From the vault of my personal experience
“Son, are you a man or a mouse?” These few words were delivered to me by my dad every time I got a bit too weepy as a little boy. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, it was not wise for little boys to show too many traits of emotional sensitivity. Might look like a sissy, if you know what I mean. So, my father would chide me with this little question and I would abruptly stop my sensitive ways and buck up and act like the little man I was supposed to be.
This fit nicely into the Southern faux paradigm of manliness and toughness of which he and so many men of his generation subscribed. Hence, began a lifelong chorus of hearing: “you’re too sensitive”, “man up”, “toughen up” and “grow a pair.” Hearing this repeatedly, from males and females, makes one doubt, whether one is man enough to be a real man. After all, real men don’t eat quiche. And what is a real man?
As the years went by, I began to shield myself from this type of criticism by trying to live the manly life, I was taught to live. But it always felt a bit disingenuous and inauthentic. The older I got, the more I began to realize that what I was, no less a man, because I could feel deep emotion, get in touch with my inner core, and freely express the emotion within. When I began to read about the highly sensitive personality type, I felt vindicated and liberated. Dr. Elaine Aron gets a lifetime achievement award from me. And I’m sure a lot of HSMs feel the same way.
The Male Sensitivity Spectrum – where do you fall?
When I first started googling this topic, I was looking for male sensitivity and found that the first page or two of the search was focused on penile sensitivity. Interesting, but not what I had in mind here. But, I suppose there is some metaphorical tie-in too obtuse for me to elaborate on.
Is there a sensitivity spectrum within HSMs? Are some HSMs more sensitive than others, more prone to emotional display or sensory overload, than say, other HSMs. I for one believe there is some truth to this. I mean after all we are all individuals and science does account for individual differences. We may have the same predisposition for an active amygdala, but perhaps the signals get muffled more so in some than others.
Maybe there some broad gradation starting with a threshold HSM, who is lowest on the scale of HSM sensitivity, a moderate HSM that straddles the wide middle, and a high HSM, that is bordering on hypersensitivity. This could explain some of the diversity in HSM capacity and expression of that sensitivity. I know all HSMs are not what the general population would peg high sensitivity to be.
Of course, no one is better nor worse than the other, just a way to stratify further the traits of HSPs. Might explain why some HSMs weep at sad movies, while others just get the obligatory lump in the throat and wet eyes. In any case, regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, if you are an HSM, you are a man with fully functioning tear ducts. Be proud of that.
This still remains about sensing capability, our high capacity to sense our world. It’s the inputs that affect us so. Sensitivity is the reaction to that sensing, and perhaps this sets us apart from our non-HSP fellows. So whether it is sights, sounds, smell, taste or touch, or even the unconscious sense of intuition, we are always sensing deeply. And it will always affect us deeply. And, yes, we react sensitively and passionately. Yet, we HSMs are still men and that’s okay that we broaden the masculine definition.
A world that values machismo among the menfolk
Fitting into a world that values machismo, the hyper male, and toughness is always going to be a struggle for HSMs. The ridiculous focus on aggressive and dominant behavior, which is often seen as being the epitome of masculinity in our culture, naturally divorces the American male from the emotions that are native to all humans. This separation begins in childhood. The boy is expected to be the ideal and anything less is considered, well, effeminate. In other words, you no longer are a male, unless you reflect a set of traits that would be better suited for 10,000 B.C. than the twenty first century.
You can see this in our militaristic, warrior archetype that is reflected throughout our society in board rooms, bedrooms and now bathrooms. We are still fighting imaginary wars every day at work, at home and at play. Even some women have adapted to this model to succeed in this dysfunctional paradigm.
We have lost touch with reality. We no longer even know what toughness is anymore. It’s an ideal brush stroked from a cartoon hero we see in the movies or on television. When you elect action heroes and cowboys as governors and presidents, it’s not real anymore. This is then passed on from one generation to the next, effecting millions of young men and really damaging young HSMs, who feel they don’t fit in or worse yet aren’t real men.
Our politicians, our athletic heroes, our matinee idols, mostly don’t know what real toughness, character, courage or mettle is anymore. It’s just not real life, folks. And we have to stop worshiping this ideal. It benefits no one, not even non-HSMs.
So where does the sensitive masculine male fit in
Our world is very troubled. Just watching the news, the political discourse this year, the racial divides, the wars, the poverty and all the detritus that swirls around this world, makes me think that there has never been a time when HSPs and HSMs need to find and be in our place in this world. We are likely on the verge of our first female president, following on the heels of our first African American president, who was in my opinion an HSM. It’s a time that is ripe for a shift away from the machismo politics of the Reagan Republican brand and back to a more compassionate, empathic form of government.
If this shift fails to take hold, I fear we are heading for a dark place as a culture and as a people. The HSP is often the canary in the mine shaft. Pay attention world. We are uncomfortable in this manufactured male macho world that generally insecure and paranoid males have created. We as HSMs need to assert ourselves in a distinct HSM way, and penetrate the corporate ranks, the world of politics, religion, art and journalism and serve as new role models for men everywhere. It is our sensing nature that will help change this world and as men we can help reshape the balance of things. We need to do something challenging for us – stand out.
Since most of us will not be in politics or will be religious leaders, we can start somewhere closer to home. At work HSMs are not always in leadership roles, especially at work. We tend to work in the background, quietly and diligently doing our work, getting along, being good soldiers. But, I think it’s time to start talking about change in the workplace.
HSPs are generally the first to detect toxic work environments and need to speak out about conditions that we sense first are not conducive to productivity. That is our prime objective as the alert mechanism to the larger group. We need to start talking about being HSPs and explaining to our managers and co-workers and Human Resources that we may have some different requirements to be at our best. The research shows that a lot of what we find necessary for a good productive work environment is similar to what our non-HSP coworkers also find important.
And when given the opportunity we need to accept leadership roles and promote a more cooperative and empathic work place. HSM males can model this new paradigm for a more compassionate, caring male that may shift all that yang energy to balance with the feminine yin energy. That can easily filter within the entire organization. Sounds new-agey, well, maybe so, but science says that we are energy and the polarity has been imbalanced for a long time now.
Is there a time to suck it up and play the old role model?
In word, maybe. I believe in balance. We as HSMs can’t always be about feeling our pain, expressing emotional outpourings and living in flight or fight all the time. Sometimes, we need to “suck it up”, which just means being willing to adapt, stay fluid and flow with the energy around us. We often retract at negativity and recoil or retreat, but sometimes staying authentic means letting the storm blow around you, putting away the protective umbrella and let the rain fall in your face. Sure, you get wet, but you don’t drown, regardless of how you feel.
Sometimes you’re the man, sometimes you’re the mouse. But, remember, the man doesn’t have to be unemotional and stoic. Courage and bravery come from a deep place within us all. Ride the wave, do one brave thing and never trust a man that doesn’t cry. Adieu.
Thanks for dropping by, until next week…
Early rite of passage or coping tool
Well, I’m running late on the blog this week, largely because my son and his girlfriend came up from Los Angeles to visit. We spent a week of hanging out at night, visiting the local breweries and restaurants and I must confess, I drank a wee bit more this week than I normally do. Which is a perfect segue to this week’s topic of HSMs and strong drink.
I have had my fair share of spirits during the course of my life, often to simply celebrate, sometimes to fill a void, frequently as a social lubricant, and very seldom to improve my mood. Growing up in the Southeastern United States, where drinking is sport and young men are often required to prove manliness by the quantity of alcohol consumption, I was baptized in this rite of passage during the early days of high school. Alcohol is the great social leveler and for brief moments made me equal to the socially adept.
It was so wretched to me that I began a second vice, that of cigarette smoking to combat the bitter and often burning taste of alcohol. It was at the time a seemingly fair trade to help a tall and skinny, pimply faced young man gain social confidence amongst peers. I drank -- I got confidence and, an inner personality emerged that was affable and full of social grace. At least until I, as all young men do, overconsumed and promptly deposited my day’s food intake into the back seat of my best friend’s parents’ car. Not cool, but repeated again and again, until the lesson of moderation was learned.
But, all this really said about me was that I was prone to overwhelm, to shyness and to social awkwardness, and that I believed that I needed to consume some external substance to make me more of what I thought the world wanted from me…the nerve to be cool.
I am sure that many young men and young women face similar challenges, but as an HSM, these seem so much more exaggerated internally, and alcohol seemed to offer comfort and relief.
When overwhelm seems too much, does alcohol really help?
As HSPs and particularly HSMs, we often pretend to be not overwhelmed by our environment so as to fit in and to project being in control. However, since our nervous systems are keenly and tightly wound, we feel and experience sensory information much more intensely than some of our peers. It’s hard to process what we feel and what we sense without some coping mechanism.
For many HSMs alcohol serve that purpose. Just look around at the world of art, music and creativity. How many great artists mire themselves in addictive habits of substance abuse to quell the waves of emotions, expectations and demands of their creative endeavors? Many of these creative creatures are HSPs and in particular HSMs.
The burden of being misunderstood and feeling too much becomes being too much and at some point there is a crossing of a threshold that drives the need for quick, albeit temporary relief. The price that is paid is often devastating, and the damage greater than bearing the burden unassisted or alone.
Turning an HSM introvert into a raving extrovert
As stated earlier, one of the primary reasons I started drinking alcohol was to disinhibit myself in social interactions. It made me more comfortable and talkative. It was easy for me to make small talk, to be a bit more casual and speak my mind. I was more like an extrovert. And for those times at parties, celebrations, gatherings - that was a convenient persona to take on. I could mingle; I could be loud and yes, a bit cocky.
As HSPs we are typically not risk takers. So fully engaging in drinking behavior, makes us feel like we are being a bit edgy and it pushes us to poke at our own boundaries. Yet, we tend to be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and more easily pay the price of over imbibing. But, alas, plow ahead we do, at least some of us. We feel the social pressures to drink more intensely, and conform to please. That offers an altered state of our personality helping with the anxiety of social overload. Forgive me for generalizing, but visualize the bespectacled, quiet admin or the nerdy computer tech at the annual Christmas party cutting loose on the dance floor and propositioning half of the room. Yes, it could get dangerous. But it doesn’t have to be.
Tamping down versus numbing
So, what is really going on here? Are we really trying to change our personalities to fit in? Or is there some effort to tamp down or numb down some internal pain, anxiety or fear that we feel that we can’t overcome otherwise. Is overwhelm so poorly misunderstood among HSPs, that we follow a path that is neither natural nor safe for us to follow?
Since many HSPs are introverts, (not all, but most), and introverts tend towards some degree of self-loathing at some point in their lives -- which can lead to depression. What are the dangers that substance abuse can become problematic for introverted HSMs? It appears that there is a correlation between alcohol abuse and depressed introverts. Sadly it’s strong enough to raise eyebrows and flag as a warning. I think this is especially true for HSMs who easily panic, get anxious or are otherwise uncomfortable in social situations. Again, yet another thing to be cautious about as HSMs.
Dealing with our stuff
All in all, I think we need to continue down the path of owning our stuff. This notion that we are so fragile and prone to overwhelm, although not overstated, needs to be ameliorated in ways that allows us to function in the world more comfortably. The idea that we can control everything in our environment tends to box us in, retards spontaneity and limits us in so many ways. Having that drink at the office party or loosening up at the company picnic or family gathering with a beer or a glass of wine is a way of coping with heightened sensitivity.
Granted it shouldn’t be our go to solution for every life challenge, but occasionally bellying up to the bar, could actually teach us about our inner selves. Alcohol can introduce us to an alternate reality as it were. It can teach us how to overcome fear, to let loose and celebrate with others, especially our non-HSP family and peers. In the end, our nature is different. I think we have a gift, but one that is very high maintenance. The people around us feel it; we feel it and can easily set us apart, which creates isolation.
Celebrations with alcohol can bring us to together. It can open us up to the world. But it has to be used with respect and caution. Granted, it’s not for everyone. It can be used as way to ease into social situations that might otherwise challenge us. It’s not so much the alcohol, but the context in which it is used. I see no problem using a drink or two to alleviate and relax what many see as a difficult, but not life threatening situation. Conversely, I don’t advocate its use as a way to numb pain, depression or deep seated anxiety. There are better ways to tend to those problem areas. I think we all know that.
As for myself, I will continue to be a social drinker. I’m older now, know my limits and boundaries and stay within them. I like the little buzz of a slightly altered state, the relaxed calming feeling of a few drinks. My HSP characteristics, and a cautious, risk averse nature, keeps me from over indulging. It’s a good balance. I would think there are many of you out there who would agree.
Thanks for dropping by, until next week…
Energy expenditure in HSMs – my own experience
Energy expenditure. Sounds like a line item on an airline budget. Most non-HSPs don’t usually gives this much of a second thought, but HSM’s like myself do. Because we rev a little higher with our motors, we tend to experience energy fluctuations on a daily basis. The things that tend to trip us up is the lack of energy after a particularly exhausting exchange with our environments or with others around us.
I know myself, right now as I am writing this; my energy levels seem to be fading. I just finished a big meal, and my body is slowing down to process the food and my mind is a bit cloudy. So, we’ll see how this entry turns out. Most people have this type of slow down after a big meal, but it seems we HSPs, tend to drop energy, off and on, throughout the day.
It’s almost as if we go into a hibernation period at various points in the day, to conserve energy or to recharge.
This can be annoying to our colleagues as many are non-HSPs and tend to be more high energy than we are, couple that with being amped up on caffeine drinks, they can sometimes seem to be flying around at warp speed, while we are just doing well to move at all. Of course, I exaggerate.
This can lead to accusations of HSPs being lazy or passive, or lacking energy or even worse, not being fun to be around. Yikes.
Because of our higher capacity to process sensory data, we are often left exhausted after a busy day, as our brains and bodies tire of the constant influx of information. Interestingly, I don’t often experience this in a linear way, up or down, but rather as energy fluctuations throughout the day, more like waves of energy, crests and troughs.
These ups and downs of alternating energy are what cause many of our non-HSP associates to see us as being moody and irritable. It’s like we have our own hyperactive bio-rhythm that nobody, including ourselves can follow or even predict. If you couple that with the notion that we are “picking up” on others’ moods, this can exhaust and deplete even the heartiest HSM.
Downtime is necessary
For HSPs downtime is a critical part of the recovery of the energy process. We lose a lot of energy, with thought, via the environment and our social interactions. Very often, just getting away for an hour or two is necessary to recharge our batteries and process the seemingly eternal flow of input. Getting away is not always feasible, especially during a work day. Managing a few micro breaks, for a breath, a quick nap or even just some quiet time looking at a tree, makes a big difference in turning off the spigot.
HSMs are no different than HSP females in how we process life stressors. Although, I see the tendency in myself is to just suck it up and plow through the day, even if it’s at twenty per cent attention or less. Burn out is not a very masculine aspiration, or one many HSMs are willing to admit to. And because most of us don’t choose our careers wisely based upon our personality type, we often fall victim to the effects of overwork, over stress and physically burdening our bodies with the toxic overflow. Hello, disease.
When over the top, becomes overwhelm
Continuing to prime the pump, when the well is dry, is the perfect formula for overwhelm. Overwhelm what a word. It almost sounds a bit prissy, doesn’t it? The image that comes to mind for me is a huge tidal wave “overwhelming” everything in its path – including me. I mean really, would it be any less of a problem to just stop at “whelming?”
Seriously, this is a societal problem. We, as a culture have taken the Puritan work ethic and made it a 24/7, 365 (this is actually seen as a positive in our cultural lexicon) expression of an ideal work ethic. This is disaster for HSPs. Clearly not good for HSMs, or non-HSPs, dogs, cats or any living thing. But as HSMs we often adopt this philosophy without question.
Living in an “always on” culture
For years I worked at a large corporation in the Information Technology department. We had a CIO who coined the term “Always On” as our exuberant work theme. It became a part of our culture. No down time for machines, software or people. Whatever it took to keep the company IT platforms always on was our imperative. This is great for a bunch of pimply faced computer geeks, just out of college, with no families, and with an unwavering love of all things technical, but for most of us, older, familied workers, we appreciated having the time to leave work behind. To turn the light off, as it were and relax in the shaded, quiet spaces beyond the persistent lights of the data centers.
For an HSM male and a manager, this work condition was especially difficult for me. With each merger and acquisition the competitiveness, the relentless call of work and the stress of high energy millennials napping at my heels, eventually got the best of me. I took an early retirement, walked away from corporate life and starting to experience the rejuvenation of relaxing walks, of highly indulgent 45 minute meditations in the morning and the freedom of making my own schedules. It helped enormously.
Tools and strategies for recovery
I started my own business, focusing on helping people relax and recollect themselves. HSPs or not, we all need to learn this type of resiliency. I learned about hypnotherapy and neurofeedback and crafted a business on helping people recapture that quietness in their brains. It’s been a great move for me; I get to help people relax, by using the innate powers of their own brains.
Of course, there are many ways to accomplish this objective. A good way to start, is putting the right things in your body. Avoiding excessive sugar and grains has helped me by avoiding the roller coaster of spikes in blood sugar.
Recognize that as HSPs we need to set boundaries and sometimes temporary barriers around ourselves to allow for decompression. This could be getting some good alone time from family and friends to do things that allow you to de-stress. An apt term for this is what Dr. Elaine Arons calls emotional regulation. Being mindful of our energy fluctuations and respecting our own personal bio-rhythms, to help regulate the ups and downs that come with recharging and depletion of energy.
You may need to make some environmental adjustments: change the lighting in the room, adjust the ambient sounds with music that soothes and serves as white noise, even burn some incense, light a scented candle, or buy an essential oil diffuser. These often subtle changes can alter and uplift your mood. I particularly do this when I’m writing. These are all senses I use, but not as primary; yet, I benefit from the sensory input – all creating a calming and relaxing effect. Allowing me to work while minimizing stressors and extending my energy.
Above all, get alone. This solitude is good for the soul and good for you as a highly sensing creature. I like the term solitude over aloneness, because it sounds more like a deliberate act, an act of choice.
Because of our “always on” culture, we are always seemingly connected to something-- our phones, our tablets, our laptops, the internet, television…always connected. Our technology is trapping us into a dependency of connectivity and moving us away from solitude. HSPs crave, no require solitude in order to function at full capacity for those brief intense periods of time. Like night and day, wake and sleep, we need our cycles of downtime to match our intensity when we are “on”. As Dr. Ester Buchholz says, “Solitude is required for the unconscious to process and unravel problems.” And like deep sleep is critical to proper wakeful functioning, we need our breaks.
I am concerned that many men such as myself, HSMs trying to live life as relentless drivers of constant functionality and busyness that we are pushing our limits and limiting ourselves by doing so. We are creative, emotional, intuitive creatures that offer our nuanced interpretations of life back to the society at large. Because we often ride the fire hose of sensory data, our energy levels fluctuate throughout the course of our days, and our reactions to such, can be perplexing to many.
Finding meaningful work for HSMs is not just a lovely sentiment, but imperative to our health and well-being. Since the work environment consumes much of our waking time, this is essential to maximizing our gifts and our usefulness to society. This may mean unconventional jobs, vocations, hobbies and pursuits, but we need the flexibility to ride our wild roller coaster energy and still feel that sense of belonging in the society at large. Many HSMs are already there – in the arts, the healing professions, and in freelancing life. I found a piece of that, but I’m still searching and listening to that small still voice inside – “don’t give up. “ And so, I rest, and work and rest again.
Thanks for dropping by, until next week…
HSMs and conflict avoidance
I have never dealt with conflict very well. With males conflict is often the only way to settle things. Whether that constitutes violence or overly aggressive behavior, it often results in determining male pecking order. Conflict avoidance is often a big deal with HSMs. We are caught between our egos, our cultural programming and our natural tendency to be overwhelmed with the tidal wave of emotions surrounding argument or conflict. It’s not an easy place to be.
I’m not sure if the problem is a deep seeded fear of being physically hurt, i.e., getting punched, or the guilt of hurting someone else or even having in the end to say we are sorry for even going down that path. But I know for me, the minute conflict arises, and man, do we ever know when that happens, the brain starts to go into scramble mode. Sensory data is flooding in and our thoughtful processing ceases to function, the feeling of freezing up occurs and the inability to act calmly and collectedly shuts down. In other words, we become overwhelmed.
The brain shutting down in mid argument does not show well in conflict situations. That too is an embarrassment. Often we take the high ground for defensive reasons or employ other tactics, many of which are ineffective.
Passive aggressive behavior as a failed strategy in conflict situations
I know for myself that often I go into a habituated withdrawal, which of course is seen as being passive- aggressive. Perhaps, that’s true, by all definitions, but seems a bit broadly defined, when one is acting in a defensive posture, as opposed to purposeful manipulation. Another label might be cowardly, especially for men. Either way, both labels, have negative connotations, and perhaps, highlight the fact that it is almost universally agreed that conflict avoidance is a failed strategy for dealing with differences.
Retreating from conflict to avoid conflict is dooming the HSM to a life of fear of facing the raw emotions associated with heated “debate.” Yeah, we get overwhelmed, but the impacts are huge. Relationships, business dealings, online interactions, political debates with friends and family, work and home environments are all affected. So, yes, it’s a big deal.
But how does conflict avoidance make us overly dramatic or passive-aggressive?
The cultural ideal/role model for men shows little or no emotion, except in anger – where the alpha male, warrior/protector emerges. Being overwhelmed in conflict, well, makes you, shall we say, less than ideal or less than masculine (the Barney Fife syndrome). Like Barney we don’t have any bullets in our gun.
However, avoiding conflict is also avoiding practice at working out life’s little dramas. Make a footnote of that. As for myself, when pushed I will defend my territory or my position, but I don’t actively seek conflict. When the buttons are pushed; I tend to overreact, which of course, makes it all seem overly dramatic.
The reality on conflict
I have a perfectionist view with my ego, which has hampered my whole life experience. I don’t like positioning myself for failure. To me, arguments mean failure, so I simply avoid them at all costs. The reality is that life is full of conflict. Conflict is life, life is drama, and drama is conflict. Allowing fear to drive avoidance of conflict is not living life. Conflict is an inevitable part of life and should not be avoided.
This is considered to be the healthy response by most psychologists I have talked with over the years. Face the fear of conflict, experience the emotion and without trying to conquer your antagonist, express yourself. Meet the emotion head on, use pauses to allow your brain to catch up and work towards a common resolution and peace again --the part we’re really good at it. But sometimes it would really be nice to be like those quick witted TV crime drama attorneys who relish courtroom conflict and do so with great aplomb.
Dealing with conflict constructively as an HSM
There are probably good HSM lawyers, real or scripted, who have practiced the art of conflict resolution enough to be expert at it, but for the most of us, I’m betting this is an ongoing life challenge. Again, I don’t see this as an overall trait for weakness, but more of vulnerability, like the tender under belly of a predator cat. We as HSM males (and I realize I don’t speak for all HSMs), must deal with this in an honest and authenticate way. Realizing at times we have to adapt to life as it comes to us.
Allow ourselves to express our anger, dismay and disagreement, but then breathe and pause, being honest and true to our beliefs and feelings. Perhaps, even in the heat of battle, turning off the empathy long enough to make our point. After all, in the end it is sometimes good to think about yourself first.
Approaching conflict in a philosophical way
There are many good books out there about conflict resolution – strategy, approach, philosophy and technique. One I have from way back was a book called, The Art of Verbal Self Defense, by Dr. Suzanne Haden Elgin. Maybe just a basic primer, but a good book for HSPs.
Speaking of self-defense, a good strategy might also be to take classes in Aikido, a martial art that emphasizes a non-violent approach to disarming your attacker. It’s a good way to stay mindful and train the mind and the body to reacting to and handling aggressive conflict seeking individuals in a manner consistent with HSP values. Of course, mindfulness training, meditation and doing some form of brain training (more on this in a later post) are also, good ways of learning to slow down the mind under duress.
I acknowledge that these strategies and comments will not readily appeal to the 80 per cent non-HSP male population, but it is going against grain for HSP males to conform to a strategy that is aggressive and conquering. We disavow our purpose if we accept and adhere to an unnatural position in conflict; draining energy from ourselves simply to comply with old traditional ways of resolving conflict. The use of non-violent energy to diffuse conflict is more natural for us and works towards our evolutionary purpose. Think of all the great religious teachers as examples.
It does not make us wimpy or wusses to take this approach. Good leadership focuses on apprising situations and looking for a best approach on common grounds. Besides, look at where aggressive violent strategies have gotten us today. We may not always win, if winning is the objective, but protecting ourselves from negative energy, diffusing a bad situation and working towards a common solution is what we do best and what the planet needs – right now. Be proud of who you are HSMs.
Thanks for dropping by, until next week…
Bill Allen currently lives in Lutz, Florida. He previously lived in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.