Early this afternoon, I was in my office doing some work when my office mate, and friend, entered. We talked about students, the weather, and some upcoming department parties. Then, she started talking to me about her life and a few of her current hardships.
My friend, oh my friend, she is a poet as well as an instructor. And she’s a damn good poet–one that’s won awards and actually understands postmodern poetry. And just like she emotes in her poems, she too emotes about her life. To the point where I’m often confounded by her emotional connectivity.
To me, many of her problems are nothing to fret about, let alone unleash the tears of a Hurricane strength flood. In my head, I often find myself thinking, “Geez….suck it up. This is so NOT a big deal.”
But today I found myself really admiring her honest approach to life and her feelings. She’s so in tune with what happens around her, and she reacts appropriately. The Buddhists say that we need to celebrate the good and mourn the bad equally, and that here in America, we’re really good at celebrating the good and ignoring the bad. This all equals, to the Buddhists, an unhealthy approach to life and living.
More specifically, in my past, my kick-ass therapist often told me that I was too masculine and that I had lost touch with my feminine side. He explained, rather insightfully, that because my father left when I was young, because I am the oldest child, and because I’ve had kids without a fatherly influence (more specifically with Maddie), I’ve learned to become quite the “man” and assume all the “manly” roles that haven’t been present in my life. This has been of great help in my life and has helped me survive, but it has also been my hinderance. Because I’ve had to stow away my feminine side, I’m therefore not in touch with the many emotions that tend to surface during intangible times (i.e. like my relationships with men and even friends).
O.K. I get that. I see where he’s coming from. And for the most part, I agree. However, now what? How do I get in touch with my feminine side? To this, he didn’t quite have an answer.
So I’ve walked around with this knowledge for a few years now. I’ve tossed it around in my mind, I’ve tried to be more feminine (I’ll wear floral prints occasionally), but overall, I think I’m a big failure in this department.
But sitting listening to my friend this morning, I realized (it was really like the clichéd light bulb went off) that here, right in front of me, was a perfect example of someone who is in touch with her feminine side. Any other time before this realization and I would have argued that my friend was too emotive, too emotional, too connected. That she could deal with her problems much more effectively. That she could be more rational in her life.
But yet, this is such a masculine ideal. Fix things and move on. Instead, my friend feels through her emotions…and brilliantly so. She isn’t cowering in a gutter, crying her eyes out. No, she’s living a healthy, lovely life by actually dealing with her problems.
I know, a monumental thought. Well, probably not for all you normal people, but definitely for me.
So today, instead of chiding my friend inside my head, I listened and am trying to emulate her thought process.
We’ll see if this is beneficial for me, but for now, I’m thankful for this awareness and for my emotionally aware friend.