Uncle Doogs, tuning back in from One Aardvark World Headquarters. This time I do not share the pleasure of being flanked by James or Pat, for I am here alone. It is a sobering experience spending some time away alone without some of your closest friends around. Hell they aren’t even on the same landmass that I am on! They’re back on the main land while I spend a weekend enjoying some solitude on what use to be a remote island before powered vessels and commercialization. I suppose in some ways I am trying to fulfill my thoughts and wishes of unplugging, as I have alluded to in a previous post, but am failing miserably seeing as AT&T and Comcast provide services down here to keep me forever plugged in.
I told myself I was going to spend a great deal of this time while I am here thinking, writing, reading, and relaxing. I’ve accomplished all of my goals for today thus far. I am now enjoying the tunes of the Allman Brothers (unfortunately not on my stereo but on my MacBook’s speakers), and the taste of a PBR. A friend I have on island is planing a night out, where I am choosing to stay in and write while also thinking about where I would like to go for a bike ride tomorrow. But I have also spent the day in reflection about a topic I’d like to expand more on.
More recently, I received some great feed back regarding a post I wrote a few weeks ago when I was here at World Headquarters. My post, My Failure., has been my most viewed piece of work, and really dives into some extremely personal thoughts and feelings that some may say is blatantly over sharing and something I should have never put my proverbial pen to paper, unless in the matters of a personal journal. Others have gone as far as phone calls to thank me for sharing something so personal and to check in on me. Either way, I am happy I wrote about something, and more importantly to have shared it.
See, I am someone who values people being true, open, and honest. I know not everyone is willing to share painful details of their lives, nor am I saying if you don’t I do not appreciate you and your company. Some people are simply not open like I am. For me being open is my coping mechanism; I openly share if someone asks, “how are you doing?” I am not going to say the typical New Englander, “Good” (when really all the literary people say we should be saying ‘Well’). I don’t have a problem with being a man and crying or showing emotion. All too often we associate someone who is strong, by being someone who has this inability to feel. That could not be more wrong.
Someone who is strong is willing to be in touch with all of their emotions. Anger, love, happiness, sadness, and everything else among all those feelings. Being able to feel them is one thing, being able to talk about those feelings and why you’re feeling them is something else. That is where strength comes into play. Being able to talk about the darkest or hardest moments of your life takes real strength and courage to muster up the ability to open your mouth and put words to how you’re feeling.
We as a society should be encouraging this kind of thinking and behavior with our children now more than ever. For example, a kid feeling angry. It is ok to be angry, but it is not ok to lash out in anger like a child may in a temper tantrum. If a parent can walk their child through the emotions of feeling angry, conveying why they’re angry, and moving forward to a resolution so that child can feel happiness again will make that child stronger than any other kid that is taught to not feel or express their feelings.
This is most notable in young boys. Boys are told not to cry because they need to be tough. I can tell you right now a co-worker of mine who is the hardest, toughest mother fucker you know, cries like a son of a gun, and he is not ashamed of it one bit. It’s call out season if you want to give him a hard time too.
Tying all this back into why I shared what I shared. I wrote something because this blog, OneAardvark, is a release for the three of us. It is a melting pot of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and we are still figuring out our direction. I mean that literally in terms of our blog, but I also mean that in the sense of who we are as three men in our twenties, who are navigating a world that is more complex that ever before. This world is more connected than it ever has been and we are hearing about more and more heinous acts against our fellow-man that are making us all more desensitized by the moment. I want to fight that. I want us all to wake up and feel for once! I challenge all of you, but particularly men, to feel and talk about those feelings and see what that does for you for a change. Some may turn you away coldly, others may welcome you with open arms.
Either way, you’re only doing yourself a disservice by not opening up some.