Arthur Dubay wonders why it’s relatively easy for him to open up to strangers, and much more difficult to do so with the ones he loves.
Being a “man” I learned—like many others—how it is socially unacceptable to show a full range of emotions and was taught very early that “men do not cry”. As if being a young man in today’s world isn’t hard enough, we can’t even express our emotions in a safe climate. How are we ever supposed to know how to properly identify the heavier, more complex emotions? Never mind controlling and dealing with them. This has been one of my biggest problems in all of my relationships, romantic or otherwise.
I’ve been in a whirlwind of thought since a minor social awakening was paired with a terrific philosophy teacher in college. I bounced around—from politics, to different philosophical views and practices, back to politics, religion, then generally just learning to better myself as an individual, neighbor, friend, brother, lover, and son. A year or so later I find myself here, observing critically important conversations, thought-fostering, and a form of guidance for many that I can’t even begin to label with words. When I came across an opportunity to not only join in but share from my own personal life through blogging, I was excited and started right away. I had no idea how hard it would be to actually open up.
Deconstructing the walls I have built up throughout my life has been more complex than I had expected. As I began to write and open up, I realized that I have no pen name to hide behind. It’s only me and who I really am. Opening up to strangers is relatively easy for me. It’s the people I see every day, the people I love that makes this so hard. It’s funny because these are the same people who already know that I was molested at a young age or how I tried to kill myself freshman year of high school and spent three weeks in a children’s nut house (which I loved (mostly)). What they don’t know is how it’s all affected me or the power those events had over me as I grew into adulthood.
This is where my struggle begins, not thirty seconds into it. “The task must be made difficult, for only the difficult inspires the noble-hearted.” I try and grind the words out, the emotion is held in by the fear of what my mother, family, and everyone else will think, better yet act. Will they still love me, or will they see me for the emotionally distant narcissist I am? How will I face my friends, or the people I work with and have to see everyday? This all sends a disabling shock throughout my system that starts in my mind, and finishes in my hand. To put it simply; it scares the ever-loving shit out of me. I will be opening up and leaving myself totally vulnerable to not only strangers, but everyone. If you think that sounds crazy, it’s completely foreign too me as well. For the first time in my life, I am going to take down these walls and bear my scars for all to see. Ditch the mold and all of the faux-feelings that come along with fitting into society’s standards of being a “man” and proudly present the me I have spent my life burying. It is here my journey truly begins.
Life has become a cycle of daily hide and seek with our feelings that most of us, including myself, are guilty of multiple times a day. Some people like myself spend their lives behind a veil. I don’t know about you, but I want out. I want meaningful relationships without all of the games and cheapness. I personally cannot remember the last time I opened up in a completely honest manner without heavy drugs. “I’m good, everything is okay, I don’t have a drinking problem,” being the most frequent. Almost always lies, even to myself. I can’t exactly remember when or why, but it has been a behavioral norm of mine for well over a decade. It’s possible I picked it up to get out of therapy when i was around 10 years old. Masking my true feelings became second nature to me.
This is an open letter to my mother, family and friends, people I work with, or anyone who just happens to be reading this. I’m not writing for attention or to be controversial but rather in hopes to not only help myself recover and grow but to also help anyone who may have similar thoughts or troubles. Please hold your pity and before you think about treating me differntly, remember everything that I’ve gone through has made me incredibily resilant and we are just scratching the surface. This is an open letter to strangers, I hope my words can be a message of hope and encouragement, showing you that you are not alone. This is an open letter to the people I see everyday and work with. Should any of you find yourself reading this, please remember that just because you are reading about me in an intimate way, you do not know me. Hold your assumptions, preconceptions, and judgments till the end. This is an open letter to my friends and family. You are the biggest barrier of them all, not because I expect a negative response from anyone. No, I am afraid of letting you down or what you may think. Please don’t think you should have done more or that it’s your fault in any way. Its nobody’s fault but my own, for I had cast you away along time ago. This is an open letter to my mother. I don’t really know what to say, we’ve been best friends and worst enemies. We haven’t always been on the same page and that’s okay. I’m not always the easiest person to deal with, and there are a lot of things I am sorry for. I like where we are now and I don’t want to jeopardize that. Most of all, this is an open letter to myself. For if I should reach a level of regression which weakens my will and dampens my spirit, I can look back upon this and strengthen my will, refresh my spirit, and refocus on my task at hand.