.”
Luckily, not all men are the same. My other grandfather shares his life experiences with me, and I share mine with him. He told me that I have the potential to be anything. But I must let go of the shame of being “just a girl.”
Now I’m paying more attention to the love that my mother and my sisters unfailingly offer me.
I’ve begun to pay more attention to my own needs. I’m learning to respect myself: my intellect, my body… my flaws.
I have allowed men to dominate me for most of my short life. But I no longer feel incomplete. And now I know that I bring my own happiness.