I have a friend from my theater days, Mike, who recently lost his husband to a sudden illness. Oh my goodness how my heart aches for him! Even though it has been a long time since we’ve seen each other, it is truly unique the bond you have with people you do theater with. I’m not really sure why, but it’s a kismet-ic type bond.
Anyway, today, Mike posted on his Facebook “I’m sad.”
He was honest, authentic and real. He communicated to his friends, how he was feeling.
Not too long ago, I had a discussion with Nic about a similar topic. She had been going through some difficult court proceedings and family drama and the stress was just getting to her. She needed a hug. (…and if you’ve been single and away from your family ever… you know that a hug is sometimes far and too few in between.)
No one wants to ask for a hug… it’s weird? Right?
She made plans to see a guy she was seeing, and on this evening, she described her stress as just getting to the point of exhaustion. I told her, I would have never known, she was keeping it together great.
She told me that, not acting like she needed support was part of the issue. So, she makes plans with the date under the pretense of a booty call at 11 PM that evening.
At 8 PM, she receives a text from the guy that says he’s caught up with some friends from work and they are all going out to a Kareoke bar and he would need to rain check their “date.”
Nic passes me her phone at this point so I can see what then occurred.
Dude: “Hey, girl, the boys from the other office invited me and the guys to go to a Mexican restaurant with Kareoke. Not sure what time I will be back, rain check??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”
Nic: “Sure! A bull-shit rain check? Yes! Go ahead and sign me up for a ton of them! Oh wait, you already did.”
I passed her back her phone and looked up at her. I can’t even describe the look I gave because I wasn’t really sure what to think.
Nic ( speaking to me) : I was stone-cold sober. I was hurt and disappointed. I just reacted. The reply flew from my fingers faster than I could think.
Me: Honey, why were you SO mad?
Nic: Because all I needed was a fuuuuccccking HUG and I got passed over for damn KAREOKE!
Me: ( looks at her)
Nic: …And Ok, fine… I was pissed that I couldn’t say what I really needed. I needed company and to be held and to take my mind off my troubles for a minute. I needed my friend.
Me: Why didn’t you feel like you could tell him that ? Why make it sound like a booty call?
Nic: ( looking at me like I’m an idiot)… really?
Me: ( throws hands in the air, and sits back) No, no… I get it. I get it… You don’t want to appear needy or crazy and if ya had to pick… ugh. I don’t know.
Nic: Needy is bad, crazy is bad …but saying, ‘ literally, right now, I need YOU.’ That’s just… Well, how about YOU. Ms. Buddah Bullshit, ( laughingly) when is the last time you told someone you needed them. Anyone?
Me: (HA!) Oh hell, well my Buddah Bullshit only goes so far, chica. (laughs) Oh I KNOW it’s damn hard to say that! And easy to get mad when people don’t catch on that’s what you need! But, YOU, were hiding it. And honestly, I’m kinda pissed you didn’t tell me you needed a friend. I would have been there for you.
Nic: (looks at me sincerely) I know you would have been.
Me: But I get it. I don’t say, “I need you.” Honestly, I kinda want to vomit at the thought of saying those words.
Nic: Why do we do this?
As I was telling you earlier, I was deeply inspired by Mike’s ability to clearly communicate deep feeling. In recalling my conversation with Nic, I have to wonder, is being open with feelings different for Mike, since he is a male?
Are women the new ‘tough guys’?
Frankly, women have the reputation to be emotional and often, overly emotional. The perception of being overly emotional leads to a belief that if you can’t handle things well, you are weak.
I have heard guys share with me this belief about women:
- ” All women are crazy.”
- “Women are emotional.”
- ” Women are illogical.”
- “Is it PMS?”
These generalizations can be funny.
We all know one lady who is nuttier than squirrel poop.. I mean come ON.
For example, yesterday, I was having a talk with a guy friend and he muttered that “All Women are Illogical.” I’m thinking, OOOOHHHH. Noooo nooo nooo! I was saying how I felt, and that comment made me feel like he was shoving my observation into my overly ‘illogical’ ovary and discounting me completely!
While I understand where men have come up with these beliefs about women, I think making a determination of an entire gender is ludicrous!
There is a cycle of assumptions, miscommunication and hiding feelings to avoid being perceived as weak.
The only resolution I can come to is AUTHENTICITY.
When we fail to be authentic to not appear ‘crazy’…in fact, it often leads to more damage than letting the truth, stand on it’s own.
And as in the case of Mike’s sincere post, ” I am sad.”, the truth is simple and not misunderstood.