This New Year’s Eve was spent different than most in my 28 years.

I played Monopoly, ate black eyed peas with greens & got a kiss from someone other than my momma ‘nem when the ball dropped. We left the festivities, went back to his place & landed on a Netflix original titled “First Match”

The film’s description says a high school aged girl, who’s bounced around foster homes joins a wrestling team to impress her ex-con father.

I watched an hour and 44 minutes of a young woman literally & figuratively for her father’s love. Eyes glued to the screen as my young man snored beside me. I witnessed a young woman sacrifice her body, her safety & her sanity for a father who didn’t seem willing to make the same level of sacrifices.

I felt triggered. Seeing her rejecting love reminded me of a time when I did the same. I didn’t know how to accept love. I still don’t know if I can. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I shared with my friend hat I was going to stop telling myself “No” by assuming I know everything about other people.

That decision came from a memory of being out with my biological father at the moves. He had just spent too much money in my opinion, on dinner for us & he asked if I wanted anything in the theater. I asked for M&Ms not wanting hi o waste any more money. When the truth is, I didn’t even know how much he had or if he felt it was too much. I made a decision for him based on my perception of his circumstances.

Mo’ in First Match did the same. Except she assumed that her father being released from prison & having a job mean he would be able to resume his position not only as her father but as her primary caregiver

He tried to tell her he wasn’t ready for that.

We see a glimpse of Mo’s interactions in romantic encounters and though those situations aren’t the main theme of the story, they help weave together this young woman who thinks she’s manipulating situations in her favor, yet she’s only getting hurt.

She’s blinded by the mixed messages she receives. Choosing to focus only on the behaviors that fit the dream she’s selling herself.

The biggest blinder is a Dad who’s seemingly supportive of her efforts to impress him with her wrestling abilities.

When he’s really just a predator preying on her talents for his come up.

When your protector treats you like prey who can you trust?