His friends found his new-found vulnerability and tenderness threatening, and she understands why.
So you think my husband is a “pussy?”
Ask yourself what that makes you.
Are you open to considering the idea that it could possibly mean that you yourself are scared to accept another man’s vulnerability and feelings as simply his truth in that moment because you’re afraid by doing so you’ll expose that part in you that you’ve worked so hard to hide from everyone around you? Are you afraid that if you allow another man his feelings your heart might begin to break open and you won’t be able to hold back the lifetime of pain you’ve worked so hard to contain? And then what? Are you afraid you might turn into a pussy too?
Ask yourself this question, how’s your relationship with your partner, your kids, your friends, yourself? Do you feel connected, loved and accepted for who you really are? Does your partner desire connection from you, but feels that you’re emotionally unavailable?
I watched my husband transform from a big, burly, angry, disconnected, resentful, guarded, and unhappy man who I dreaded to see walk in the door when he came home from work, to an openhearted, authentic, loving, safe, vulnerable man who I deeply love and respect more than ever.
He is now the type of man I am grateful to have helping me raise my sons and daughter. He’s a man whose love for his children is so deep and real that he refuses to let his ego get in the way of having a healthy, connected, authentic, relationship with them.
He can own his mistakes now, setting an example of benevolence and the fostering of humanity. He loves and accepts his children for who they really are, big feelings and all. No longer will he shut them down for expressing anger and upset, instead he makes space for them to have whatever uncomfortable feelings they are having and he strives to make sure those feelings are heard and validated.
It took tremendous courage to do what he has done. It’s not an act of a “pussy.” It takes a strong, brave man to face his fear, to stand in the heat of the fire and let down his guard when he’s truly terrified. Especially when, in his darkest hour, when he needed the support of his buddies most, he experienced so much discomfort from those he always thought would have his back. At the first sign of emotion from him they began to turn their backs. This is when he learned a new term for when friends disappear from your life without so much as a word. It’s called ghosting. And it hurts.
In my book a “pussy” is someone who spends their existence hiding who they really are and what they really think and feel for fear of being found out or judged for having these horrific unspeakable things we dare not give notice to – most of us call them feelings.
I get it, I do. I get why this man’s vulnerability and honesty scares you. It’s just so foreign in this culture. Consider that from the time you were a small boy you were programmed to believe that it was bad to have feelings. That it’s not okay to cry, because crying would warrant getting something to “REALLY” cry about, right?
You learned from an early age that if you got hurt, the very people who were supposed to love and protect you told you to walk it off, regardless of (or maybe in spite of) the bruises and tears. They told you that you were OK, they told you to “Man up.” As you came of age you began to hear “don’t be a pussy.” It must have been terrifying to think that if you weren’t careful someone might call you out and see that deep down you really felt like a big ole pussy.
You were robbed my friend. You were robbed the day you were born a male in a culture that is conditioned to devalue your truth at all costs. You were robbed of your God-given right to own your own feelings. You were taught that your feelings were bad and wrong, that you were a “pussy” if you even tried to own them.
I’m not judging you for where you are, it’s where you are. I am giving you a heads up though. Things are changing, and soon you’ll find yourself at a crossroads. Your life will start to fall apart (if it’s not doing so already) and it will slip through your armored fingers if you aren’t willing to accept that you have been robbed and wounded and that the pain of this loss has become too unbearable to ignore anymore. Some of you will continue to find ways to numb the hurt, some will continue to deny it, minimize and make a joke of it. I feel for you.
What I know of the man you mock for being a “pussy” is that he will still be there for you in the end to help you pick up the pieces if you ask. He’ll hold no resentment for you even if you’ve turned your back on him, nor will he judge you for your struggle. He will show you unconditional understanding and compassion for your plight. He will sit in the heat of the discomfort with you as you sort out the confusion and angst of your life. How do I know he will do this for you? Because that’s the kind of man he is.
Ask yourself this question, “Is living an unhappy, unfulfilled life of disconnection, stuffed emotions, and stressful pretense of having “it all together” really worth it to avoid the possibility of being called a “pussy?”
This is where you get to choose what kind of man you want to be, what kind of life you want to live. Are you ready to face your fears and wake up to the possibilities that life has to offer you?
NOTE: The author’s views on the use of the word “pussy” are not in line with how the word is used in our culture or in this article. It is merely being used in this way to reflect the judgment society offers.
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Photo: Flickr/Jeremiah Roth