I’ve acquired a reputation as someone who is easy going and jovial, doesn’t sweat the small stuff, driven, and positive. I laugh and make others laugh a lot, and have been told that I give sage advice and am a person that people can talk to when they are feeling down. I’ve taken my personality and “marketed” it if you will, as something that I am proud of, and encouraged others to take bits and pieces and apply it to their lives.
The truth is, I am human. What do I mean by that? I go through the same emotions as everyone else: anger, fear, sadness, depression, elation, happiness, anxiety, etc, etc. What’s the difference? I don’t show anyone these emotions. I was taught that as a man, you aren’t supposed to show weakness. You are always supposed to show strength and the ability to grasp control of a situation. If you can’t control a situation, then you manage it. You are never to show weakness.
As my lady’s pregnancy has progressed, the questions have been coming at a frequent clip. “Are you ready?”. “Are you nervous?”. “Are you scared?”. “Have you been thinking about it?”. And I can go on. I put up the usual answers: “No, not scared.” “I’m fine.” “I’m happy.” “I’m ready.” When I’m alone, I’ll sit, meditate, and try to empty my head of all the fears and anxiety that sit in there as I wait for my daughter to be born. I still wrestle with the programming on a daily basis and don’t share what i’m feeling unless it’s positive. My thought is, why should I burden anyone with my issues, when I could be helping them, be strong for them, make them laugh, etc. When I get into arguments with my loved ones, I can get called lots of names, and I’ll act like it doesn’t bother me, or I’ll let it go. The truth is it does hurt..and it hurts for a while. I just do what I’ve been programmed to do and push it way down until I bury it and then move on from it.
Why am I writing about my issues on a blog dedicated to being a father? I don’t want to pass along this programming. My programming came from a generation that saw and did things differently. In many ways, I had to teach myself and deprogram myself of many of those things. This is something I try to work on daily. It’s important that I teach my daughter how to feel, emote, and not be afraid to use her words to describe what she’s feeling. Bottling up your feelings leads to deep bouts of depression and loneliness. Not to mention, it wreaks havoc on your body. I want to teach her that it’s ok to come and talk to me, to talk to her mother, her aunts, her uncles, cousins, friends, and anyone that she trusts whenever she needs to.
If you are surprised by what you’ve read, don’t be. I’m sure there are tons of people out there like me who were programmed to think and feel, or rather, not feel, the way I do. I’m a work in progress; some days are better than others but I’m trying. The most important thing is that I talk to my daughter, and teach her how to use her words to express herself without feeling scared, nervous, or anxious about it.