Rejecting Degradation and Standing Tall In Self-Worth

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“Cause a real man, knows a real woman when he sees her

And a real woman knows a real man ain't afraid to please her” – Alicia Keys

Yes, it was Miss Keys who taught me the meaning of self-worth at the tender age of 13. Songs in A Minor had to be one of the best investments I made with my adolescent allowance. To this day, I refuse to waste much of my time or sweat my edges out over men who are too dense to realize just how worthy and magnificent I am.

But, there was one who tested this for a moment (as there always is for every self-worthy woman) and I found myself questioning these concrete and stringent self-values of mine. You see, my thoughts on self are just as confident and self-assured as they are modest and humble creating a paradox of woman who won’t stand for b.s. that is also aware of her character flaws and shortcomings.

He was an interesting character to say the least, probably not someone I would have ever consented to being in a relationship with prior to my entrancement in endless late night phone conversations that stimulated my ever-so thirsty brain. I took an unexpected fondness to him that removed my inhibitions and allowed me to take a risk that my love-cautious self had vehemently told me not to.

I went cliff diving with this fellow. Like most adrenaline rushing leaps, after you swallow the fear of taking a grave plunge, you are exhilarated—refreshed even. The cool air is brushing past your face more powerfully than a fresh spring breeze ever could. You are one with the clouds, you are flying, you are free.

As wildly intoxicating this experience all is, our dear friend gravity must step forth and bring you right back down to where you came from, landing must commence. Depending on your method of safety and protection, this landing can either be smooth, rocky or fatal. Being that my level of experience in such risk taking was quite novice, I came to a bit of a screeching halt.

It was during this halt that I endured things I had never experienced and questioned things about myself that have never been questioned before. I was isolated and shut out when making an effort to rationally communicate through differences. I was vulgarly silenced when I expressed my opinions. I was chastised for having human emotions and showing a degree of vulnerability that I was at one point, strongly urged to display.

So here we are again, in a situation that is sure to crash and burn just as quickly as it launched off. I became frustrated with the circumstances, disappointed in myself and utterly disenchanted with this fellow. He went from a potential knight in shining armor to a grotesque scoundrel more concerned with tyrannizing me than trying to understand and care for me. And while I knew he was wrong (so wrong), the first question that came to mind was “what am I doing wrong here?!”

Am I too intolerant?

Are my standards and expectations too unrealistic?

Am I too emotional?

Have I given too much? Too little?

I thought, I pondered, I wrote pros and cons lists, I sought out advice. It took all of that for me to finally come to the realization that the only thing I was wrong for was feeling that I was wrong for wanting basic human respect, acknowledgment and compassion from a man who made it his mission to commit himself to me.

His strength and confidence in his self beliefs and mistakes were so strong that instead of viewing him as 100% wrong, his wrongness was projected onto me. This was my mistake, a mistake I quickly forgave myself for nonetheless. I saw the light, tucked and rolled onto the pavement in a semi-rocky landing that left me more relieved than scathed.

I am a strong willed, self-worthy woman and as positive an attribute as this can be, it is often something that domineering men seek to conquer as a way to feed their egos and give them a sense of power that they may not be able to attain elsewhere. Yeah, I see ya’ll.

I didn’t stay in the situation long, a month was about all I could withstand and even before then I found myself quietly developing an exit strategy. As much of a jerk this fellow was in the end, I have to thank him because it was this situation that fortified my self-worth. I can tout about how much I love and value myself but there comes a time where we all have to put our money where our mouth is and show that we are about it.

Consider it a red flag if you find yourself questioning whether or not you are deserving of the treatment you desire, if you are wrong for feeling emotions any human being would feel and above all else, if wanting basic respect and acknowledgment is asking too much. If not to prove to others, we must at the very least prove to ourselves that we truly are as worthy as we believe ourselves to be and stand tall in this self-worth, always and forever.

LaChelle is an aspiring novelist and songwriter. An avid reader and social commentator, her mission is to engage the minds of others through her artistry. Catch her on Twitter @_theELLE_

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