Men have emotions too

Earlier today I linked to a blog post I wrote on 1/1/98 entitled Men Stay Silent.

In the early years of this blog, I liked to write more gutsy pieces on January 1 and around my birthday, May 2. This one took a lot of courage because I wrote about what it means, to me, to be a man.

People tend to have cartoonish ideas about what's going on inside men, as if we're as simple as they think we are. Actually we're complete human beings, with the full range of emotions: sadness, fear, anger, joy, excitement and sexuality.

We start life with full expressive power, but somehow this gets taken away from us.

As we have stereotypes of what makes a good girl, we have them for boys too, preferring strength and silence, and only validating one emotion, anger. It shouldn't be surprising then, that most of our emotions come out in that form, because it's the only one allowed. And who wouldn't be angry if you weren't allowed to express the other emotions you have!

Nothing really has changed since 1998. I still try to hide my emotions, even when it's impossible to do so. Sometimes others interfere, sometimes we self-censor. Yes, I did cry when my father died. And had tears of joy watching Obama give his victory speech on Election Day in 2008. But nothing reaches closer to the real me than writing about who I really am, directly, without manipulating symbols. Having a friend let me be exactly who I am, without projecting his or her ideal of maleness on me, is pretty great too.

However, there is truth to the male stereotype. I do have strong feelings of honor and loyalty inside me. Fairness. I am genetically programmed to protect both children and women. I feel brotherhood, but I don't understand women and never will. But I adore them nonetheless for their femininity, as well as intelligence and creativity, not because I want to, rather because this is the way I am. And I've learned to listen, even when it's difficult to do so. This did not come easily. Listening is hard.

I'm glad the gender issues are coming up again. I want my women friends to have everything they're entitled to, and I take a very broad view of that. But I am not willing to sacrifice myself to that. I will still be true to myself. And I am not who you say I am. To be that would be to die.

I hope others can realize that their struggles are in some ways unique and in other ways universal. We all want to be heard. We all despise unnecessary limits. We're all confused about what it's all about, and who each of us is. Beyond that, we can wish the best for each other, yes?

One more thing, I did not write this as a lawyer would. I'm sure people will take offense at any number of things I've said here. A blog is for speaking freely, and that's what I've done here. If you don't like it, write it up on your blog. Anticipating lots of negativity, I've disabled comments for this post. I'm sorry if you feel a need to vent, it's not my job to provide you a place to do that. Namaste!

Posted: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:25:14 GMT