Mary Beth Writes

4/7/2022

I used to think of things to say almost every day but now it’s more of a challenge.  I’m working on other writing projects.  I’m walking more. Len and I are spending more time with our kids and grandkids. Books.

Life is not constantly this way or that way, not even when we are old. One of the lies that is out there is the stereotype of “older people with settled lives.”  You know, the cisgender sweet old lady and the cisgender dear old gent who get up everyday at the same time and eat the same breakfast and then she does handcrafts while he putters in his workshop.  Yadda yadda on and on.

Do we even know people who live this way?  Did they ever, or was this one more way to infantilize older human beings?

Breaking news about me:

I just got my first professional salon haircut in two-plus years. Thanks, Marcia! Good recommendation!

FINALLY, the results from wearing the Holter monitor are in and they say just about zilch. Nothing too dramatic happened. There are no smoking guns in me.  My Nurse Practitioner and I are in a slow conversation about what to do or not do next. 

 

Emotionally Vamoosed Males

The writer of this essay got me with this: “Men say they are ‘Simple guys. Open books. No drama. I’ve learned to see these as red flags.’” 

I just read “An Essay About Men: Considering the Inner Worlds of Those Who Are Taught to Deny Themselves” by Holly Haworth.

This essay re-makes, for those of us who have not been considering lately, the powerful connection between men who don’t responsibly explore their interior lives and the toxic times in which we live. https://lithub.com/an-essay-about-men-considering-the-inner-worlds-of-those-who-are-taught-to-deny-them/

What do you think?

 

 

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Looks good! Glad you are satisfied with her work. I’m next!

I just finished the essay MB and must say that as a Gay man I must agree with a lot of what she writes... I grew up in a household with a father and three order brothers where not showing your feelings or expressing your needs and wants came with the label *Being A Man*... Luckily for Me I didn't listen to the "Be strong, Don't Cry" policy that entails... Instead I chose to spill my guts out and cry in front of anyone who will listen to me and my story (As anyone who reads your blog knows)... The English Professor I was dating a while back, living with some extremely emotionally painful trauma from forty years ago broke up with me after nearly two years because he said he was fine, and had delt with it but without seeking any real professional help... And yet he shut me out because I insisted that he hadn't, and really needed to... The man could speak and write eloquently, And yet I practically needed a crowbar to get any real answers/information from the him... I had to seek help in order to learn how to have a relationship with this damaged human being... I let my counselor see and hear everything between us... Her response to this was that without meeting with him (He refused emergency Couples Counseling...) She said "It's as if he had a wall around him and he built another one around that one, then dug a moat, filled lt with water, added alligators and spikes, and leaving out the drawl bridge so that no one could access his true pain, or get too emotionally close to him" I believe He's NOT alone in that assessment... I'm sorry to say that we have a world full of men in that same situation, I've dated or lived with some... She said to me "You on the other hand are sitting out in a field with not even a fence around You, with your arms outstretched saying ¿What do you want to know?" She told me that we needed to work on that and she's had men sit through seven or more session's not speaking and with her trying to pull something out of them before they even begin to speak about anything... Then I walk in her office and within a month she has gleaned more information out of me then she has in a year or more of counseling other men... She says that all she has to do with me is ask a question and I grab and run with it... She says there needs to be more men in the world like that...
Mary Beth's picture

When I was very young and new in Chicago my first job was in a flower shop. I made some good friends with the men there, and several of them were gay although no one said or admitted such a think to a casual cisgender woman friend back then. It took a while for me to put the pieces together that I really liked humans who had an idea of the good and awful from which they sprung and who could talk about it. And when these humans were male, back then, mostly they were gay men. As soon as I understood that, I also began to hear the awful things they called women who were friends of gay men. Reading this essay, one of the things I realized was that telling a person she is "less than" because she often prefers gay men to John Waynes is just one more way to denigrate communication and trust.

I forgot about the barbed wire on top of the second wall... I have always preferred the company of women to that of men, be they Straight or Gay men... My Gay peers can be as bad and hurtful if not worse as their straight counterparts when it comes to denigrating women (be thay straight or otherwise...) Or even those of us older gay men... Not all, but enough.... I've never quiet understood that... I love and respect my women friends, probably even more than they know... They have always supported me and allowed me to be myself, share my feelings, and cry in front of them when I needed to, and have helped me through some extremely tuff times... One such female friend said to me when my first partner died in October and I told her that I told my counselor that I had in place an amazing support group "That's because You chose Us, and of course We Love and support You, Why and How would We NOT? We are Your tribe... Roger who is 79 to my almost 70, and a fairly new and dear Gay friend and now travel companion said to me when I told him this morning over the phone that I cried in the church at my Ex Father In Laws (Second Partner's Dad) funeral yesterday, when we were told by the priest to greet the person close to us Michael My second partner) hugged me close and said "Thank You for bring here for me" as I told him "I Love You Mr., of course I'm going to be here..." Roger said "Of course You cried, it's how You are wired to show Your feelings, happy or sad... I love that about You, and I would know something was seriously wrong with You if You didn't cry..." (He's seen my do it a lot...) More men Straight, Gay, or whatever need to reach in and start opening up and loosing those shackles which have held us down for much too long...
Mary Beth's picture

And since this is where we are - for those on Instagram (maybe they are on other social media, I don't know) - Look at 'The Old Gays'. Three older gay men who exude joy and high jinx and acceptance of self that is hilarious and good.

I had a straight male friend...long deceased but never forgotten...who preferred the company of women. He insisted they were more open than men, more understanding than men and they tended to be less racist and homophobic than most straight men. He cited a word in Yiddish which I can't remember that meant "a man with a little bit of woman in him" and that he was one of these men. I did believe him as I enjoyed his company and looked at him as I would one of my girlfriends. He lived in my neighborhood and most days included him dropping in for a cup of tea and conversation. I was a stay- at- home- Mom at the time and enjoyed those long and meaningful talks. Although he's been gone for more than thirty years, I think of him almost daily and miss him still.
Mary Beth's picture

What a beautiful thing to say and still want to say all these years later... I'm sorry for your loss even now.

Thank you.

And I thank You for that... I read this Wonderful testament to a loving friendship that endures in Your heart on a train ride back from Chicago... I don't want a big to-do when I pass (Never have) but if I've touched just one persons life the way he did Yours I'd be happy with that... What a lovely sentiment to carry through Your days...

Thank you.

For sharing such a truly Wonderful friendship... I would wish that every woman could have a male friend like yours so that they would know that it's possible and have something to aspire to as far as the opening up and sharing feelings goes... When I describe how and what We talk about when I'm with my close friends Michael & Roger, My counselor always says to me "¿Can't you guys teach a class to *Straight men* on how to share with and treat a partner, because the men I run into while trying to date are hopeless? I would just once like to be treated the way you guys treat each other, its so REFRESHING to hear that there are men out there like you guys...

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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 

...

MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 

 

Almost. Two Years Later

1/6/2023 

 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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