Lessons on Self-Worth from a Dingy Dive Bar

“What are you afraid of?”

The bar was crowded, the music was too loud–overpowering really. Something that was a constant every Thursday night. Regardless of how many people were there, the terrible loudness of the music never changed from week to week.

He leaned in closer, his lips, which moments ago had been on hers, were now a breath away from her ear.


“What are you afraid of?”

It was playful. Unassuming. She had no reason to fear this question or the man asking it.

But she didn’t know how to answer.

He wanted her to go home with him. Just to make out. That’s all. That’s all, he promised. Nothing more. Nothing less. “Let’s just go home and make out the whole night.” The thing is, she believed him. He was drunk, but she truly believed his intentions were good. Yet she knew it was a bad a idea. She knew her friends would never let her leave the bar with him. She knew nothing good could come out of such an escapade. She valued his friendship and didn’t want to put it even more in jeopardy than it already was…making out drunkingly on the dance floor together as they already were.

She knew all this but didn’t know how to put it into words. Didn’t want to put it into words.

Besides, the real reason was more complicated than that. It had nothing to do with their friendship. It had nothing to do with her friends looking out for her. Making out the whole night really wouldn’t have been half bad. Truth be told, the drunk, reckless part of her wanted to say yes. But she knew she couldn’t.

Because the real reason was so much more complicated. Yet so simple, really.

She thought. He waited. It was so obvious, but could she say it? Her mind was racing with all the possibilities. Everything she wanted to say but didn’t know how. The bar was so loud and the thought of explaining everything over the noise made her feel ill at ease.

Until she had composed her thoughts.

Until she realized how simple it really was.

Over the din of the music, she went ahead and, leaning into his ear, said what she had never even admitted to herself before:

“I felt like an object in my last relationship.”

The words felt so real, so true, rolling off of her intoxicated tongue. Like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. It had nothing to do with him or the situation at all. It was the fear within herself. Of being that close to a man again. Even if nothing beyond making out did happen. Because the feeling of being used was still so real, still so a part of her. And she didn’t want to risk that again. It felt almost surreal saying it out loud. To him, of all people. In this crazy situation they were in.

And he didn’t miss a beat. Not even drunk. His voice softened and he spoke with clarity.

“Well, you’re not an object here.”

You’re not an object here.

— — — —

That night was a whirlwind. It was too loud, she was too drunk, to process the words in the moment. So much had happened.

It wasn’t until a good two months later that she fully remembered that exchange at all. As she sat with that memory that had come back to her so clearly, so seemingly out of the blue, she realized the impact of those words. How unbelievably significant they were to her. How they helped her realize her worth; internalizing them was one more step in moving forward.

You’re not an object here. 

So what that it was a drunken exchange on a crowded dance floor in a dingy dive bar. It was everything she needed to hear in that moment. After months of living in the shadow of an unhealthy relationship that was built off of a selfish need to feel loved, it felt like she was finally breaking free.

So, she embraced those words; yes, she embraced those words and she ran.

You’re not an object here. You’re not an object ever. Don’t ever let anyone treat you like one again. 

If I wasn’t so darn busy with finishing up my last two weeks of college, I would love to jump in to Writing 101 right now. I’ve so enjoyed reading my fellow bloggers responses to these thought provoking prompts.

That said, I thought this piece fit really well with the Day 12 prompt from a few days ago:

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.

Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

This was not an easy post to write up. It’s an occurrence that has always been extremely personal to me, a memory that I hold dear (despite the drunkenness and such). I thought I’d try something a little different and write it in the third person…and I really appreciate how it got me thinking about the whole situation from a different, third-party perspective.

25 Replies to “Lessons on Self-Worth from a Dingy Dive Bar”

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! It was one of those things that I didn’t know how much I needed to write it until I did. I sure hope I can participate in it the next time around. I’m always looking for new ways to push myself as a writer! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, DJ. I’m really proud of this piece and I’m so glad to hear positive feedback from others. Absolutely thrilled that you feel it. That is the highest praise I believe you can get as a writer. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was brilliant! I love the way you let your words breathe life into your story and at the same time, painting a broad picture of a young girl in conflict with herself and her past. Life and love lessons learned. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, thank you so much, Belle! It means so much to me to hear that, especially since this is a bit different from the writing style I usually have on my blog. It was a great and enjoyable challenge, though, and I might have to try the third person more often.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please do! Sometimes we just have to try things that are outside our usual boxes. 😉 Just to keep things more interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much. So glad to hear that. “you’re not an object is here” is probably one of the most important things that I’ve ever been told. It’s something I desperately needed to hear from someone else at that time in my life. I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece.


    1. Thank you so much, Terri. It sure is based off of personal experience–it’s probably one of the most important conversations I’ve ever had.
      Oh, I’m plenty busy with school. I always make time for writing, though–it’s so important for my well-being so I always make sure to be writing for myself at least a few times a week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, thank you for sharing this with us… So powerfully written… What a message it gives…. And your descriptive words made me feel as if I were there too. Bravissima!!


    1. Wow, thank you so much for this, Lia. It’s so meaningful to hear that from you…so glad you felt this way about this post. I’m extremely proud of it and I’m so happy to hear the positive response from others. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should definitely write more stories! Your life inspires great ones: ) I’m glad you received positive feedback.. It took courage to share this…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much, Lia. It did take courage, but it was so worth it. It took even more courage to share it with the person who the male character in this story is based off of…which I did. It was my way of saying thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: