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My humble thoughts . . .

50 yo dad to a 17 yo young woman here. Reading these posts breaks my heart into pieces. So if you're interested, a few words of advice from someone who made it through to the other side . . .

1. Many, many, many men (young & old) are assholes. Full stop. They have their own insecurities and don't know how to appropriately handle those emotions since society seemingly calls for them to be stoic . . . to "man up." That doesn't mean that you should have sympathy or bear ANY responsibility for "fixing" them. Real men hold you when you cry. Real men go to therapy. Don't settle for anything less and KNOW that there is always . . . ALWAYS . . . someone out there for you.

2. Don't trust men with your precious love and emotions. Just don't. See #1 above. They or may not have your best interests at heart. Yes - There are a TON of wonderful young men out there who would be so lucky to have your attention. But be sure you've found one before giving your emotions to them. And never let them pressure you into ANYTHING that you don't want. If they pressure you, they fall into #1 above.

3. I know what it's like to be picked on. I truly do. I promise you that it gets better. The only thing in life that is certain is death - Don't speed that process up. If you do, you're going to miss sooooooooo many wonderful things along the way. I did not have a true girlfriend until I was 17 and didn't have a serious relationship until I was 24. Try not to rely on someone else for your happiness. Take the time to know yourself, learn how to productively handle your traumatic experiences, and remember that it all gets better. Trust me on that.

For anyone reading this, you are a special snowflake that is one of a kind. Life is very, very hard at times. Be as strong as you can and don't refrain from seeking help when you need it. Study and work hard. Give yourself a hug and exercise compassion for yourself and DO NOT feel guilty about taking care of yourself first.

With love . . .

A salt-and-pepper haired dad who got plenty of scars along the way . . .

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