Apologies aren’t Enough…Men, We need to be Doing a Better Job

 

I’ve been blessed with a few great friends. Not your average, run of the mill, see everyday at work friends, or those that you can go out and have drink or two with and reminisce about the previous weekends shenanigans friends. I’m talking about the ones that you rarely see,  can talk to pretty much everyday, even if its just to say a quick hi or check in on how their kids are doing, or not talk to them for days at a time and nobody takes offence. The ones that when you need them to be there, they will be regardless the situation. The ones that would drop everything in order to help you. The brutally honest friends, the ones that are not afraid to tell you what it is you need to hear, not what you want to to hear.  Not because they want to hurt you or make you cry, but they do it because they genuinely love you.

It was going through my own struggles recently that I discovered that all of my female friends have been victims of domestic violence in one way or an other. Now, let me repeat that. Not some, but all.

Every.

Single.

One.

It blew my mind. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, how is this even possible? How can this happen? Why on earth are so many women victims of such heinous acts?

I am ashamed, I am disgusted, I am mortified, and I feel an incredible sense of sorrow and guilt for all the women out there.

I have never treated my partners with anything less than the respect any human in a relationship deserves. My ex-wife can even testify to this fact. In the 13 years together prior to our divorce, I never raised a hand to her, never threw out nasty name calling when upset, never played games with her mind and emotions to make her feel like less than a woman.  Did we fight? Sure. Not often, but we did. But we always respected the boundaries of decency and common sense.

I’m not trying to sit here an say I am “perfect”. I am not. I have my faults. Plenty of them. But there are limits to my ability to hurt people, especially the ones I love.

Women are to be cherished, loved, made to feel like they are the gifts to us that they are.  Are they perfect? No. And even they will attest to that. But to physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually assault the woman you love, well there are no words to adequately surmise how that makes me, and SHOULD make, other men feel. To manipulate, control, have them living in fear, the list goes on, is 100% abhorrent and shouldn’t be happening.

I mean, my mind and heart hurts over the thought that this is HAPPENING RIGHT NOW AS I WRITE THIS POST. A woman is a victim of domestic violence right now.

Think about that guys. And please read carefully and try to understand what I’m about to write next.

If you’re reading this, know that a woman is being struck by her husband. RIGHT NOW. Can you hear it?

If you’re reading this, know that a woman is being berated by her husband for failing to do something as he asked, or simply because he had a bad day.  RIGHT NOW. Can you see her, standing there in silence? In fear of the man she loves? That is supposed to love her?

If you’re reading this, know that a woman is being sexually assaulted by her husband. RIGHT NOW. Can you see her fighting him off or even clutching the bedsheets in silence, tears streaming down her face, not making a sound as to not wake the children?

If you’re still reading this, and I hope you are…….know this fact.

That woman I mentioned above is your daughter. Your sister. Your mother. Your grandmother. Any female relative. Your best friends wife.  YOUR wife. Maybe not at your hands, but at someone else’s during her life.

I say “is”  in the above paragraph because, like it or not, I can pretty much guarantee that most, if not all of them, have experience some level of domestic violence at some point in their lives.

It needs to stop. It never should have happened. It shouldn’t BE happening.

But it is.

RIGHT NOW.

I apologize to all the women out there, but I know it’s not enough.

Guys, we need to take control of this. It is not up to the women to convince us this is wrong……

IT IS OUR JOB TO PROTECT OUR WOMEN!!!!!!!!

I will personally apologize to every woman I know for the behavior of men in their past. I am not responsible though for their pain, their nightmares, their suffering. But I am a man, and it needs to start somewhere. Guys, I think you might be shocked by how some will respond to a heartfelt apology, even if you didn’t do a thing to them personally.

It needs to start with us, guys.

It needs to start with us.

 

 

 

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Waking up from the Ignorance of Reality

Honestly, I signed up to start this new blog years ago. Never wrote down a damn thing until my previous post a couple of days ago. Life just got in the damn way. Hell, I don’t even remember the name I had picked for it, but it was almost like I was foreshadowing what I would need to do in order to get through the most difficult stretch of my life.

Since creating this blog, I’ve gotten divorced, enjoyed the single life (perhaps a little on the extreme side of things for a while), met some amazing new people I now consider good, some great, friends, cut ties with some whom I thought were close, quit a job of 16 years, regretted it a few months later, quit the subsequent job after 3, started a new one and lasted 6 weeks. During that time I also took up obstacle course racing, trained and got in the best shape of my life, took that to the extreme and suffered for 2 years trying to recover from various training injuries. Next thing I knew, I was back to square one being physically unfit.  Watched in awe as my mother battled cancer on three separate occasions and win, only to be diagnosed 16 months ago with terminal brain cancer. Still in awe of this woman, who is nearly 1 year past the time her doctor had given her to live, and still living her life, bitching about politics and her beloved Maple Leafs. Tried my hand at having relationships, culminating in the birth of my previous post.

Who knew that one single event, a simple conversation, would lead me down a path of failures one after another that I had never seen, nor expected to see, in my life.

Always having had succeeded at everything, I never saw my divorce as a failure at the time. Let’s be honest, not all divorces are hostile. We both knew it was time. Neither of us were particularly upset. In fact, the initial conversation lasted all of a minute, if that. I was making coffee, she came downstairs, re-filled her cup, and just stood there. I knew she wanted to say something. After all, we had been together 13 years, married for 11 at the time, so I knew her “I need to say something” face. I wasn’t expecting it at that particular moment, especially considering it was less than 4 weeks from Christmas. Regardless, I did feel a sense of relief after she went back upstairs. Not only that, but it did seem to be the most relaxed Christmas that year that we had experienced in quite a number of years. But I digress. On to the proverbial first straw…..

” I think we need a break.” was all she said.

“Ok. You’re probably right.” was all I said.

“I’ll take the guest bedroom.” was her answer and that ended our initial discussion.

Short, sweet, and to the point. We both knew it was coming, and so it was done. I saw it as the progression of the way things needed to go. Not a failure. Yet that tiny little snowflake that landed on the top of that snow covered mountain called my life started to slowly rolling down towards the darkest times I was nearly incapable of dealing with.

It never really hit me until today that this recently failed relationship isn’t the sole reason my mind is basically rebelling against common sense, logic, and the desire to understand. It is the completion of a series of events that I needed to go through in order to guide me to the next stage of my life. To stop me from spinning around in a circle while blindfolded. That was my life previous to that initial dialogue. Just happy to be spinning around, ignorant to the realities of life. The purpose of every damn hurtful, heartbreaking moment after that was to steady me, and to slowly remove that blindfold after making sure I wouldn’t stumble off in some random direction.

I needed to experience failure. Unfortunately, it took me a long, long time to get to the point that after I got knocked down, I couldn’t get back up.  This last failed relationship was the last straw. It broke the damn camels back, and turned me into a whimpering child who couldn’t get back up after taking another nasty tumble while learning to ride their bike. And not only that, I didn’t want to.  I had given up.  I lay there, closed my eyes, and gave up. I couldn’t take it anymore. I hid it as long as I could, but I’m not that great an actor. Remember those new friends I mentioned earlier? Well this is where they came in. Some offered encouragement, a few tried to help me up, and a very special select few lay on the ground beside me until I was ready to get back up, so I wouldn’t have to get up alone.

I had honestly never felt so alone in my life, yet when I opened my eyes………

I wasn’t.

It’s time to get up.

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Endless Road to Recovery

“We didn’t work out because you didn’t abuse me.”

Those words pretty much ended a 2 year long distance relationship.

Mind. Blown.

Like, is this really happening?

“I love you more than any man I’ve ever loved, nobody will ever love me as much as you do. I will always love you.”

Ok, I understand the second part completely. How could I not? I mean, I WAS in all reality and of sane mind, preparing to move to a different country for you. Without question. And yet, after 2 years of falling in love, seeing each other, and making plans for the future, the first sentence in the post is still caught in my throat. I mean, a full sized watermelon would be easier to swallow than that.

So it all comes down to I didn’t belittle you? Make fun of you? Make you feel worthless? Screw with your mind, control your every movement, and last but not least, physically cause you harm?

So telling you daily how much I loved you, how incredibly beautiful you are, what an amazing mother you are, such a dedicated and hard-working employee you were at your job, how you meant absolutely everything to me was, in some strange but all too real reality, counterproductive. Picking you up when you were down, having my heart break at watching you on video cry over and over on the hurt you were feeling from the sense of abandonment by your own family. Dealing with the constant pushing away you did to me from your fear of losing someone else that said they loved you. I stood tall, fast and strong against all your efforts, and you constantly thanked me for it and loved me for fighting for you. How you could tell by my eyes that I meant everything I said, and that my love was true.

Yes. I know you’re broken.

Yes, I know I can’t fix you.

Yes, you’ve been through hell and back again.

Yes, you have deep rooted emotional baggage that would make the strongest tree in the world topple over in despair.

And finally yes, I DO love you despite everything stated above.

Without question.

Without fear.

Without an ounce of thought for my own personal mental and physical well-being.

I can’t change your past.

I wanted to help change your future.

All I wanted to do is pick up your bags, and walk through the pits of hell with you to make it even a little bit more manageable.

To show you, yes, there is a conclusion to your seemingly endless road to recovery.

That road doesn’t have to be lonely, when someone is willing to walk side by side with you, and carry you if need be to get you to the end.

Why?

Because I do love you.

Without question.

Without fear.

Without an ounce of thought for my own personal mental and physical well-being.

All this being said, there is one thing I have discovered that I never knew would have been possible from the first moment I saw you.

That endless road to recovery is lonely.

I am broken.

 

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