“Forbidden Fruit, A Woman’s Worth: The Fear of Rejection”

My earliest childhood memories include walks with my Dad.  On any given day we would travel to the grocery store, corner market, or our favorite Chinese restaurant across the street.  My view of the world from 2ft tall included the sun beaming in my eyes, an ice cream cone in one hand and my Dad’s palm in the other.  I remember asking Daddy why the sun and the moon were in the sky at the same time but there were no stars.  I recall seeing my first eclipse and thinking the way things were would be the way they’d always be.  One particular day, we happened upon an acquaintance of my Dad’s, he never mixed his family with associates so it was kind of odd. I stood slightly behind him while they spoke and I remember the strange man looking down at me and saying, “wow, man your daughter is so pretty,” I scoffed and my Dad replied, “don’t speak to or look at my daughter, I don’t play about my family”.

The exchange above may have seemed harsh but let me add a little context. My parents taught me a few things by the time I was seven: never talk to strangers, your real compliments come from home, and never get too comfortable around men. No males outside of my Father, were not allowed to pick me up. I never sat in ANY man’s lap (including my Father). I only gave and received kisses on the cheeks from my Dad, and the list of in home etiquette goes on.  It wasn’t until much later that I learned that most little girls weren’t taught the same behaviors by their Fathers. Because of my upbringing, having a strange man compliment me seemed offensive. The narrative in my head was, “how dare he compliment me, only my Daddy can do that”. My parents definitely raised a little Princess that didn’t rely on the compliments of others to determine her self worth or standards of beauty.

My mind is my greatest treasure! I keep it protected by ensuring that the strongest opinion of who I am comes from my own voice. It’s only right that a woman’s worth should be determined by that particular woman. Consider this, if I altered my personality and/or appearance based on the views expressed by another, eventually I wouldn’t even recognize myself.  I’d be a human collage, stuck in the past of what pleased the last guy, wondering why the current guy isn’t satisfied.  What quality of life would I have? I made it a point to do a mental cleanse after ending a relationship. My parents did an excellent job of preparing me to be in relationships with other people while staying true to my upbringing.  Many of their lessons could be considered offensive to others but those lessons protected my heart and mind.  One of those lessons was, “don’t allow a man to ruin your body.”  Women are susceptible to a large variety of reproductive illnesses and which decrease by leaps and bounds by practicing celibacy, abstinence and by waiting for marriage (provided the betrothed is faithful, has had bloodwork done prior to marriage and hasn’t had multiple partners).  My Mother is an AVID 20/20, local news, World News, 60 Minutes and The View watcher.  Basically, she felt the need to mentally prepare us for every scenario possible.

Women are the most vulnerable prey in today’s society. Those of us who live to see adulthood must pass down our survival skills to the next generation to give them a fighting chance at a healthy life. As an adult, I appreciate my Mother’s reputation among my peers and the lessons both my parents drilled into me about life. The sad reality is, most girls were unprotected and uninformed, in other words, they had more “freedom”.  The lessons I was raised with became lessons many of them would learn the hard way later in life.  I have a tender heart for the plight of women.  There have been so many moments when I’ve cried, in secret, over their pain.  The physical, mental and emotional abuse of women typically begins in conversations where they’re not even present. I heard what males have said about them in private, I had to correct many of them. Men tend to respond better to respect than love. For example, a woman who doesn’t morph at her mate’s every whim and carries herself with discretion typically evokes respect. When you’re a “guy’s girl” like I was, you get an inside look at this twisted logic. This lesson of observation served me well but was very controversial in female environments. Myself and women like me are the forbidden fruit of the foolish.

Most guys I encountered were drawn in by my personality first, I tried to push them away but I underestimated how much men enjoyed a challenge. A majority of the women I know use the attention (or lack of) they receive from men like a scale to determine their value to mankind. I see attention from men as a scale that measures just how little they value me as a human being. The ONLY attention I desire is from the man I’m with because I know the first thing he was attracted to wasn’t physical but mental. If all women considered themselves “forbidden fruit”, I wonder how that would change the male perspective.  If we increased our value, would men then consider us as an investment rather than a tradeable commodity?

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