At the time of night when men find themselves alone with their thoughts, we question our lives, decisions and impact on others. We unlock the box that we stow away by day, and experience the range of emotions that society tells us to suppress. Chief among them is regret for our wrongs, both recent and distant. I also think of what has happened since then, and the unhealthy ways that I’ve tried to cope. That train of thought inspired the following op-ed on the healing process between the sexes.
Women bend, while men break. If you’ve never seen a man lose the woman he loves, you’ve never seen a trainwreck in HD. He doesn’t care about anything, least of all himself. Men will throw away careers (a la Tiger), families (a la Kobe), even lives (a la OJ). Not to discount women’s grief at losing love, but I’d prefer to take an L as a woman. Men don’t know how to properly grieve, which can turn to aggression against others, or self-destruction. Women are willows, and men are oak trees.
Proverbs says that love is patient, and love is kind. What it doesn’t say is that love can hurt, and love can kill. Love will have you doing things you never thought you would do, self-medicating in unbelievable amounts, and showing no self-restraint whatsoever. Men do the equivalent of Bon-Bons and Sex in the City marathons, in dangerously destructive ways.
For the oak tree male, healing takes shape in the form of TNA (Titties and Ass) or DNA (Drugs and Alcohol). Society conditions us not to show weakness, to take our lumps in stride, and to be onto the next as soon as the unfollow occurs. So in the dark, we numb the pain with milligrams, grams or ounces of our preferred narcotic. We think, if I can just stave off the pain for just a little while, it won’t hurt so much. Of course, when we come down, we say, I’m not quite ready to deal with it yet. Let’s go back up AND call whatshername. Its an unhealthy cycle.
The emotional pain can be felt physically. I’ve been dopesick, and I’ve been lovesick. I’d rather kick a prescription painkiller habit again than lose a woman I love any day. Night sweats, joint aches and insomnia are much preferred to perfect health and an ailing heart. At least i knew how long one would last. But love loss comes with emotional symptoms that can manifest themselves years and relationships later. There are many types of hells, but heartbreak is a special one.
Women always say, “Well, if you really loved her, you wouldn’ta fucked it off.” So, by that logic, will a man not sin because he loves God? Will a driver not speed because he values his license? How can an imperfect soul do anything unfailingly? I think people judge others by the end result, but judge themselves by their intentions. They walk away because they are unwilling to accept the shortcomings they received from their relationship. But when you see what’s out there, its not as appealing as it seemed when you were connected the ball-and-chain.
You need to understand that Super-Niggas don’t exist. You leave one, in search of someone with less flaws, only to discover that the next one has their own private raging dumpster fire. So then, you should be looking for a person whose mistakes you can tolerate, if for no other reason than your unyielding love for that individual. Their strengths and flaws are one and the same, like a guy who’s ambitious and accomplished but doesn’t pay much attention to his woman because he’s so focused. The same thing you admire might be the same thing you despise. So pick your poison, because true love is not about finding the perfect love, its about accepting an imperfect love perfectly.
But I digress.
Women have two major advantages in the healing process: her tears and her support system. And its no coincidence that men in general, lack both. The willow woman cries tears containing depressant chemicals. Tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make-up than those for lubrication; they contain protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and Leu-enkephalin (a natural painkiller). That’s right, women cry harmful chemicals out of their bodies. Mary J Blige was right all along.
Ask a guy the last time he cried. You’ll probably get an answer measured in years, not months. We don’t cry anymore; we keep all of those bad chemicals inside, while adding new ones from the bar or the neighborhood plug. Unless he decides for himself to put back the pieces and move on, no one is gonna help him beyond the perfunctory “you good?”.
Women also have the benefit of venting to their families, friends and even rebound guys. Women naturally tune into their surroundings, which is why a group living together will eventually start menstruating together. Physically and emotionally, a woman will mold to her environment. When she’s in pain, her entire support system feels that pain. And when they respond with positivity and love, she eventually builds herself back up.
Mens’ only support system is his woman. So when he loses her, his legs are cut out from underneath him. He has to grow them back, which is why men walk different forever afterward. We are taught to keep our own counsel, bear our discomfort in silence, and look to no one but self for reliance. As good as it sounds, it is unhealthy, and causes a myriad of problems if left unchecked.
Every time I lost a woman, I had to heal on my own. I fought it, I self-medicated, but nothing ever improved until I faced my mistakes and the pain it caused head-on. Do not misunderstand me: I do not mean to discount the grieving process of women, who often must heal through the worst imaginable mistreatment of men. I just wish that guys didn’t have to face life so utterly, helplessly alone. But I guess its the price we pay for having a dick, the thing that all women wish, for one day, they could have.