Where I Extend my Apology to Men.

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Gentlemen, it’s urgent for me to convey this message to you.

Not just to my lovers, male friends, brother—but to all men everywhere.

I need to apologize to men.

“We have to let go of justifying emasculating men. Every complaint goes back to a need. And those needs can become a cancer. Instead of complaining, go back to the need; come from the need.”

~ Alison Armstrong

I apologize for—intentional and not—ever emasculating you in any way. For following any blind, knee-jerk, even socially acceptable, habit or trend that led to me making you feel like less than a man.

And just because it might have been unconscious on my part, does not make it okay, either.

I apologize for using my past experiences with a few dysfunctional men to assume you are all the same.

I apologize for letting my past programing about men—from family, friends, society, “feminists”—keep me from really getting to know you and seeing you for the beautiful human you are.

I apologize for participating in man-shaming of any kind just because I was in a group of women doing that, and I didn’t have the courage to speak up for you.

I vehemently speak up for you now—every time.

I apologize for using anger as an excuse for emasculating you.

I apologize for using fear as an excuse to emasculate you.

I apologize for every time I rolled my eyes and said, “Men!”

Because I do not want to be that woman anymore.

I apologize for being so blind about myself, so blind to my own needs.

I apologize for not knowing, in myself, the need that was causing me to complain about (and to) you—for not taking the time and introspection to reach inside myself to find what I really needed and wanted from you.

And if I knew what I needed but did not communicate it, I apologize for not having been able or willing to communicate that clearly.

I apologize for rejecting your gifts of masculine energy, assistance, love and support, for not seeing you as the hero you truly are. I apologize for the hostility that always accompanied that rejection.

It was undeserved.

I apologize for meeting your anger, your impatience, your seeming indifference, frustration and stress with my own version of the same. I apologize for letting your masculine energy trigger, in me, a defensive, masculine, self-protected stance that pulled me out of my equally powerful, but softer, feminine energy.

I apologize for expecting you to think like a woman, for expecting you to immediately, willingly and easily express your emotions without first inspiring you from your head into your heart—the way only a woman can do for you.

I realize now that you needed that from me, but I was ignorant of how to get myself there, much less you.

I apologize for pulling back from my emotions and trying to be more logical, more exact, less feminine, less emotional. I know now that to be my emotional, feminine self is to call upon that polarization in you, is to call you up to be your best self.

I know that you need me to test you, to be my emotional self, to let you find your own way to lean into my emotions, as I lean into you and yours. I know that men need their women to be emotional because a man will meet the chaos of the world just as they meet and deal with the chaos of their woman.

I know you need me to be that for you—to help lift you up to your most powerful, aware self.

I apologize for underestimating you. I concluded, simply because you are a man, that I could not trust you and that I could not count on you.

I apologize for not trusting your timing, for my impatience, for insisting you do it my way just because you didn’t seem to be doing it in the time I thought was correct.

I apologize for not letting myself be truly seen by you, not trusting that you would appreciate, honor and love me even more because of that. I apologize for being so bloody arrogant, proud and/or frightened that I wouldn’t let you in.

I apologize for not showing you my heart, for not showing you my vulnerabilities, for not telling you my shameful, embarrassing stories, for keeping those walls around my heart so you couldn’t get in, and I couldn’t get out.

I apologize for having not been able or willing to meet and hold your vulnerability well, for shaming you or kicking the emotional shit out of you when you showed me your heart and told me your own stories of shame and pain.

I apologize for not, instead, holding that vulnerability gently, carefully and treating it and you with the respect and appreciation you deserve for trusting me with it.

I apologize for not doing my research, for not knowing how men’s brains work. I always thought you were purposely trying to piss me off.

I apologize for being so masculine that you had to polarize into a passive, feminine energy.

I apologize for being afraid of you and treating you like some kind of enemy to be guarded against.

I apologize for not letting you see my fear. I didn’t let you see my fear because I thought it would make me less in your eyes. I didn’t trust that I could step into your arms, your love, and that you could hold your own against my fear, my pain.

I apologize that I didn’t see that you wouldn’t judge me for being afraid, that you wouldn’t try to make me act like a man, that you wouldn’t try and shame me for my emotions.

I apologize for not trusting you to really see me and just accept me as that—a woman in need of your presence, presence that would have quieted the fear—had I allowed it.

“We women think we are crazy.”
~ Alison Armstrong

I apologize for pretending I didn’t need and want you. I do need you. Not because I won’t survive without you, but because we challenge each other into that next, higher realm we are always seeking.

We are each already complete, and together, we are more.

I apologize for assuming you couldn’t handle my wildness, my emotions, my passion, those times when I needed to thrash and wail or cry with joy and be the Goddess incarnate.

I apologize for those times when I assumed you couldn’t meet my passion, when I needed you to ravish me, f*ck me hard and long—or slow and sweetly—but in my fear, was unable to be the vulnerability called for to allow you to do that.

I apologize if I ever saw you less than capable to meet me there in that vulnerability, that wildness, the pain, the joy.

I apologize for being so blind, so ignorant, so fearful—so programmed.

I am here now.

I am awake.

I am listening.

I am still learning.

Please forgive me.


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Grace Cooley

Grace Cooley is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-Planet, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual-but-not-religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet—yep, they do exist. You can find her blog here and her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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anonymous Aug 12, 2015 8:35am

No need to apologize to me, Grace. I am not that easy to emasculate ;). And frankly, quite a few lines from your essay could have been said by men. That said, I find the idea that the world of humans can be split into 'male' and 'female' way too coarse and obscuring the value of the individual being. The generalization may be quite convenient for the masses but for me it's but a waste of my precious time and energy.
The sentence that struck me the most, was: "We are each already complete, and together, we are more.". Although I do not quite agree with your assumption that I am complete 😉 I fully agree that humans (in any combination of gender) can be more than the sum of their individual energies.
Thanks for sharig this good read _/_

anonymous Aug 12, 2015 6:22am

Thank you for this!!! This exact type of dynamic in relationships has basically led me to celibacy after 30 years of being a giver, helper, nurturer, and, ultimately, punching bag in a variety of relationships…relationships where I have gotten very little in return for my efforts except derision and various levels of verbal and emotional abuse. When someone as engaging and full of life as myself decides to pack it in and spend the rest of his life alone, there is something wrong with business as usual.

Not that I cut men much slack, frankly…we come with a barrage of our own downsides…but the cultural shift that led to the net positive of empowering women also led to many of them becoming hard and mean and cold…and ultimately poor choices for partners. These attitudes and behaviors benefit no one…they just hurt and divide us…and at a time where the pressures of living in the world we have created make coming together all that much more crucial.

We should be co-equals and lift each other up…but we are competitors who tear each other down.

anonymous Sep 25, 2014 11:31pm

Thank you for this Grace. I have shared it with my friends and family. It is a real testament to equality, and many of the apologies you made struck a pang of guilt in me, which in itself is good; you've helped me become aware of my flaws and made me appreciate my Fiancé.

    anonymous Sep 27, 2014 8:54pm

    Eeee! Thanks for sharing with me! I so appreciate you reading and commenting. It loosened something in me as I asked for forgiveness. B/c as I asked for forgiveness, I also forgave them too.

    I cried all through writing it, all through church too, b/c I took a break from writing it to go to church, then when I finished it, I kept reading it out loud to myself over and over and cried – sobbed, actually – until it didn't hurt any more. It took a while.

    Then I submitted it for publication.

    Now I can finally read it and not cry.

    Godspeed. 🙂

anonymous Sep 22, 2014 12:45am

Really lovely. Thank you for writing this for all of us who couldn't find the words.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:40pm

    You are so welcome. I hope it fosters as much healing for anyone who reads it as it did/does for me to have written it. Blessings.

anonymous Sep 20, 2014 6:13am

As men we are mystery seekers. We climb the highest summits, we go out in space, we go to the deepest parts of the ocean, we travel faster than the speed of sound, we have the x-games, we work in the north atlantic in the winter, we even brave war theaters. Simply for the need to know and explore we do all of that and yet we find that women are an intolerable labyrinth. Our creator has provided us with the greatest puzzle we will ever know. The problem is that our fathers don't explain that it is our life's work to discover the subtleties, nuances and conundrums of this wonderful creature called woman. David Deida speaks of you in his book "The way of the Superior Man". He states that women are like the ocean, deep, dangerous, unpredictable and vast. Real men don't fear the ocean or seek to change it, they learn how to swim. Scientist speak of the untouched and uncharted parts of the ocean. The same exist for women. As men it is essential that we peer into the unknown parts of women. I am guilty as well. I know my way around the a woman's body and mind. I can produce orgasmic thrills and amaze her with my intellect, however I don't know if I have ever moved a woman emotionally. Take that back. I have made a few cry, but for the wrong reasons. They have cried because I have been too afraid to venture into the deep abyss of emotions where the true pleasure and beauty of a woman is found.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:39pm

    Bill, thank you for the reply. It means so much to me. And now you have moved a woman to tears for the RIGHT reason, b/c I cry as I type this, in appreciation for your kind, poetic (and true!) words. I too love David Deida. Peace.

anonymous Sep 20, 2014 1:59am

Grace, a heartfelt thank you. You deeply touched me and I would be seriously remiss if I didn't reach out to let you know it. If every woman could understand what beauty there is in truly understanding the power of their TRUE FEMININITY (embodied in this message of yours) and the positive effect it has on truly mature masculine men, I'm sure we'd fix the relationship dysfunction plaguing our western societies, literally overnight. You are truly beautiful and I wish you love, peace and joy! Never change.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:37pm

    Les, thank you so much for accepting my apology. I needed to hear that as much as I needed to write and publish it. thank you. Peace and joy to you too. 🙂

anonymous Sep 19, 2014 12:36am

I wanted to thank you for your article. I used to be married to a woman who didn't apologize. She was emotionally, verbally, and (once) physically abusive. After years of trying to "make things work", I divorced her. The thing that I remember the most is that she would blame me rather than take responsibility for her own actions. She had a very traumatic childhood and, instead of healing through that, took all of her rage and directed it at me. While I have learned many things from my failed marriage and divorce, including my own blind spots that led me into that relationship, it has been quite painful.

The reason that your post touched me is that I would have given anything to hear an apology like the one you wrote from her. I don't believe that I ever will in this lifetime.

While I don't know what your story is, or why you have posted this, I wanted to thank you for your courage and your insight, and to wish you the very best. Blessings and light to you.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:34pm

    Mark, Thanks so much for sharing your heart with me/us. It is so appreciated. I wish you (and her!) healing. Thank you for accepting my apology.

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 9:31am

Beautifully said and timely in this mad world. Thank you.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:32pm

    thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I so appreciate it! Makes me feel not so alone.

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 9:08am

This was beautiful! Keep on! Cheers! – Leah

anonymous Sep 16, 2014 6:19pm

Very candid and sincere. Man and women's differences should be celebrated, understood and respected for what they are.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:31pm

    Agreed. thanks for reading!

anonymous Sep 16, 2014 2:47pm

Grace, thank you for your apology. Not that an apology was needed. It’s the consciousness that is so much needed expressed in your words. Your words are healing the wounds that an immature feminism has brought upon us. Feminism movement started when I was about 14 of age. Today I’m 45 and I have only collected an overwhelmingly representative experience of woman believing and saying that men are simple (with that undertone) and blaming them for their bitterness. I feel such a pity that there are so many women so bitter without realizing that this comes from within and not from outside. Bashing, blaming and shaming is only confronting, never resolving.
All you say is about the Yin and Yang principle. Hopefully, the more people read your words, awareness will spread on one side and frustration can vanish on the other side and both sides will regain hope and joy – of oneself and the other. It is possible to find somebody that can add to me and not try to hold me responsible for the differences of our genders. Thank you again for your soothing words.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:31pm

    Thank you for YOUR words – so lovely to read. May we all know healing and peace.

anonymous Sep 16, 2014 12:12pm

Breathtakingly spot on Grace… get out of my head!! …Not really though, if you were in my head, I'm so glad you said it, I don't know if I've come to the place in realizing all this yet where I would have been able to word it so poignantly and yet so raw. Thank you thank you thank you!

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 3:29pm

    thanks for reading and sharing! So glad to hear I'm not alone.