There’s A ME In Men, Too!

It’s a cute title, but it’s actually a pretty profound concept; one that can be devastating if ignored.  From the get-go, I have claimed that this blog is designed for women AND men who need a little creative nudge.  When I talk about Let ME Out to friends and family and anyone who’ll listen, really, I always make sure to add that there is something for everyone in this blog – not just stay-at-home moms with young children who are tearing their hair out.  (The moms, not the children, although I guess any way it is interpreted could work here.)

But here’s the honest truth for you, dear Readers.  While I have been blogging and promoting and really getting comfortable at my writing desk, I have failed to notice something bizarre and wonderful happening in my own home.

For the past 8 years, I have been married to a man who is hard-working, dedicated, intelligent, practical, hard-working, conservative, giving and… oh, did I mention, hard-working?   His career in the financial industry has been a series of top performance leadership roles, awards of distinction and a long following of loyal clients.  His work ethic extends to the home-front.  Yes, I have a man who cooks, cleans, shops for groceries, does the yard work, changes diapers and celebrates every milestone of our children.

Don’t ask me for my secret; I didn’t have anything to do with this.  Life circumstances and an innate value system that is refined with every major experience have navigated him to where he is now.

He plays soccer, occasionally golfs and once in a while shoots hoops in our driveway.  Other than that, he doesn’t really have an outlet for his creative side.  I have been bugging him for years to try on a creative hobby for size.  I even surprised him by buying him a half-day workshop on cartooning.  He loved it and came home with some great sketches.  In my excitement over this, I bought him a sketch pad for him to collect all his masterpieces; it remains empty, collecting dust and sad looks from me in his home office.

His work does allow for creativity; he comes up with brilliant financial plans for his clients that are tailored to a T.  And that is his favourite part of his workday.  But, I’ve always had this sense about him – that there is so much more to his creative capabilities than he even knows.

And since I’m on this honest kick, I have to admit that part of the reason I want him to get busy exploring his creativity is so that I feel less guilty about spending the time dabbling in my right brain.   It’s kind of hard to feel the ‘high’ all the time when your partner is looking rather bored.

Well, it all came to a head this weekend.  Over the past two and a half years since I have “come out” with my passions and even more so in the 5 weeks since the launch of this blog, my husband has cheered me on, listened to my blubbering about my site stats and readers’ feedbacks and watched me retreat to my studio to happily punch away at these keys.  And something in him started whispering, then gaining volume…and all I heard during our heated discussion on Sunday morning was “What about ME?”  Underneath his complaints, observations and questions was this simple question.  So, essentially, I let him rant and then gave him the day to let everything settle.  Before going to bed, we cuddled up on the couch in the living room and I looked right in his eyes and asked him, “Are you ready to let your ME out?”  He smiled and said, “Yes.”

Hallelujah! 

It dawned on me today that I do know men who are trying to recover their ME.  In fact, this summer I have seen 3 men close to me on this path – including my husband.

OK – so now what?  Is it possible to simultaneously have both adults in the house remembering and releasing their creative selves?  I have to say “yes!” because the alternative doesn’t make any sense to me.  There has to be a way for a couple to embark on this journey together but still separately!  There is enough time and space for this to happen.  Why should one person sacrifice their ME for the other?

Wow, I just wrote that last question and remembered this profound poem I heard at a wedding on Saturday.  Now I realize why I resonated with it so deeply.   I’ll end with the poem – what do you think of it?  How is this like or not like your marriage?  If you’re not married, is this what you would consider an ideal marriage to be?  Anything you would add or subtract?  Find these questions on the Writing Prompts page and feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below!

Here it is, written by Khalil Gibran on Marriage:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

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