I’ve spent years upon years pretending shit doesn’t hurt. Nobody ever told me I had to be that way, but it’s a commonly conceived idea that men who talk about feelings are wusses. Right?
I made changes to the way I handle emotion in general because I was absolutely TERRIFIED that I would pass on my inability to communicate emotion to my son. And when he lost his Mother, the last thing I wanted him to do was clam up and become the sort of person I was – who would lash out in anger because he has no other means of dealing with the problems he is experiencing.
I read about a teenage boy who killed himself. He was being bullied at school and nobody knew. He didn’t tell anyone. And that’s so common amongt boys – to keep secrets. Hiding things, not talking. We, the muscle bearing men of this world who pride themselves on their masculinity, we puff out our chests, we roar in defiance no matter what is happening!! That’s what people see.
And then we go home and we lock ourselves away and tormented by everything we cannot or will not even allow ourselves to think about in public we tear ourselves up from the inside out.
I will not be like that anymore. And I will not let my son turn into that man. Here’s a few things I wouldn’t had admitted a year ago:-
- I cried when Chloe told me she would be my wife because I was so unbelievably delighted at the life I know I am going to have with her.
- Then I cried as I lay awake that night because I wish so much that my mother had been alive to hear this news.
- I get choked up when I hear songs my son’s mother used to like.
If people think that makes me “effeminate,” or weak, so what? I actually put it to the people who think men should be emotionally impenetrable that it actually takes more balls to stand up and admit this stuff than it does to pretend you don’t give a shit and just lash out at everyone trying to help.
I’m not angry anymore. I was. For a long time. But I think breaking down the barrier that was stopping me talking about things that bothered me got rid of all that anger.
But I’m still a gym-o-holic and I still like to flex my muscles. I still like to think I’m tough. I just don’t pretend I’m invincible anymore.