“Men are dogs.”
“Men are cheaters.”
“Men can’t be trusted.”
I heard these statements while growing up.
Mami had a reason to doubt men, as did my aunts and distant cousins. My father was a dog, a cheater, and could not be trusted. Why would she trust men? What other message could she relay to her daughters? It is all she knew.
Fast forward to my college years: I begin to think in those terms. As an 18-year-old freshman, I promise myself to keep my distance from men. I was guarded. I was a bitch. Because I thought every man was gunning for me only to hurt me.
That became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The man that hurt me, broke me, was Mr. Big Man on Campus. I met him at a party in the Southwest room only a week into my freshman year. As I passed him on the staircase, he lowered his head. His eyes roamed over my legs, my ass, my breasts before finally resting on my face. I cringed. My internal alarm went off and I thought, “Guys are such dogs.” With a roll of my eyes, I walked away as quickly as I could .
But he persisted. When the party let out, he found me in the crowd. Standing beside me, he began asking me questions.
“Where are you from?”
“What’s your name?”
“Can I get your number?”
My responses were curt.
“New York.” You’re a dog, I thought.
“Sujeiry.” I can’t trust you, I thought.
“No.” You will never know me, I thought.
Eventually, I did give him my number. He was relentless. A few months later and I had fallen for the Big Bad Wolf, the man that I tried to resist, that I feared. He had me wrapped around his finger.
I felt like I was living my mother’s love story. Because that’s all I knew.
But I could have broken the cycle. Mami and her relatives did the best that they could. The men in their lives did the best that they could. If I understood that then I wouldn’t have carried their heavy baggage on my frail back.
And so I made many terrible decisions. I chose the wrong men because I didn’t believe there was anything better. I thought that love was only hurt and pain. I expected all men to do me wrong. And so many did.
So, let’s change the dialogue. Let’s start with statements that many of us utter and repeat.
Men aren’t all dogs.
Men are faithful.
Men can be trusted.
If you think otherwise, you are hindering yourself from feeling and accepting healthy love. Negative thinking and a negative belief and idea of men keep women single. Learn to trust and love even if it’s terrifying. Soon it will become second nature. You will choose better. You will choose love. Because that’s all you know.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons.