By Jonathon Sumpter — Men in our society are taught not to cry, or to show any emotion outside of anger and pride that is. There are times when it is socially acceptable to shed a Man Tear or two. A few of these moments are for the joy of victory over an enemy in war, your football team wins the Super Bowl (go Pack!), to lose your dog, your truck, your one close buddy or spouse (as long as it is preceded with at least two glasses of Jim Beam or Jack Daniels), or watch a Man Movie like Rudy, Top Gun, Saving Private Ryan, and the Notebook (come on, the dude dies on his wife’s deathbed after she forgot who he was, that’s hard-core Man Tear time… or I’m just getting sentimental).
It is NOT, however, appropriate to tear up during Glee, the Milwaukee Holiday Parade when the Dancing Grannies march by (cause they’re just so darn cute and happy and you miss your momma and your granny!), a LifeTime Special, or a Folgers Christmas commercial.
I don’t know what it is, and I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I am becoming more sentimental around the holidays as I get older. I don’t really know what it is.
Perhaps that I’m 30, I can no longer pretend to be a 20 year old, and I have to face the reality that I am now a grown up. Maybe it’s because I am 20 hours away from my family and friends in Texas. Maybe it’s because I am newly married, and the concept of losing things like love, family, children, etc are now more real than they had been before. I don’t know if it is because I am starting my last semester in my Masters of Counseling. Perhaps I am becoming more emotionally aware as I walk with my clients as they tap into that emotional space they have numbed for so long; un-numbing their other emotions of joy, hope, happiness, and contentment. I don’t know if it is just that I haven’t adjusted to the grayness of the sunless Wisconsin winters.
Either way, I find myself experiencing my own emotions more than ever before.
While I know I have not adjusted to the numbing Wisconsin winters, I think the un-numbing of emotions comes when you are finally free to be happy. Life is extremely difficult right now for my wife and I. Especially as a married couple of two grad students with no money; as we are often marooned on the island of text, research, and practicums; and we do not have time to devote to our friendships. However, I am, I do believe, happy. I am married to a wonderful woman, I am almost done with a Masters degree, I have a loving family, and I am planning a future. Even though I don’t know where we will end up, I guess, what I’m saying is that I have hope, joy, and contentment.
So what if life is hard and I get a little more sentimental at times, I have a reason to not be numb, and experience joy, as well as you do too, I’m sure.