There are great strides continuing to be made in human-kind’s knowledge base when it comes to things we–out of prejudice, fear, ignorance, et cetera–as social beings couldn’t understand as a whole before, which is why I’d like to take a minute to bring up this issue that is near and dear to my heart.
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard in one form or another the “sensitive type” remark in passing about yourself, by those who know you best, and love you the most, but have maybe never truly understood you.
Perhaps I’m beginning to sound like a broken record talking about emotion and the like, or maybe I’m finding the voice and platform for my blogging experience, I don’t know yet, so please, if I’m beating a dead horse, for the love of tacos, please let me know, that horse deserves tacos (you can thank my fiancée for that little joke), not a beating.
Anyway, getting off topic, the “sensitive type”, we all know it, and perhaps, like myself, you are “it”. Growing up as part of the male persuasion, you hear absurdly teen movie quotes like, “don’t be a pussy”, “suck it up, Buttercup”, “did someone forget to take their tampon out?”. We laugh about it when it happens, smile and shut up because it is obvious that what was an attempt at trying to tell someone we trust how we feel, is being viewed as nothing more than petty whining. I’ve learned to harden myself as the years have passed out of some misbegotten necessity, I learned to “be a man” if that is easier to understand. But this is against my nature, and I’m sure it shows, in fact, I know it does.
I’ve had to create this façade because as a man, even in the twenty-first century, it is still relatively unacceptable to be completely open with menfolk, to be at arms length from each other is still the most preferable method of interaction. Men, listen up, no matter what you were taught, sensitivity is a unisex trait, it’s okay to be human. I’m realizing as I get older, giving in to that form of thinking, letting it mold me into that gruff “gone fishin'” type of man my grandfather was, is hindering my ability to form lasting emotional bonds.
I don’t know what it’s like growing up as a woman, I never had that experience, but from observation women seem to be at least marginally more comfortable talking about their feelings, emotions, problems, and everything in between. I feel that men as a whole could learn a great deal from women, though that is not even close to being an original thought, but it is a thought that seems to still be largely ignored.
There are exceptions to all of this, of course, I know some very openly emotional men, as well as women who just refuse to show their emotions, so please note, I realize you exist. I’m also not advocating a movement to open manic weeping in the streets, just meaningful interaction with other human beings without the stigma that opening up is a weakness.
The point I am ultimately making is that the “sensitive type” remark that may not seem harmful, but, when said in those hushed tones–with that figurative hand shielding the mouth from view of said sensitive person in an effort to “explain” their behavior–is condescending, and should be looked at as a derogatory remark. This sensitive person is only doing what comes natually to them, and parents especially should take note of that, a child that grows up unhindered in that respect will have a better chance at knowing later in life that they don’t have to put up a wall, or filter their emotions to fit in.