We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.
We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.
We castrate and then bid the geldings to multiply.
- CS Lewis
I found this quote, can't remember where, and it really lays out the dilemma for Men today and the recent past. It's hard to know what path to choose, what decisions to make, what options are the best - and the advice we get, from those that we believe care most about us, is sometimes the worst.
And there is also all the messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis from every corner of our existence - but primarily all the crap we allow in our brains from various "media". It's not that everything we see or hear is wrong, it's the difficulty of deciding which should be kept and which should be discarded.
And God forbid, you make the wrong choice - or the choice you make doesn't turn out to match up with the expectations of someone else. As the quote above says in the last line, we castrate Men and then expect them to multiply. It's illogical. It's impossible. Society has an impossible of view of what Men can do - the expectations are so high, to out there, based upon the expectations.
I've already stated, I became the poster child of the American (beta) Husband. I'm sure my (x)wife wouldn't agree with that statement - but as of the writing of this post - I don't care what she remembers, her story, her rationalizations of what happened "to our marriage". And to tell you the truth, it's not even important other than for historical reference - and coming to my own realization that "yes, I did that" - taking responsibility for my own actions, then moving forward from there. But what I became was based upon my own thoughts of what a husband (and father) was, what he did - the family unit came first, Kids, Wife, hell even the dogs - the husband came in somewhere in fifth or sixth place in the order of importance.
Recently, it's hit me, you have to always keep yourself first. You have to lead from the front. You have to make the tough decisions, then stand by them. And if things go off the rails, then you figure out a way to get them back on track. Within your family, you are at the top - there is no one else - you can decide you don't like it, that doesn't change the reality of the situation. I'm letting go of the guilt I've felt for not being the leader of my family, for not taking that responsibility seriously, for the decisions and actions I took. Because of the guilt, I got angry - I was angry at my wife, I was angry at my kids, I was angry at my (and her) extended family, I was angry at my employer, I was angry at the world and how unfair it was. That was my reaction to my guilt - to my lack of leadership.
No more. What I'm finding is you balls will grow back - or that they were there all along. I own my actions during that time in my life. In fact, I am taking full responsibility for my life now - meaning I have to live my life for me.
Men, you must lead from the front. You must be willing to take responsibility for the decisions you make. Live your life, and lead.