I have yet to feel safe in a less than strange man’s presence, in a less than strange man’s arms.

When they look at me a little too long, when they show even the slightest “romantic” interest, I immediately feel disgusting.

I feel I’m about to be attacked if he feels I’ve hurt him by saying something wrong.

I smile and I laugh, but I’m entirely disinterested.

I giggle and I grin, but I’m shouting “no.”

The women in my family are beautiful and strong, unashamed and unafraid to speak their minds –

how and why, seems like, did I get left behind?