Friday, 12 November 2010

Tears, Shame and Permission

It has been a while since I posted, the biggest reason being, every time I think about doing a blog post, I can think of about 4 or 5 things to blog about. I should probably blog more often. I'll try to limit this to one topic for now, but several might follow as I try to compartmentalise.

Over the last day or two I have been in a pretty low. Depressed, moody, overwhelmed, stressed, sad; the list could go on. On an intellectual level, I know what I need to do to make things better. I need to make lists, prioritise tasks, and just get things done. I need to find ways to get my needs met. When I have too much to do I find myself paralyzed, and then I don't do anything, which results in me spiralling; angry at myself for being 'lazy', and then time passes and I have more things to do, and feel worse about how long it is taking me to do what I have to do. I feel like I should just get on with things and do them, then they will be done and I won't be stressed anymore. The kick-in-the-butt needed seems out of reach though.

Through all this, I have had an overwhelming desire to cry. I almost cried in counselling on Wednesday, but held back. The Kid has even come right out and said she wants me to cry, and to cry on her. I still feel unable though. Like I have a huge mental block. I have struggled for years with crying. I used to cry a lot, often and easily; I found it a great release. But, over the last few years I seem to have lost the ability. Or rather, the ability to give myself permission. Even when my marriage ended, I didn't cry until weeks later, and only for about 2 minutes.

I don't know what I am afraid of. Possibilites are of being too vulnerable, or feeling un-masculine, or perhaps I am afraid that if I open the taps a bit, there will be a never-ending flood. I struggle with feeling sorry for myself. I don't think I should feel sorry for myself; I have a really good life overall. I feel like crying is selfish and indulgent. I feel like I am supposed to be the strong one, and crying seems weak to me.

I also struggle with the gender norms around crying. Like the adage 'boys don't cry'. While I don't think going out and smashing something up is the proper way to deal with emotions, I struggle with being a man and being that emotionally vulnerable. This is additionally frustrating to me, because I am someone who prides himself in my ability to forgo gender stereotypes, and allow myself to take on roles and behaviours that are considered feminine, as well as those considered masculine. I'm just as comfortable in an apron baking as I am shouting at a football match, or the like. Why do I hold onto this one gender stereotype?

Over the weekend I am going to really try to engineer a time and environment to get a good cry out. What and when that will be, I am not sure. A comfy cuddle, a beating, listening to a sad song on my own, I do not know quite yet. I know that when I do cry, I would really like someone to be there, to cuddle me and comfort me, to witness my vulnerability and to give me permission to be so. I have a very busy weekend coming up, but hopefully I'll be able to get that in.

I have a feeling I will feel much better for it, and perhaps removing that block might let my productivity flow, and free me from this foul mood.

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