Masculinity, Divorce and Loving Yourself
This post includes a series of vignettes from Carlos Quevedo, exploring different topics tying common themes of gender, setting boundaries, being intentional, and loving yourself.
I Want To Show Myself To You
Men are expected to be stoic and thick skinned, that's not me. I cry watching a rom com or an anime. Hell, I cry because it's Tuesday. All my life I have been told that a fundamental part of my character and personality was a flaw. It's always been strange to me that the problem was me caring too much, not that they didn't care at all. A lot of my thoughts on being an emotional man go back to one undeniable truth, men are absolute trash. Anything I learned in my life worth retaining or keeping I learned from a woman. Being there for people, understanding them and willing to sacrifice money and time. Women. What did I "learn" from men? Emotional manipulation, entitlement, a biblical sense of superiority. I'm an empath, I care for people. Not in that "I'm sorry" empty words kind of way. I'm talking about that "tell me what you need and it's yours" kind of way. This was shown to me by you guessed it, women.
"I want to be vulnerable in front of you. I want to show myself to you, not who I present myself to be."
I'm constantly being told I'm too sensitive, I handle things "like a woman", by my own mother no less. I would have never thought twice about playing certain kinds of music in front of people until I was told "why are you playing that, there aren't any girls here". I didn't know telling my friends I love them and want the best for them made them so uncomfortable. I'm stuck performing masculinity because sometimes I just don't want to deal with the judgement that comes with me simply being myself. I am into plenty of things "the average guy" is into but do I want to spend entire conversations and build friendships around that? I want to talk about what love means to you, what it means to me. I want to be vulnerable in front of you. I want to show myself to you, not who I present myself to be. I want us to Laugh together, but be there for each other's tears. Everyone is emotional. I am tired of not being able to simply show people who I am.
Divorce And Needing True Guidance
When I finally came to the conclusion that my divorce needed to happen I wanted guidance. I turned to my friends, that was a mistake. Every piece of "advice" was centered around the idea that the person I loved and cared for was somehow this evil villain that I should have never been with in the first place. The idea that I need to rationalize my pain and grief by demonizing someone I care about makes absolutely no sense to me. I don't want to hate her, I don't want to treat her like a stranger. I'm a big believer in community and this is one of those times that I wish I had it here.
"The same way we worry about someone's book smarts is the same way we need to worry about people's emotional intelligence too."
Even now there is no one I can turn to, no one that I can ask for advice that will edify me and actually help. I internalize so many things because when I vent, I end up having to explain to people that negativity about my former significant other is not what I want to hear. The same way we worry about someone's book smarts is the same way we need to worry about people's emotional intelligence too. This experience has shown me that so many people don't know how to deal with and process things without making themselves a victim. There are many situations like that certainly, but mine is not one of them. I'm simply someone looking for guidance and some positive affirmation, sometimes.
I feel like I failed, sometimes I feel like I'm unworthy of being loved. I just want someone to tell me that's not true. I know it isn't but sometimes I just want to hear it. I don't need to hear that the person I was married to for two years is horrible. I don't need to hear that she doesn't care about me, because that isn't true either. I ask for advice, but end up being the one explaining that there are no villains, just two people who made mistakes and are coming to terms with a hard decision. I could always use some guidance, and, in my current spaces, that isn't going to happen.
Relationships should always be intentional. Have people around because you want them there. Make them feel that way, it matters. Save someone's day with a text, a call, a kind word. Doesn't matter whether you talk for five hours or five minutes. That's fuel for the day. You know the types of affection the people you love want to receive, give it to them. Sometimes you have to remember to be a friend. Don't give freely though, no matter how much you might want to. Not everyone deserves your time, your dedication, your affection. If they're not intentional and straight forward with you, let them go. You deserve better, you are worth it. Don't sell yourself short. We tell people (especially women) to give freely and sacrifice while getting absolutely nothing in return, that is harmful, stop that. It's ok to set boundaries. It's ok to decide who you do or don't want in your space. You don't owe anyone anything. While you love one another, don't forget to love yourself.
Don't Apologize For Being Yourself
You don't need to perform for people. If they can't handle your lows don't share your highs with them. Don't drain yourself with fair weather "friendships" and one sided emotional labor. Be conscious of people's manipulation, love yourself. Don't deal with people who only pretend to see your humanity when they want something from you. Prioritize yourself. For 2017 and the future, remember that YOU OWE NOTHING. Anyone who tells you you do is not worth holding on to.
As an empath I understand how hard this is to do. But if you care about your own survival, you'll reflect and see who's worth keeping. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you. Surround yourself with people who see your humanity. Surround yourself with love. Have standards, be HIGH MAINTENANCE. You are worth it, don't compromise what's important for people not willing to put in the work. Be as picky with your plutonic relationships as you are with your romantic ones. Don't ever settle. Make sure you love and are being loved.
~Carlos Quevedo, an anime/manga video game enthusiast dedicated to understanding people and showing them that good still exists