Friday, January 9, 2009

How To Love a Girl, Part 1
As a therapist, one thing for me that is interesting and sometimes difficult to observe is the development of lonely people. Because I work with both adolescents and adults, I get to see the formative years of a lonely, love-craving child and the end result-- the lonely, love-craving adult. The kids I work with help to keep me young and fresh. They remind me of those painful and adventurous years of adolescence. There is a song I really love by Beyonce, If I Were a Boy. I believe this song poignantly pens the difficulty of growing up and acceptance.

I'll begin with some basic definitions. The first term I want to define is Daddy Hole.

Daddy Hole: the giant empty space inside a girl or woman created by the absence of a father's love, presence, nurturing, and unconditional acceptance. This hole is painful enough to often drive the girl/woman to persistent and irrational acts in an attempt to fill the hole and end its aching.

Here is the second important term you need to know: Just a Boy

Just a Boy: a boy or man who has yet to learn how to love outside of himself; a boy/man who unknowingly and unintentionally hurts others due to his inability to consider other people besides himself.

You may see where this is going, dear readers. Allow me to make formal introductions here. Daddy Hole, meet Just a Boy... and this is how the romance begins. I see it so many times and have had the unfortunate experience of meeting a few boys myself! The Daddy Hole is so large, never-ending, and painful. Any girl who carries this can do nothing else but seek to fill it or at least put enough in it to stop the incessant crying and howling of the hole. This type of hunger and desperation often magnetically connects with Just a Boy characters. Just a Boy wants to do his own thing and feel good. Life for him is all about the pleasure it brings to him. He wants to enjoy himself 24/7 and though he may be an intelligent and kind person, he cannot live above his own true nature-- self-service. This is not to say he is heartless, and often Just a Boy feels a bit grieved when he knows he has hurt someone. This grief, however, is usually short-lived and quickly forgotten as he moves on into the fun that is his life. Only girls who carry a Daddy Hole will try to make things work with Just a Boy.

One day, however, when the planets are aligned and the molecules of faith are buzzing at the right pitch, the girl who carries a Daddy Hole is illuminated. Within the light of this illumination she is given a brief glimpse of her Daddy Hole, her desperate behavior, and the end result of her own life should the behavior continue. I have to believe Beyonce wrote her song while in this illumination. It is from here where a girl reaches painful acceptance-- you, Just a Boy, will never make this pain go away, you will never get it. She is forced by what bit of self-respect remains to let a loser go and begin walking the walk.

I live for the moments when I have watched a girl or an adult woman really begin to grow up. I had such a moment yesterday when my client told me she finally dumped a selfish, abusive boyfriend. After another tirade of abuse from him, he concluded his verbal assault with, "... and you know you're always gonna be my girl." Her heartfelt, genuine reply to him, after years of this BS was, "I'm NOT your girl. Hello, I'm done with you! You just keep running your mouth and you're about to find out what's really behind this pretty face."

Although these moments are triumphant and empowering, this girl still goes home alone. Sometimes the life of self-respect and living with dignity is a hard row to hoe. There are nights you will be alone. There are nights you will cry for Just a Boy, slipping into the old fantasy world of "maybe this time things will be different." When you've grown up, Sister Girl, you don't go back, because now you're a woman and he's, well, Just a Boy.


  1. This is the truest thing I have read in such a long time.

  2. Does that mean that 'Just a boy' will never grow up?

  3. Absolutely not! "Just a boy" can grown up just the same as any girl whose emotional growth was stunted. Takes time, patience, support, lots of honesty, and hard work.