This is for the men who have a daughter, a sister, a niece.
This is for you, from us.
You are the first men we meet in our life. You are the ones who set an example, good or bad. I can only imagine that responsibility. But that's the responsibility you take on when we're born.
I'm sure raising a girl is tough work. We're feisty and sassy, but we are what makes the world go 'round. There's so much girls have to deal with growing up: insecurities, friends, boys, and drama. So yes, it may seem like we're "bratty" at times, but we mean well.
Growing up in a family of men who all have their own personalities, their own egos, was not easy. But I wouldn't be the same if it were any other way: I love them to death. I remember being young and always looking up to my brother who is six-and-a-half years older than me, and thinking he was "so cool."
To me, he could do no wrong. I always listened to what he said even if it didn't make sense. I remember when he was in high school and started driving. He would take me to school sometimes or pick me up and I thought I was the coolest girl in school.
When I was 11 and my brother was 18, our parents' split was tough. It was tough for both of us even though we were so many years apart. We both grew from that in different ways and went through what we needed in order to cope. I lived with my mom most of my adolescent years and he lived with my dad so that changed many things.
My uncle on my dad's side, well, let's just say it's been a work in progress. He's always been involved in the family and would be the one to come over in the middle of the week; it was like having another older brother. What I find ironic is my brother, him, and my dad are all exactly 10 years apart and they all have their birthdays in the same month.
Now, my dad was my rock for so long. He's a good man. We were extremely close when my parents were together. We'd always have father-daughter dates and go eat ice cream. He taught me how to dance salsa when I was a little girl and I would stand on his feet and learn. He also taught me how to drive stick (the basics, I would probably fail epically if I tried now). I would sit on his lap and move the wheel and shift gears while he was pressing the pedals. I used to go to work with him all the time. He would call me his "lucky charm" because whenever I would go with him to a customer's house he'd always get a sale. We used to sing to Marc Anthony songs in the car and he'd always take me shopping. My dad was the best guy I ever knew.
Those are the men who have had the biggest impact in my life.
You're probably reading this and at this point thinking, "okay...so what is the point of this article?" Well, the point of this article is to show you that, yeah things are always great when you're young and innocent. When you haven't experienced things, some may think you become "rebellious." I think it's learning what an opinion is and speaking your mind.
Sometimes, things just happen.
When I started learning my own things and learning how to speak my mind, the men in my family didn't like that. I was becoming me. I know I said all those great things about them earlier in this article, but there were not so great things. I always felt like I needed their approval, I always struggled with being OK with myself because my OK was not their OK. I allowed it to affect me so much that it has carried out into my adulthood and continuously made me feel like I wasn't good enough. That isn't OK.
These guys always felt like they needed to state their opinions no matter how hurtful they were. My brother and my uncle always felt like they were my dads. No matter how much I looked up to my brother, he could never give me that "brotherly love." I always looked for it in someone else. No matter how much I looked up to my uncle, he could never give me that "love. I always looked for it in someone else. No matter how much I looked up to my dad, it was so hard for him to give me that "emotional love." I always looked for it in someone else.
I always tried to fill the hole of a man's approval.
That has led me down paths I wish I never would had taken, paths which were dark, difficult and lonely, paths that could have been avoided if I would have just said something.
Longing for the love, support, and emotional connection to the most important men in a woman's life is such a dark journey. My brother tried his best to teach me, but it was never felt like the right way. I'm a girl, I'm your sister, I'm not your brother, I'm not your friend. My uncle tried to teach me but I'm not some stranger. I'm your niece. I'm not some kid in a program. My dad was always emotionally disconnected and still is. I'm your daughter.
It is important for the men reading this to know that we are your family, you are important to us. We look to you as examples. It's hard enough having to deal with the rest of the men in the world who don't have the right intentions. Don't be one of those men.
I can't express enough how many times I've tried to reach out to these three men and I get no response. How many times I've thought to do something fatal so they can then realize how much hurt they've caused.
Now, I know who I am. I see my worth. I don't have to rely on them to tell me how good I'm doing, how much I'm valued. I love them, but they do not make or break me anymore.
So those of you who have daughters, sisters, nieces: cherish them. They need you. Show them what a man looks like. What a man acts like. Don't let them learn the hard way. You have the power to shape that little girl's mind and be the good example. You must know that with or without you, she will learn and she will likely be strong and she will be fierce.
The choice is in your hands.