Friday, September 16, 2011

Check your price tag

"If you're not being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Perhaps you have marked yourself down. It's YOU who tell people what you're worth by what you accept. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables!"

That was my cousin's Facebook status recently.  Not sure if she wrote that or if she read it someplace else and felt the need to pass it along.  Regardless, I had to steal it.  I firmly believe that if you don't value, respect and love yourself than no one else will either.  

In my younger years I had a couple of loser boyfriends.  Good for nothing, mentally and physically abusive, and heartless.  I remember arguing with both of these "men" and they both used this classic phrase on me often, "YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME."  Sometimes, it was a statement and other times it was a posed as a question.  At that time, I was young and dumb and my self esteem is not what it is today and I would immediately fold and say, "NO, I don't think I am better than anyone."   When these idiots would say that I thought I was better than them, it somehow made me feel like the jerk.  It made me knock myself down a peg.  How ABSURD!  I know!  I definitely had battered woman syndrome during my late teens and very early adulthood.  I really believed inside that it was my fault that these animals treated me the way that they did. 

I definitely never deserved to be abused but I sure did make it easy.  I always forgave and pretended to forget.  I always took the blame and I always allowed one more chance.  I stayed with these men for a couple of reasons.  One reason was I pitied them, I felt that I was the reason they had a place to live.  If I kicked them out they surely would be homeless and I would be responsible, right?  And second.. I simply didn't value MYSELF.

Then one day I literally WOKE UP.   I honestly don't know exactly what flipped the switch in me.  Maybe that last slap in the head did it, who knows.  But I was DONE.  I knew that I didn't deserve to be treated like that.  I knew that there was a man out there for me that would love to "have" me.  To hold me in his arms instead of hurting me.  A man who would love to say kind words to me to make me feel good rather than get some sick twisted thrill from saying degrading nasty things to me and watching me cry.  A man who would do whatever he could to prevent tears from flowing from my eyes than being the cause of those tears.  A man who would love me for me and not try to change me.  A man who understood that I was my own person and I make my own decisions and they would love that about me and would not try to control me.  A man that understood that a good woman compliments a good man and that our love and understanding can only make us both stronger.

After leaving the second guy, I felt that I needed to be alone for a while to re-evaluate my life and understand what it was about me that was attracting such scumbags.  It wasn't long before I realized that the problem was I did not value myself.  I was easy prey.  They were both older than me (not obscenely though), and I was kind of attracted to that.  I felt that them being older would make them more experienced in how to treat a woman, I wouldn't have to teach them like I might have to with a younger man.  I was naive to relationships, in general.  I mean, I had my little Jr. High and High School boyfriends and crap, but I was totally green as to what is expected and acceptable in an adult relationship.  I was a young single mother, I was attractive, and probably gave off the "I'm lonely-have low self esteem-come take advantage of me" vibe.  It's like an irresistible perfume that abusive men just can not resist.  They must approach you and almost immediately move into your home.  It's like wild panther pheromones, hahaha!  But seriously, abusive men have a type.  And I possessed many of the sad qualities that they typically stalk.  I needed to improve how I viewed myself so that others would value me more.  If I continue to portray myself as lonely and weak, then I am just setting myself up for the next lowlife to abuse me.  

Although I was still in the process of mending myself, I reconnected with my (now) hubby.  We have known of each other since Jr. High and I had a crush on him since then.  We bumped into each other at the store.  I will never forget - I had on inside out sweats (for some reason that was cool in the 90's) and my hair was a hot mess.  I had the chicken pox and had red dots all over my face and arms, no makeup.  I had walked to Walgreen's to get Calamine lotion, and tampons (yup, double whammy).  And I am in line behind this man that I have had a crush on for like 10 years.  I put my feminine hygiene products and calamine lotion down on the counter and I approached him with some cheesy line that I do not remember (or shall I say I will not repeat).  We chatted for only a couple minutes and we went our separate ways.  I immediately felt some sort of positive connection with him.  I won't say that I knew at that time that this is the man I would spend the rest of my life with or anything.  But I definitely sensed something different in him than any of the men from my past.  He was definitely worth semi stalking. LOL!  I went home and pulled out my local phone book and searched for him.  I found only two listings with his last name and just chose one, not knowing his address.  I built up the nerve to call him and HE ANSWERED!  I asked him if he had a girlfriend and he told me that he had several.  WHAT?!?!?!  I said, oh ok, I'm all set.  Then he said that he was just joking.  We got to talking and the rest as they say, "Is history".  

The first couple of years that we were together I was still finding my way to loving myself.  And he really did help me.  He always made sure that I knew how beautiful I was and that I did not deserve what I was put through in my past.  He has always been supportive of me and everything that I strive to do.  He has never put me down - EVER!  He is the exact opposite of the morons that I was with in the past.

It took valuing myself to find a man to value me.  I don't compare myself to others in terms of qualities or attributes.  I am ME, not you or them.  I am MYSELF and I love myself.  I am not perfect, nor do I want to be.  My quirks make me who I am.  I know the areas that I feel require improvement, but these improvements will not change WHO I am.. these improvements will make me even happier ME.  

I do not regret the moronic men from my past.  Them putting me through hell has helped me become the woman that I am today.  I learned from them (the hard way) what is not acceptable in a relationship.  I learned what I will not tolerate.  I am thankful that I did not allow my heart to be hardened by their actions and inabilities so that when the opportunity for true love and happiness arose I was able to surrender myself fully to it.  I am glad that I went through the BS when I was much younger so that I was able to find myself and my soulmate when I did.  I would hate to still be in that position at almost 35 and just now starting to really live and love life.

I know that there are thousands of women (and men) out there that have low self value.  That allow their partner to take advantage of their weaknesses and belittle them.  Sadly, there are tons of people on this planet just looking for someone to knock down and take from.  I know that it is sometimes hard to find yourself and raise your self worth when the person you are with constantly puts you down and makes you feel worthless.  But the only way out of that funk and to start LIVING your life is to START OVER.  Find your true self, and love the YOU that you are, not what someone wants you to be!  This has nothing to do with how you look, the hair on your head, the clothes on your body or your weight.  This is all about how you feel.  Begin building your confidence around WHO you are and what qualities you have to offer the world.  Not what you can give them or what some one can physically take from you, but what just being in your mere presence can do for someone.  Once you have your confidence, pride and love for yourself, no one can take that away.   

                                                                              - Erykah Badu


  1. I love this post! You are so are not alone in what you've been through or how you many women suffer from low self-esteem. So many experiences during our lives can lead us to believe we are undeserving of love and respect. That belief can lead us to a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. Some women never realize their true worth and spend their lives suffering because of it. Good for you for changing your life! You can look back at the naive, insecure little girl with love and understanding and tell her with pride, "You've come a long way, baby!" :)

  2. Thank you Tammy! I hope that a woman who may be stuck in my old ways may stumble upon this post as others have and maybe it can help them in some way to better their situation.