Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We all grow up with myths and legends. Some teach us important lessons about life and some truly ill equip us to function well as we grow older. Perhaps one of the most damaging lessons I was taught by watching all those old Hollywood movies, was that men do not openly show affection or emotion - with the possible exception of rage when under enemy fire.

I remember my first day in first grade at Cady School - five blocks from home and I was proud to be old enough to walk it by myself. However, on that first day of school, I ran smack into a pack of local toughs (I think they were a third or fourth grade gang...) who sent me home in tears, my new sweater torn and the picture I drew for my mom ruined. My mom gave me a hug, my dad gave me my first lesson in how to fight - how to defend myself. He told me never to seek out a battle or start one, but that turning the other cheek only gave bullies another place to hit me. He was so fierce about it, that a week later, when the bullies cornered me again, I attacked like a scalded wolverine. I still got beat up, but my dad was proud of me and the bullies left me alone after that. I learned my lesson only too well. It took many years to learn a more important lesson:

Those who carry an emotional load,
Eventually, will be forced to explode!



Life changes things, again and again,
So what I most often feel is chagrin.
And although I may feel tremendous pain,
I was taught I must always keep it in.
I may love and laugh, feel anger and grieve;
I learned that it's proper for men to care.
But I can't wear my heart upon my sleeve -
I should wear emotions like underwear.
I grew up knowing that real men don't cry:
A truth that stories and movies made clear -
There should never be a tear in my eye,
And one thing I must never show is fear!
Yet, I must be alone after a scare,
To change my emotional underwear...

Mick McKellar
December 2007

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