It's been longer than five minutes and my husband is still in town.
Granted, he leaves again Sunday, maybe Monday, but for the moment he is here, so he's finally cleared some mind space, and read the whole blog. His comments about it crystallized the differences between men and women. He liked it and was very complimentary. He even said he laughed out loud at one part, although he couldn't recall what it was. He said, You know, it was something about the four of us doing something. I was all, Super specific, thanks.
But he said something else that I thought was so interesting. And by "interesting" I mean I shared it with Chicago right away to get her perspective, because she's the kind of best friend where if something happens in my life or hers, it didn't really happen until we can share it with each other. So I wrote to her and she emailed back and instantly made me feel uncrazy, as she tends to do.
So, he said, I don't know, it just sort of seems like you're sad. And I was like, Sad? I'm not sad. Well, sometimes I'm sad, but I'm not writing because I'm sad. He said that he's just not the type of person to throw his life out there for people to read or see. You know, he's a man. I explained to my sweet, unassuming, confused man that this is what women do. We feel something, and then we feel around to see if anyone else feels it too, and then when we discover they do indeed feel it too, we all feel better.
It's a lot of feelings for a man to wrap his man-brain around, I get it. But I've been thinking about what he said ever since, because I like to dwell.
What I've come up with is that women are just different from men. We love the feeling of feeling connected. Even as little girls we joyfully hold hands, and to catch a glimpse of little girls holding hands is to catch that sweet, innocent, burgeoning female connection in its infancy. Eventually, we hold the (clammy) hands of our first boyfriends, and our next. It makes us feel giddy and breathless. We hold the hands of our husbands or partners. It makes us feel adult and exclusive and publicly devoted. We hold the hands of our children. It makes us (and them) feel guided and safe and in control. We hold the hands of our parents when we are all adults. It makes us feel thankful and full of remembrance and less out of control.
Women need to hold hands with others, even if it's virtually. For me, reaching out and connecting helps keep the Good Ship Amy balanced as it creaks and sways and navigates through life.
Men like to stand solitary on the bow, feet spread, hands on their own hips, steady as they go. I think it makes them feel stronger to manage the course alone.
But women's hands are never just on our own hips (without grocery bags and infants and backpacks, I mean), and we learn early that steering alone doesn't make you stronger or braver or more capable. It just makes you alone. Women's hands are forever wringing, washing, carrying, clasping, patting, soothing, making, cradling. Our hands are exhausted. We feel less tired when we feel warmth. Solidarity. Support. We need to feel another woman saying, I've walked in your shoes, and my callouses are right where yours are - do you feel them? You aren't alone, I am with you - do you hear me? I will stand by you and walk with you and listen to you and feel for you. I will squeeze your hand to remind you that I am cradling your heart while you cradle that baby through another sleepless night. I will brush the hair off of your pretty forehead as you cry out of sheer exhaustion or frustration or anger or heartbreak.
Or, I will read your musings and I will write you back and tell you that your journey is my journey. And that your kids sound like they act like my kids. And that your life seems wonderful and crazy and you're a lunatic (but I say that with love) and you made me laugh today and also? We. Are. One.
Women love that shit. Men, not so much. And that's okay. Because I can feel something, and throw it out there thinking, Man, am I the only one who feels like this? And someone writes back and says, Me too. And then I know it's not just me, because I have proof. Someone else said it out loud too, and that means it's not just in my head. See? Uncrazy.
But that's only part of why I'm writing. One side of it is that it gets all these ramblings out of my head. The other side is the side that connects me to you. So I will use the hands that I use to hold my babies, to make dinner, to love my husband and to care for the house-eating puppy, to do this too. To write away. And as I clickety-click it all out there, I will feel your hands holding mine. Just holding and squeezing and outhaling through it all, every time.
Sad? No. Exactly the opposite, actually.