It’s weird, the love thing, how it can be the most fantastic thing in the world, that also fucks you up to the point of clinical insanity.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life thinking about love. In different stages of my life, I’ve thought about different aspects of it. For a long time, it’s been about how we experience it, how it feels individually, how we can be sure that it’s love.
I’ve been comparing it to the annoying color-question. Is the red I see the same color as someone elses red? We’ve been taught that this color is red, but it could be my blue for someone else, and we can’t really be sure. The thing is, I have no problem imagining that. I can totally understand it, I can picture the grass being purple and understand that for someone, this might be their green.
I can’t imagine someone else feeling the same love for me as I feel for them. I can’t picture it from the outside, I can’t feel it in my imaginary other person, as I can with the colors. Unless I picture it as another woman.
I can’t imagine a man loving me. How fucked up is that?
When my boyfriend tells me that he loves me, my gut is telling me that he’s lying. He’s only saying it to make me happy. He’s only saying it because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I keep asking him if he’s sure – which is so unbelievably unfair. I know he loves me. I trust him, and I know he means it when he says it. But I can’t feel it, I can’t imagine him having the same feeling of love as I do.
There are, for sure, plenty of reasons for that, daddy issues, broken hearts, all that jazz. If you look beyond the fact that my father disappeared when I was 12-ish, the fact that I’ve been naïve more times than I care to admit and blindly trusted men saying they loved me, even when it was obvious they didn’t, I think there is something more to it.
Because men can’t have the same soft feelings as women. I can picture men feeling the same anger as me, the same determination, the same frustration, and to a certain extend, the same happiness. But love? Sadness? Heartbreak? No.
And then it dawned on me. Even though all the things above are true, this has nothing to do with me. This is not something coming from me. The core of all this is not about me at all. It’s, in reality, not a problem that is mine, it’s a not a problem that is hurting me as much as it is hurting someone else.
Jesus fucking flying Christ. I’ve rarely seen men expressing these emotions. I’ve seen them so scarcely throughout my life, that I can’t even imagine men having them at all. And now, I feel so guilty for making this a problem that affects me in such a harsh way, when in reality, it’s something that is tearing men apart.
But it’s both. I don’t think I fully understood, I didn’t feel, the extent of the tremendous damage toxic masculinity does, until I had this weird realization on the bus the other day. It has a ripple effect, and if we don’t kill it at its core, it’ll never stop. I want to be sure that the men in my life love me. I want it to be okay for men to love me. I want men to be able to be sad, hurt, scared, without worrying about social consequences, without worrying that it will make them a lesser man.
I want to feel that a man loves me, because I’ve been shown every day that men love the same way I do.
There. The most selfish approach to toxic masculinity. But it’s the truth and I can’t pretend that I’ll fight this without hoping it will make my world better too. I’m hoping that men will talk to other men, that men can cuddle with each other, that men can be giddy and pink, that men can cry, just because they need to. I hope that the rate of depression, and suicide, in men will plummet, since it’s absolutely insane.
I can’t help but wonder, if I’ve been contributing to the problem myself. I think I might have. Me questioning these emotions in men all the time, expressing that I maybe don’t fully believe that they have them at all, that could perhaps make them question it themselves. If I had to confirm, over and over again, that I actually do feel like this, I would probably end up wondering if there was something to it. If it’s not perceived as love, then is it really? Can I really be sure that I’m not lying? Am I doing it wrong? I better shut the hell up, because either I’m doing it wrong, or I’m not feeling it all. I don’t want to be questioned, so I’ll just not show it.
I would end up doing that. And even though it might be a stupid, even childish, way of handling it, I would still do it. I’m for sure not the only one who would do that.
I’ll do my very best to stop questioning you. I’ll do my very best to show how happy I am that you tell me. I’ll do my very best to show how much I love you too.
Dear men. I love you. From the bottom of my heart, I love you – and I trust that you love me too, when you say it.