I am sensitive. There it is, the elephant in the room. I am sensitive at a number of different levels. I mention this because I said in my last blog that I was going to talk about crying and changed the subject. Well here it is. How do I know I am sensitive? Well in this instance I am talking about my seeming inability to control my emotions at times and the fact that when in times of intense emotional experiences or sadness I find myself crying.
This has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can try to suppress it as much as I like but it usually gives itself away, if only a few tears. At times this seems appropriate, funerals, weddings, sad movies, sad songs. Other times of intense emotional loads as well.
If it were just at these occasions it would not be an issue. As a child I would cry when I was teased, bullied, harassed. Some teachers (bless their souls) took delight in humiliating me. I was a weedy little kid. Big sticky out ears and freckles. Too literate for my own good, too polite, too poor, too musical. You name it I was it. It did not improve much as a teenager. Too polite, too clever, danced sang and acted and quelle horreur! I did not play rugby!
I hardened up after I was married put the tears away when I worked with broken and abused children. I noticed however that I became hardened and lacked empathy. It was the only way to stop the tears. Play the hard man. After my marriage ended I found the tears again. Sad movies, sad stories, sad people.
All a bit boring to some people I know. Some people see tears as a sign of weakness, emotionally unstable, soft. I wonder about people who see tears in that way. I have surmised that perhaps they are afraid to let their feelings show, perhaps once they start they are worried that they cannot stop. They may have bought into that construction that real men don’t cry. Well this one does. Am I a real man?
What is a real man? Lets see? I like to watch rugby, I like to go to church, I like to drink beer, I sing out loud. I have killed animals to eat, I have let fish go because they were beautiful. I write poetry, sometimes I cuss. I will defend my family and friends with my life. I prefer to walk away from a fight. I love to hold hands, and cuddle my children. I will hug my friends, male and female.
I don’t think any of the above things are a valid construct of masculinity. I am sometimes embarrassed and frustrated that I still cry at times when I wish I didn’t but if it means that I know that I am in contact with who I am, if it means that I can show love and hope to those around me, if it means that I am whole then I accept it not as a curse or burden but as a sign of difference.
As to what other people think… Well I have spent my life serving and pleasing other people. I am trying to take heed of my needs. Sometimes that means letting go of things that you would rather hold on to. There it is the conundrum of the thinking man whose heart is on his sleeve.
In the mean time
Live, laugh and love