So I have been having a weird and interesting feeling ever since the weekend with the guys. I have not been able to figure it out until this evening while talking to my friend Lynn, and texting a bit with my friend Chelsey.
I have been feeling a rawness since the weekend. A conflicted feeling. And I haven’t understood why, or what it is about. I have been reacting strangely to posts online from my Temple mates…mostly the women. I have felt somewhat of a pulling back on my part when I read what they are doing and their responses to events, classes, etc. I think….I think….that part of that has to do with a sense of having hoped for more of a reception regarding the guys finally getting together. What does ‘more’ mean? I don’t know. But I can tell you know that I believe it to have been a symptom.
Here’s what I have come to so far….and I really hope to hear from folks about this. Many of you know that I was raised around many women and girls and feminine energy. I spoke of it in my previous post of the other evening. I’m very grateful for that upbringing, and the sensitivity and insight it has left me. And I have always been in touch with that feminine side of me…again, mentioned in the previous entry. After talking a little more about it today, what has come to me is an awareness during the weekend (maybe I should start capitalizing that) of some knee-jerk reactions to things that were said….and things that I said. Nothing bad at all! But I felt a sense of ‘oh, I shouldn’t have said that’…or ‘oh, that’s not right’. Now, for this weekend, I chose to keep myself open to whatever might happen, whatever part of myself wanted to be unblocked…unguarded. I believe I achieved that.
I have a huge respect for women. Partly because of growing up in the 60s and 70s, there was never any doubt in my mind that women could do whatever they chose to do. Who was I to say they couldn’t? I think I also grew up with a different set of ‘rules’, if you will. The simplest ones are fairly commonly known….leave the toilet seat down when you’re done….don’t go into the purse….things like that. Also, there are things that you can say and things that you can talk about, and then there are those you can not. There is language you can use, and that which is not appropriate. That’s all fine, and I got that good and clear, and I have had no problem with it.
I’m not so sure that being a boy was addressed as well. Now, I want to say this first before I continue….this is NOT any indictment of any of my upbringing as anything planned. I don’t blame anyone So please be aware of that. Now, growing up, I was around my mother, my aunt, my grandmothers, and my sisters. My father worked a lot, and was often not available much before bedtime. Also…remember, I was already experiencing abuse that early, so the walls were up already. (A reminder….not from anyone in my immediate family.) So I was learning all the feminine sensitivities…but not really exploring much of the masculine. My father liked to go out in the yard or the front and play baseball catch. I was never too interested in that….maybe more in the time with him. He took me fishing on occasion. Not for me. We didn’t talk much, though. That is more to do with his history, and my abuse walls….not because he was a bad father. He was not. And into all of this, let’s remember….I knew I was gay. That was a huge secret. Another wall. Another barrier.
So then….and I’m still not quite sure yet what this means….but I have never really explored my masculine. I understand men in terms of either their physical and what I wish to do with them…or have done. I have understood men who have been so much smarter than me….so much more wisdom. And I have appreciated the conversations with those men. But what is it to be a man? to be male? I really don’t like expressions like ‘be a man’ or ‘man up’ or such…even ‘little man’ arches my eyebrow. Many of those stereotypes are lost on me….I don’t even agree with many of them. I think it’s partly because of being gay. I think it’s also partly due to my upbringing. And partly because they are just inaccurate. When I have heard a sister and her husband say things to their 8 year old son like ‘…crying like a girl…’, the hackles rise. He’s EIGHT, for Lord and Lady’s sake! Let him be. What I mean to speak of here is the pressures on both sides…both genders….regarding what it ‘means’ to be male or female. Society imposes these strongly, and because of such, I think it is harder for people to be in touch with both sides of themselves.
So I spent time with two cool guys last weekend….both straight, both half my age. We were on retreat, and we talked a LOT. About a lot of things. And as I said earlier, I was keeping myself open to whatever might happen, One thing that seems to have happened is that many of the afore-mentioned knee-jerk reactions were met with ‘No…it’s ok here. I can say this. We can say this. It is ok.”…withing myself. There was a relaxing. A touch of wonder that it really was ok in that place with those people. It was somewhat freeing…and as it appears, somewhat scary. Gay or straight had nothing whatsoever to do with it. It was a few guys hanging out. As an adult, I can’t remember the last time I had this experience this way. And the wisdom these guys have is really remarkable, and I’m grateful for it.
This evening, when I was texting a bit with my friend Chelsey, I mentioned that I was feeling a bit of a lump in my throat. And for the first time in a long time, a part of me thought “oh, come on, now! Really? Again?’…and the like. I became aware of similar struggles since The Weekend. (There…I did it.) Now….no one at my Temple and at my kindred family have ever shown me that there was anything wrong with showing my emotions. It is well known that I do. Since The Weekend, I have suddenly felt shy and silly about that. I didn’t know why until this evening in talking with Lynn and Chelsey. For whatever reason, and through no fault of anyone else, I was taught that this was not right. Not appropriate. Now, my feminine side says that it is absolutely alright. Apparently, what my masculine understands is that maybe that is not. Not for a man. None of the guys I had The Weekend with would ever want me to feel that way. So I know they did nothing. The women in my kindred folk have shown me other sides of women that I have enjoyed becoming more comfortable with. I even have something of a kick-name there….’blubberbutt’….and I LOVE it! It affectionately shows me that I can be that way, and that it’s alright there. There. But being with the guys gave me a glimpse into my masculine that has taken me 50 years….and these guys, apparently….to see.
I find it somewhat frightening….and intriguing….and mysterious….and though it scares me some, I want to explore more. I can’t wait for more events like this. And yet, right now, I have a mound on my plate. (No, they are not pierogis with flaming hot nuts in them….)
I would really love feedback on this, and insights as well. And I’m grateful that you read me.