In the wake of breaking his wife’s heart, John Taylor questions what it means to be a man.
“The best way I had to show love, complete truth and honesty, was also causing the worst pain I ever could. That’s what it feels like to be the guy to bring the heavens crashing down.”
I told my wife that even if I thought she was only giving 50% then it should have been my job to give 150%. Instead, I gave her absolutely nothing. I am indeed, as the following day’s text from an unknown number suggested, “a giant bag of sh*t.” Indeed sir or maddame, you are correct. Thanks for the reminder. Nothing ever makes it okay to cheat your partners love like that. You don’t have to tell me how that is.
I can’t hear anything, see anything, touch, taste, or feel, without hurting. But I am not hurting for me. It goes like this: The best way I had to show love, complete truth and honesty, was also causing the worst pain I ever could. That’s what it feels like to be the guy to bring the heavens crashing down. And what am I supposed to do with that?
For the rest of my life, I will carry the weight of those heavens. I chose a lifetime of pain, the moment I stopped giving to my marriage. I chose my wife’s tears, I chose my son’s behavior because he is so confused and sad because he doesn’t understand. I chose the snide remarks, the burning stares, and the physical hurt. Is that being a man? Or would a real man never have allowed those choices to be made?
I guess that is really a moot question at this point. I can’t go and change it now. If I could swallow all of the far-reaching pain, I would do so without a single drop to drink. Because I would deserve to choke on every crumb that fell through my throat. My mind is numb. My heart aches and bleeds, and at anytime, it is sure to explode. My muscles ache, they twitch, they constrict.
I have nobody to point to except myself. My wrongdoing makes the pain of so many others my pain to carry. I can’t be mad about it. I don’t have the right to be. All I can do is just take it more and more and more. Why? There is a wife that told me she loved me this morning. There is a wonderful, beautiful, angelic woman, who told me this morning that she knows that I love her.
Man up. What does it really mean? In a time where I have never felt more pain, more sorrow, more _______ which is that feeling I can’t even explain—I think I have found its meaning.
It means having the ears to hear the remarks. It means having the eyes to see the hurt in hers. It means showing my son that a real man is weak as well as strong; showing him that real manhood is learning from weakness to become stronger. It means enduring the physical pain it causes, and still having the strength to carry that weight forever.
It means spending every last damn breath I take, trying once again to take hers away. God knows we are worth it. I will spend the rest of my life showing that I want to be hers. It means having the courage to not close my eyes when hers are overflowing. It means knowing, always knowing, and always accepting, that I will never again be seen through the same eyes that I first gazed into at that Winston-Salem bus station.
Piece by piece. Ash by ash. I will be clearing the rubble for all time. The act of being a man now only consists of one realization: That I never was one before, and that may be the most unfortunate realization that came one lifetime too late.
Photo of young man courtesy of Shutterstock.