Guys don’t want to talk about it
I just watched an episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel about adult males who’ve spent their lives dealing with the impacts of being sexually abused as children. The segment is called “Soccer’s Darkest Secret”, and like so many others I’ve seen and heard, these men are barely able to function. Most are forty or fifty years old…and they want to die!
Stories like this, and the continuing Catholic Church abuse saga, just crush me. So many broken men walking around in our society. Shame. Guilt. Hurt. Depression. Anger. Addiction. Pain.
Fuck! In this day and age…why do guys still feel like they can’t or shouldn’t talk about their shit? Why do we still feel ashamed? Shame each other? Drink, drug, yell, cheat, rage, hit, rape, and blow our fucking heads off…instead of just talking about things that bother us?
There’s a ton of research and thousands of opinions out there on the subject. It’s a tough one. As a boy, I grew up in the age of “Boys don’t cry” and “Cowboy up” and “Gotta be tough” and “Shake it off” and “Walk it off” and “You’ll be alright” and “It’s okay” and “Grow up” and “I don’t want to talk about it.” It’s just the way it was. It’s just the way it is. I didn’t talk about feelings very often. No one ever said it wasn’t okay, but I always felt it was implied.
We’d rather die
And so…I didn’t tell…or talk. I didn’t know I could. And it almost killed me.
I’m not being dramatic here. Carrying my secret, and all its shitty baggage, around with me through adolescence and teen years almost took me out…numerous times. It was so close.
I literally tried to burn myself up once! Light the fire. Wait for the smoke. Breathe in. Breath in. Deeper. One more time. Wake up in the weeds a hundred yards away! Watch the barn burn…and wonder why the fuck I’m not in there. More shame.
I tried a couple more times and it just never seemed to work out. How am I even alive today? I guess my angels had other plans. I’m not here today because I wanted to be. I’m here today because I’m supposed to be.
I never, ever take it for granted. After bumping along my bottom for a long, long time and finally sobering up in 1993, I’ve tried to treat each day as a gift. Because that’s exactly what they are for me…gifts. Second chances.
I’m here for a reason! I have a mission!
So many folks out there – and maybe even some of you – have that secret, or that something that you can’t bring yourself to talk about. Carrying it around. Identifying with it. Being defined by it.
Sometimes, getting rid of that burden can be life changing…or even life saving! Telling that secret can unlock the gates. Discussing those feelings can be the first step in tearing down the walls we’ve built around ourselves.
I know from experience that it seems like the most embarrassing and scary thing you’ll ever do. I’ve thought and thought about what I can do to possibly make the process easier…less awkward…more comfortable.
It’s okay to talk!
It’s okay to be vulnerable!
We’re not weak!
So I’m just going to throw this out there for now.
If you need a place to share your story…I’m here! If you just need to unload it…I’m here! If you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else about it…I’m here! If there’s nowhere else…TELL ME!
I’m not offering therapy here. I’m just offering a chance to tell your secret – no strings attached. I’ve been there. I understand. I won’t judge or question. I’ll never share it with anyone else.
Seriously! You can share anonymously in the comments below, or just click on “Contact Me” at the top of the page, and drop a note to my inbox. Tell me your story. Share your secret with me. Dump those feelings you’ve carried around with you. If you just need to unload and don’t want me to reply, just say so. I totally understand. I’ll read it and delete it. But, if you have questions or want to have a conversation – I’m all in. If you’re curious about my journey, feel free to ask…I’m an open book.
And…if you just read this and don’t have anything you want to get off your chest, please help me out. I’d like to get this message to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. The holiday season is here, and it’s a pretty depressing time of year for many.
Please share this post on your Facebook wall. Link to Instagram. Tweet it. Pin it. Whatever! Add #TellMe to your posts. Just help me reach people. Help me give someone…anyone…a place to unburden their soul and lighten their load.
Thanks to all of you for being a part of my life today.
Thanks for reading my posts and caring about my journey.
And thanks for helping me spread this message! #TellMe
Big Love to you all!
Thank you for your bravery and for encouraging men to also talk about this very important issue. I feel there is much support in this area recently for women with the “Me Too” movement but feel for Men, there is still a long way to go. I hope your story will help other young men step forward and embrace, support, and talk with each other. Let the healing begin. Thank you!
Thank you Brad for sharing part of your journey with us! It takes courage and an open heart to share and care as much as you do! Continue on my friend!! Love you so much for your compassion and thoughtfulness! Rare breed!