I was amazingly, ridiculously, unabashedly obnoxious to a friend this past week. For this I am very sorry…but not exactly repentant. I’ve apologized to him but haven’t gotten a response so, well, I’m pretty sure he’s pissed at me. Why was I such a brat? What set me off? What hidden anger was revealed for me to act out so childishly?
He was hiding. He was afraid of something and instead of standing in the line of fire – a torrent of ‘how are you’s,’ ‘how have things been,’ and ‘we missed you’s’ – he chose to hide. And to me hiding was unacceptable. I got so frustrated and angry at him because he does this all the time. He shows the world a confident, cocky, capable, and accomplished face and whenever you get close enough to see anything else he pushes you away. Actually, he pushes me away…again and again. So this week’s act of failing to show for an event he’d cautiously accepted kind of sent me over the edge. I was disappointed that he didn’t have the strength to be vulnerable.
I’ll admit that I had a bit of a tantrum. No, I didn’t stomp my feet or cry – Instead I organized the near-constant bombardment of text messages to his phone for an hour by three or four people.
We will likely not speak for several months.
But here is where I’m not repentant: As obnoxious as my behaviour may have been, each one of those messages let him know how much he was missed – and that I do not regret.
Strength in vulnerability is a phrase I’ve had rolling around and around in my head lately. Men have it all wrong. They think that being tough and indifferent and cocky shows a woman how strong they are. Actually, at some point men started to work on the premise that indifference was an acceptable approach to women…It isn’t.
You know what shows real strength? Being vulnerable. And you know the most vulnerable things a man could do? To be kind, courteous and well mannered to a woman. Asking to buy a drink, holding a door, offering to carry a box or bag for a woman. It is basic, gentlemanly behavior that is so rarely practiced because we, as women, have been taught to decline. Today when a man offers any of those things he’s more likely to be brushed off and rejected – no matter how unintentionally – than accepted.
I want more men to realize that taking a chance, showing their vulnerability, keeping their promises (no matter how loosely offered), and just plain being nice to a woman shows so much more strength than anything else. And don’t hide – ever. Don’t ever hide from things you fear most. Be strong enough to face the hurt, the embarrassment, the pity and the awkward moments. Nothing changes if you hide. Life doesn’t get easier, just more isolated. Problems don’t get solved, only bigger. Fear doesn’t fade, it magnifies.
Or you may come face to face with a tantrum.