Bruised male ego?
Sometimes people really close to me tell me that I can be a bit self-centered or egoistic. Maybe I am or maybe I am playing the typical role of a typical male.
Actually, I am not used to people doing things for me. I like keeping track of the small things people do. The gifts, the formalities, the meals, and the hugs. As a man, we aren’t taught to express how to feel about it let alone talk. So the usual reaction I have is to not talk about it. Not say a word. Just keep track of it. Like a mental note of debt on my ledger, I need to repay. Waiting for the right moment when I can repay that somehow. And if I cannot, just act as if I don’t care about them and these gestures.
I have actually never understood why would someone care if I ate something today. If I am cold on a chilly night. If I am hungry after a long day or if I am tense about work. Social obligations, formalities, love, care.
And I sometimes over-compensate just to fit in the masculinity bill. Acting hyper-independent, self-sufficient, and selfish with a hint of narcissism. As if I deserve what people do for me, as a privileged male in this patriarchal society. Behaving as if I don’t care about their feelings bcoz I am too rugged to feel anything.
But believe me, I make mental note of every pat on the back, every hug, and every caring inquisition.
And I am learning every day. To be comfortable in my own skin and not give in to the mold society has designed for us. To express gratitude and empathy instead of burdening myself with emotional debt.
One day I will learn how to cry with you. One day I will learn how to hug people back, show that I am grateful and I care. Say the thank you or the sorry you deserved and not be scared to be vulnerable.
One day I will write the best poem about empathy. Words so beautiful that they will lighten up your heart of all the emotional weight you carry.
Till that day, just bear with me. I am still learning.