My life has been filled with vile and unforgiving men. While I had my reasons for staying in these situations, the only excuse I had was myself. I feared to break these bonds. I feared falling for a guy who would put me first. Who never had to questions his love and his intentions. Because if I fell and they rejected me, then I was the one at fault. I was the one who was broken and not good enough. I feared breaking the chains that held me attached to my “list” of broken men. They are easy. They do not cause me the trouble of pain. I know who they are, and I understand all their flaws. Every insult they through at me has been heard a million times before. Yet if one of these vile men tells me I am not good enough, that I am broken, useless, disgusting, boring, unlovable, not sexy enough, or any of the thousands of things they can and have said, it means nothing. These men prey on those most vulnerable and speak down upon them as if they are nothing. They hold little weight on me anymore. I have seen it all. I have cleared a room of empty bottles as these men were passed out on the couch. I have heard the way they speak to their own children. I have seen how they make their own children cry. I have seen how their anger manifest into violent outburst. Outburst that I had to dodge while also trying to calm them down. I have seen these men leave for hours upon hours and come back high unable to even walk through the doors. I have seen how broken they are. I can easily say their insults are a projection of their own shortcomings. Yet, I cannot let go. I am terrified of opening up to someone who is not these men. Someone who I know their intentions go beyond sex and the bedroom. However, I have tried opening up. I have tried to tear down these wells. Yet when I try, I am met with “oh, you tell everyone this,” “oh, okay, cool,” “who else have you told…have you told him.” I once had a friend say, “If a person says you’re the only person I have ever told this to,” the person is lying. I tried telling them that I disagreed. However, they were hard set on this. Just based on my own personal experience, I can say that this is not the case. There are secrets I have told someone that I have never told anyone else. There is only one person in the world who knows 98% of all my secrets. And I am bold enough to say that around 50% of the secrets this person knows no one else knows. I had been on the verge of wanting to open up and discuss things with this person that no one else really knew. But this sole comment shut me down. I feared opening up. I feared they would think I was lying, seeking attention, being dramatic, anything at all. All my anxieties that I have tried to bury and work through came rushing back. I shut down. I have stayed shut down. Instead, I rebuilt the walls. Walls I tore down to try and maybe be more open with those around me. Walls I tore down to try and heal. I thought back to all the times I tried to open up in the past, and I felt ignored. I felt like I spoke, and the person wanted to find the fastest way to shut down the conversations. Unwarranted advice was always given. Advice that felt like “do this, so I do not have to deal with it.” It may not have been the intention, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was. I remember thinking that I was stupid. That wanting to talk about myself in any capacity was dumb and unwarranted. I regretted opening up. I regretted talking. I wanted nothing more than to climb back into a hole and ignore everyone. Yet, I know if I stick to my “list” to my “broken men,” these comments can just be brushed off. I am not the problem. I am not the broken one. I am afraid to give up my sanctuary and realize that I am the broken one. I am the one who needs help. That I am the one who needs to look in the mirror and analyze their own life.