I’m a man. And at times, I hesitate to write about my feelings and my experiences. There has always been this stigma with men; about how we’re always supposed to be strong and rigid. We’re always expected to act like rocks; like nothing can faze us especially when it comes to the matters of the heart. But I’m so over that narrative. I’m not subscribing to that kind of mindset. While feelings and emotions make me uncomfortable, I still need to be able to talk about them; to write about them.
And right now, I want to write about something that makes me incredibly unhappy. I want to write about something that frustrates the hell out of me. I want to write about something that I am deeply bitter about: love. Because I’m just plain tired of hearing about how heartbreak shouldn’t be something that should be affecting me so much on the count of I am a man. I am sick and tired of just listening to people telling me to suck it up and move on; as if my feelings are invalidated purely because I’m not a woman.
I hate being told that I have to just keep everything bottled up inside because I know that that is only going to end up breaking me even further. I had my heart broken, and I need to do something about it. It’s something that I might not ever be able to recover from completely. And I know that it’s an uphill climb towards where I want to be in my life again. I get really sick as I am forced to confront the skeletons in my closet. I am carrying so much emotional baggage that I don’t really know how long I can keep this pace up. I feel like there are certain nagging questions in my mind that I just don’t have the answer to.
It makes me just want to retreat to my bedroom and go to sleep until all of my problems go away. I feel like there is an endless sensation of needles that are pricking my skin; forcing me to come to terms with the sad reality of my situation. My mind is betraying me. It’s forcing me to really think about the things that give me a deep an uneasy feeling in my stomach. It’s really forcing me to confront ideas that I don’t know how to comprehend. A lot of times, I can find the occasional thing to distract myself with. I can put a lot of energy and attention into focusing on the more positive things in life.
But then, my mind somehow drags me back to thinking about how I lost a love that I could have kept together. I am a man who really understands what heartbreak is like because I’ve lived it. I’m still living it and it’s driving me crazy that not enough men feel safe to talk about how traumatizing this experience is. A lot of men my age who are in the same position as me feel like they have to pretend to feel nothing at all; to go about their days as if nothing as changed. But I can’t seem to bring myself to do that. Life as I know it has changed; and I still don’t know if that change is for the better or worse. And I’m scared. I’m frightened out of my own mind.
But I’ve had my time to really think about it and this is what I’ve come up with so far. Any man who can act like a breakup doesn’t affect him is a man who has never really known love. Because any person who has gotten the chance to experience love for what it truly is; love in its purest form, is a man who would never want to lose that love. And having lost a true love, I know what it feels like to have my whole world turned upside down. I know what it’s really like to experience loss and regret. I know what it’s really like to have uncertainty and remorse thrust my way. And these aren’t things that one can just ignore.
These are things that one can just choose to suppress. And that’s how I know that I’m a real man; because I allowed myself to fall in love the way that I was supposed to. I let myself become vulnerable; because I know that that is a prerequisite to falling in love and being intimate with another being. Yes, I now suffer the pain of having lost someone I loved. But that’s okay. I am secure enough in my manhood to know that my love was real. And you know what they say: it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.