I’m trying to heal, learn, and grow as a person. For too many years of my life, I’ve allowed others to make me feel unworthy. I’ve allowed unrealistic expectations of who I should be and how I should act and how much I should give dictate my life. As a result, in the past, I’ve allowed the women in my life to treat me with disrespect, and I bent over backwards to prove my worth, to give more and more and more, until I was left cold and empty, feeling used up and discarded. Those women may have different perspectives and versions, but I know how I was made to feel, and over the last four years, as I’ve struggled to redefine myself as a person and a man, I’ve grown less and less tolerant of any act of disrespect. Part of this process I’ve been going through has taught me my worth, and I will not settle for anything less than how I deserve to be treated.
If that makes me come across as selfish, so be it. Life is too short to be told and made to feel as if I don’t do or give enough when I know damn well I give more than I take. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, will ever make me feel that way again, not my children, not a friend, not a lover, not my family. I’ve endured too many trials, from the shotput accident to the divorce to the struggles in my career to the heartbreaks to this recent illness, to allow myself to be mistreated. I will be alone if that’s what it takes. I’m a loyal and faithful man; when I give myself to a woman, I do not step outside of that relationship. That alone makes me a fairly rare breed. Every single time I’ve gotten knocked down, I’ve gotten back to my feet and continued pushing for my goals and dreams. I may never accomplish all that I want, but it will not be from lack of effort. That, too, makes me valuable. The people who don’t really know me can fabricate whatever stories or issues or dramas they need to create in order to paint me as the bad guy, but in my heart, I know the truth of who and what I am as a man.
I know I have a lot of love to offer. I may not be romantic or sentimental, but I am kind and nurturing. I may not buy flowers or jewelry, but I do offer a strong shoulder and tenderness. I may not always say or do the right things at the right time, but I never intentionally lash out or demean people. I’m not a knight in shining armor, but I am a decent man. Maybe one day, I’ll find the woman who appreciates me for who I am instead of criticizing me for what I’m not. If that day comes, hopefully I’ll have healed enough to embrace it. If it never comes along, I’ll try my best not to grow cold and bitter. As the Outlaw once sang, “I won’t let it change me not if I can. I’d rather believe in love and give it away as much as I can to those I’m fondest of.”