Three events over the last few weeks have helped me to re-consider my approach to telling the truth. You know that moment when your wife comes out in a new dress, as you are getting ready to go out for a celebration dinner. The moment you see it you think it is hideous and she asks you if she looks good in it. You stand in thought for a moment—not too long otherwise she will know something is wrong—deciding whether to tell the truth. The problem is deciding what the truth is, and deciding how to say it to her.
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These are just some of the international reactions to the President’s recent Executive Order closing down access to the US from citizens of specific Muslim countries. It is important that US citizens understand how this extraordinary situation is being greeted by people outside of the US.
I have never been a fan of football in the UK. It has, for me, been too closely associated with racism and violence. Football (or soccer as it is called in the US) is a man’s game in the world outside the US. It brings men together and creates an atmosphere where they can bond and experience the rituals of battle in a safe atmosphere. It has been accepted as an essential part of British and European male culture.
We sat in the cafe, me drinking an Americano and she a Capuccino, talking about our past, feeling our way through the pain and shame of our previous lives. The partners we had mistreated and been mistreated by. The parents who had shamed us into submission, who had distorted our views of reality. Mostly we talked about how long it had taken us to understand and accept the culture of domination and suppression, the culture we had both, unknowingly, bought into many years ago.
We all get angry at times. When we feel we’re threatened we react with anger. But we know people who get overly angry or their anger causes problems with their relationships at home or at work. I was one of those people.
I lay under the duvet cover screaming, screaming out loud. I could feel the break coming. I felt helpless and hopeless and I did not know what to do, I did not know how to deal with my wife, with my life. I was lost; as a husband, as a man, as Graham. I knew something was wrong, something more than the clash of brute force and stubbornness, something more than titan struggle that had been going on downstairs. I was so lost I could not even work out what was wrong, I just wanted the world to go away.
Most of us do not want to talk about sex because we do not want to face the truth. We believe that those that do talk about sex are not telling the truth. At least we hope they are not telling the truth.
Men hide vulnerability and shame under a mask of emotional control, work, status and violence. How can they throw off the mask and start living in the power of vulnerability?