I live in a family of women. Apart from the guys that marry in, it’s all women. And most of us that marry in aren’t exactly what I’d consider to be real men anyhow. The thing about women is, they need good men to look to when life gets hard (even regardless of what the most brazen of feminists might lead you to believe). In my family, I’ve unwittingly become that guy everyone looks to.
Being the guy people look to in the family is hard at times. Always having to hold it together, be the one to make the tough decisions, steer the ship or keep the train from veering off the rails and into a ditch is challenging. It seems as of late it’s been extra hard as we have encountered various members of the family developing serious health problems and others falling into difficult financial times.
Similar situations arrive in our careers and professional lives as well. Things go sour sometimes, clients get upset, managers get upset, and a need always arises for someone in-between to keep morale high, persuade people from quitting their jobs and to offer reassurance that next week, or next month or next whenever will be better- even if just long enough to get through the hell the team is enduring at the moment.
Sometimes I fall into a rough spot of weakness where I feel I’d rather find a dark corner in a bar somewhere then proceed to binge on chicken wings and beer until I’m drunk, bloated and overfull than deal with any of it. But there is always work to be done, problems to solve, hot heads to cool and teary eyes to wipe.
I should feel honored I guess. Honored that so many people around me seem to trust and confide in me for whatever reason. Honored that my sister and mother in-law would rather come to me than their own husbands with their issues. God knows I don’t feel worthy of the honor. I guess they do so precisely because I refuse to retreat to a bottle, drug, or just shut myself off and go looking to someone else to whine to.
Hell, fuck that, that’s for pussies. That’s for weak men who can’t deal with their emotions. Men who don’t have the strength to pull through. I’m a war horse, thick skinned, determined, brave and stubborn. War horses get rode hard, shot at, cut up in barbed wire and bombarded with shrapnel, mustard gas and bullets. We don’t stop until forced to do so. Until there is no more fight in us.
Being the war horse is tough, but it is what it is and we are what we are.