Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters.
I guess all those exercises I have been doing to grow my member have been paying off, ’cause I got hit with a situation recently that really…tested my size.
I had an experience the other day that I keep returning to.
I keep picking it up, and running my fingers across the smooth parts, and fondling the rough edges.
I keep turning it over and feeling the contrasting textures with a sense of curiosity.
The essence of it is this: I was able to entertain competing emotional experiences simultaneously without having to shut down. The experience reminded me of the Bernard Loomer quote (that I first heard over a decade ago in Non-Violent Communication circles):
“By S-I-Z-E I mean the stature of [your] soul, the range and depth of [your] love, [your] capacity for relationships. I mean the volume of life you can take into your being and still maintain your integrity and individuality, the intensity and variety of outlook you can entertain in the unity of your being without feeling defensive or insecure. I mean the strength of your spirit to encourage others to become freer in the development of their diversity and uniqueness. I mean the power to sustain more complex and enriching tensions. I mean the magnanimity of concern to provide conditions that enable others to increase in stature.”
Sh*t suddenly got real the other day when my partner canceled her plans via text at the last-minute to Skype into a family concert I was giving with a musician buddy.
Thoughts of abandonment exploded in my heart and mind. All kinds of subtly manipulative responses: plausibly neutral statements that would elicit emotional pain to leverage her care and shame to get what I wanted—ways to make her hurt like I was hurting, to fish my ego out of the one-down position at the very least…
I took a deep breath, marveling at the pain body in action, and then was able to remember that I really never want someone to do something for me out of a sense of obligation. Especially my partner. We all know, all too well, the consequences of that kind of bullsh*t on our relationships.
“You do you, baby. No worries.”
I typed out, heart thudding.
I acknowledged to myself the raw sadness here. I gave myself permission to grieve. I’d felt pain, and weighed whether it was worth communicating to her in the moment of my pain. I had to admit: part of me hoped my being “big” about it would sway her to join us. Part of me didn’t want to say anything, to spare both of us any discomfort, and avoid any hint of pushiness.
And part of me just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.
I decided to show her my insides.
“And…to be transparent, I do feel a bit sad and kinda anxious here. I’ve been feeling this thread of anxiety all weekend thinking about you partying in the city with your friends…but that’s just what’s here on my insides. And I love you and I want you to enjoy your peeps.”
Size matters. And I was getting stretched.
The rest of the night I found myself entertaining several experiences simultaneously that were incongruent, but all equally valid.
I was sad. I felt sad that my lover was not present to share in the beauty and humor of our serenade. The atmosphere of love and sincere appreciation was palpable—but not, of course, to her.
I was feeling the inheritance of my history with abandonment: anxiety and shame about my own worthiness. My storytelling mind was merciless and incisive. And yet, there was just a feather’s breadth of distance from my old narrative. I was observing the show—just a little bit—instead of being the show.
And, somewhat to my own surprise, I was genuinely celebrating her decision. I was actually happy that she was with her friends. I didn’t have to fake it. I felt it in there, dancing around with the other two. Sometimes waltzing—and sometimes moshing, elbows up.
This was not what I would call a comfortable experience. It was excruciating, at times. But it was also—just a little—wondrous. It was complex…like a fine oolong tea.
It felt like a graduation, of sorts. Next level sh*t.
There were so many ways my shadows could have spilled all over her, myself, and even the sweet people I spent the rest of the night with.
But they didn’t.
Because my heart was just big enough to hold it all.
Just patient enough to find the gold in the crap, and compost the rest.
Author: Joshua Hathaway
Editor: Waylon Lewis