"Pull it together"...when he said it, I wasn't so surprised by the harshness of the words, or that they came out of this particular mouth, but that I might appear as if I didn't have "it" together. I thought I did. What does one expect when you make light of cancer, knowing my situation, how fresh the wound is...even if you have lost both parents to cancer, it still doesn't mean you understand what I have gone through. Of course my jaw will clench, my face will get red, and if I am pushed more, the fire will fly. As the argument ensued I realized that the problem was not mine, but his not wanting to deal with emotion. I told him that I could be a cold hearted bitch with no feelings if that's what he wanted. The response was clear "Why don't you try that then?"
We sat in silence on the ride back to my car, the would be lunch date went bad before it had started. The realization that I was looked upon as weak because I had emotions had soured any appetite I had for food, conversation, and at the moment even friendship.
Don't misunderstand. I have heard many versions of the statement in my short life. It hasn't always come from men either. Women who were jaded and cynical from the career field we are in pushed me to the brink of tears many times until finally I had grown a tougher skin. You can't get away with freezing on the job because something gets you emotional. You can't allow your heart to get in front of your head. You have to be caring without caring too much. This isn't a new concept for me. However, just as I was able to leave my troubles at the door when I came home, I was able to leave that person behind when dealing with people I loved and cared about as well.
When I became a military wife the sentiment was the same when my husband dealt with his soldiers. "Lock it up" was the term I got used to hearing. The one thing I appreciated was he never used that mentality on me. Never forced me to be someone I wasn't. He knew that although I can be a very rational and level headed person, there's still a part of me that needs to be emotional too. I asked him once, what was so wrong with emotion? Didn't that go hand in hand with passion? Didn't passion drive people? He could only say that emotion got in the way of rationale. Good decisions weren't based on emotion. Again, the wonderful man I married never tried to force away my emotions unless he was trying to get me to see something important that my heart wouldn't let me see. I was always wrapped up in his love no matter what, so even if I felt offended I knew it came from a loving place.
That's a lot of what I miss now. The feeling of safety. Not in a physical sense, I'm a packin' mama and I'll scratch your eyes out with my bare hands if you try to hurt me or my daughter. No, I miss the safety of knowing no matter what the world thought of me, there was always that other soul on my side. No matter what I thought of myself, he was always going to see me in a better light.
I get that some people don't like emotion, mostly bad emotions...and there are some people who look down on those who show none. My problem is, I don't understand why people can't look past their own way of dealing with something and just be supportive. Why is it so hard to not make something about yourself? There is no benefit to telling someone they are wrong for crying, or not crying, for screaming or holding everything inside. Just be there if you care about a person. Most of the time the one dealing with the pain isn't looking for words anyway. I'm not looking for understanding or pity. I would never want someone to understand what I'm going through because I wouldn't wish this on anyone else. I just look for those who say "I've got your back" or "I'm here". Those are the people I can relax in front of. Someone asking me when I'm going to get over it, not understanding that I never will, is someone I don't need. As much as that would just be the easy thing to say, and then walk away...I couldn't help turning to look back while walking to my car wondering "what if he needs me?"