Going Soft

Growing up I never really had anyone to show me the ropes.

Sure. I had a father who by the time I was age 13 had forced me to know and understand the foundational complexities of moral philosophy. Let’s also not forget that he did me the massive favour of teaching me how to take a beating. A skill that would become priceless in the coming years.

But on the whole. No one taught me how to cook. Or how to wash my clothes. Or properly groom myself.

Instead. I learned to be quick when in the bath. Because the older kids might turn off the hot water. Or dunk me with mop water. Or steal my towel so I would have to try make a dash for my room naked through the halls. Avoiding the boarding house masters so I don’t catch a lashing.

I learned to sleep with one eye open. Because all the older boys like to randomly beat the shit out of you using laundry bags filled with shoes.

I learned of the hatred an contempt that people have for themselves and each other. I experienced it while being hunted in the military. I felt it while getting the shit kicked out of me by police, for the crime of being homeless.

I have had to fight and argue almost every step of the way here. I intimately understand what it means to fight to survive. I have hunted and been hunted. I have hurt and been hurt. I have lost people, and I have added to the overall losses. I have been burned and I have basked in the flames as I watch the flames consume everything the light touches.

Understanding this now. It makes sense to me. All this intensity I carry. It didn’t just appear one day. It was slowly grown, nurtured and cultivated. And no matter how strong the impulse to point fingers and blame anyone or anything my small mind can wrap itself around; I know now that I did this to myself.

It might have been done out of ignorance. But it is on me, nonetheless.

Just like how learning to let go of that intensity in the moment and allowing myself to be soft isn’t someone else’s responsibility but my own.

There have been many times in the past where I have fooled myself into thinking that there was this silent understanding that men had be tough. An expectation to not show any emotion. To never display the raging storm of feelings outside. To bottle it up, push it way down and carry on stoically. And I tried to live my life like this. I let people do whatever the fuck they wanted to me. Push me around. Stand all over me. And I wouldn’t react. I didn’t want to be unsightly.

When has anyone every actually stopped me in the middle of the street and told me off for being too emotional? Like. No one has actually ever done anything remotely like that. So then where the hell does that come from?

I have felt my mind go as I have mercilessly fought with myself to withhold, stifle and pushdown. I have felt myself crack inside from the herculean effort of holding back sobs and tears. Holding the nightmarish storm of chaos inside of me. Stopping it from coming out. Why? For what?

There is strength in vulnerability. In understanding and accepting my weaknesses and working with them. As opposed to ignoring them and operating as if they don’t exist.

Like all people; I am a creature of habit. Eventually doing things one way leaves me believing there are no other ways of doing things. A convenient lie. A deviation from reality that I myself fostered and latched onto.

If I am ever going to change, and I mean really change; I am going to have to learn being comfortable showing earnest weakness. Instead of gritting my teeth and tensing up like a balled fist aimed at everything standing in my way.

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