Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Men’

The “Taboo” Subject

I have recently been introduced to Dan Brennan’s blog  Jesus met Mary – A Sacred Friendship Gathering from fellow blogger Alise Wright  who was so impressed by his writings and upcoming seminar, that she featured him in her blog.  Dan is passionate  to find true meaning and depth in platonic male/female relationships in today’s culture.  Because he is in another state, I am not close enough to attend his seminar,  held in Chicago, IL this April.  But I have thoroughly enjoyed his many articles and research on this topic – considered a sort of “taboo” subject by most Christians today.  And Alise is privileged to be one of the many who will be attending and be blogging about the event.

The article below will make you think – and even have you coming away with more questions than answers on this complex subject concerning men and women – can they really just be friends?  What if your culture, church leadership and other Christians believe you can’t – does it not promote distrust and fear?  Will men and women be robbed of something deeper?  Does sexuality have to be the only motivating force in relationships?  Should we buy into what they tell us – and be afraid that every male/female relationship will result in an affair?  Is that just a given – no matter what?  What if we looked at it from a healthier point of view?

I personally have enjoyed many “friendships” with men over the years – some of my best friends tended to be guys in high school and college.  I still enjoy talking with men and find them interesting – and not at all like me.  I’m constantly sharpened by their humor, honesty and straight forward way of thinking.  I find men to have no hidden agenda – if they like me – they just like me, no questions asked.  In all my years through my many friendships, I have only had one situation that I deeply regret.  It was someone who was motivated by fear and culture as I was.   I believe that if he had believed in the power of friendship, mutual love and respect, and a value in a brother/sister bond – instead of being motivated and influenced by fear and distrust – I believe that in time things would have been different and our friendship restored.  When you care deeply for someone – love covers a multitude of sins, bad choices and regrets.

I only mention the above story to you because when I read Dan’s articles I was able to say – YES!  I CAN RELATE TO THIS!  And was very excited to have someone who has not only been through this kind of situation – but is passionate to change how we look at our relationships – in a more healthy way, without fear – bringing out the best in each other – bringing value and acceptance to others regardless of male or female.

The following article is by Dan Brennan – and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

The Sexualization of Culture.

Interesting…

Man and woman in bathing suits in a rowboat ne...

So Greg and I were sitting at the kitchen table having a discussion over scrambled eggs, toast and coffee, when suddenly we found ourselves on a topic that has been hashed around in our home MANY times:  Why can’t a man think more like a woman?  And to be fair – Why can’t a woman think more like a man?

Greg, of course – sides with all the men out there and sees the need to defend his “maleness” – while I struggle to fight for the “right to be heard” and explain that women just don’t think like men.

It is a very familiar dance.  The male vs. women thinking – a completely different approach to life,  to people and relationships.

When men see something such as a picture or image on TV – it does something for them.  When a woman sees that same provocative thing – they are usually disgusted and turned OFF.  When a woman is just being friendly to a man it can be interpreted as something else – but the man can think that it means something else entirely.  The woman see that as it is – just being friendly.  And making a new friend.  When a man is friendly to a woman – woman usually see this as friendly – unless it is creepy in some way – while a man may be thinking totally differently about his friendliness and her responses to it – leading – shall we say – somewhere else?

Greg was telling me that he heard on a radio program the other day – how men like seeing pictures of women – so these same men think that sending a nude photo of themselves will somehow be a turn-on to women he’s never met on the internet or through text messages.  Clearly men DO NOT UNDERSTAND WOMEN.

I love all my friends and I have many – both men and women.  But understanding the differences in how men and women relate with one another can takes a lifetime.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  A well rounded person should have friends from both sexes and have an easy rapport with both.

And after being married to the same man for almost 30 years, I can clearly see the differences – at least in our home:   Men see and feel through their eyes.  Women see and feel through their heart.  

Because men assume that women feel as they do – often times conversation can be misunderstood.  And because women assume men think like a woman – when they just want a “good talk”  (like they would with any of their girlfriends) – it can be misunderstood.  Woman love having deep conversations and often times their guy friends are like their girl friends – comfortable and dependable.  With nothing meant – and no interest whatsoever.

Greg has had to learn the art of listening – because I like to express myself through talking things out.  And I have had to learn that he doesn’t just want to talk all the time 🙂  And by communication, we’ve learned that I am a natural “nurturer” – loving to help, encourage and lend support to those out there within my reach.

And I have learned that Greg needs to be admired and be the “hero” in my life – making even the most difficult of days – better.  He longs to fix and offer wisdom and advice to my everyday problems and situations.  He loves to be connected and be consulted in even the smallest of decisions.

We’ve learned to support each other and to play to each other’s strengths – and yes,  even help each other understand why men and women react and respond the way they do – when it seems foreign to us.

It’s – interesting.  It’s called life.

What do you find the most interesting about woman – if you’re a man?  And about men – if you’re a woman?  Do you try to walk around in their skin once in a while to see if you can understand them better?  Try it – it’s very – interesting.

God Bless

Working The Anger Out

"Always write angry letters to your enemi...

Image by Abby Lanes via Flickr

‎”Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them.” – James Fallows

How many times have we done this? I know I have.  More than once.  My own dear husband admits to writing one of these to me a couple of years ago – and never let me read it – and he’s glad – so am I.

Letters written with anger are never restorative. Instead they can do real damage – as the written word is forever.  It is always imprinted on the memory and heart and is a tough thing to move past.

I don’t believe it is a sin to be angry.  Jesus was angry – many times.  He never sinned in anger and asks that we do the same.  There are going to be things that make us angry – it’s just a fact of life.  There are things we can’t understand – things we can’t resolve and the list goes on and on.

I wrote one of these ‘angry’ letters to a friend I had a falling out with – but I’m so glad I never mailed it – or passed it through an email.  The letter was for me alone – part of my healing to just ‘get it out’ on paper and reevaluate what went wrong – and validate me as a person.  Sometimes this is a necessary thing to do.  Once the anger and emotion is passed – often times there is something left in its place.  Perspective and sadness. Sadness for the circumstances – and perspective that time passing brings – taking the punch out of the anger.  Sadness that so much time is lost in the mean time.

I must admit that I don’t get angry very often.  I’m pretty even-tempered – yet I’m passionate about certain things – but usually not angry.  I love people in my life – deeply.  Love my family and friends with a solid love.  I think what really sets me off are ‘half truths’ told about me – or people totally misunderstanding me and passing me off as something that is not even true.  And being helpless to change this opinion.  Another thing that really sets me off is being helpless to change past circumstances that got blown WAY out of proportion.  I am naive enough to believe that adults should be able to get past themselves – truly and totally forgive – to save the relationship – learn from mistakes of the past and be restored in every sense of the word.  My dear husband smiles at me and pats me on the head – like I’m a small child full of innocence and wonder.  And says, ‘Oh Cindy – that is just not the real world’

And so writing letters are for me alone. God is the only one who sees them.  And He is doing a deep work of art – in my heart.  Helping me work out the disappointment, hurt and anger – and stop it before I spew it on others close to me.  I’ve kept a journal for years – and recently I told ‘my story’ as I remember it.  We all have our ‘story’ don’t we?  Mistakes we have made?  Someone that has hurt you?  Something you can’t fix on your own?  Yes – we all do.

Can I be angry and not sin?  That is the challenge for me. Can I still be passionate about wanting change – and not push before people are ready for change?  Can I keep who I am intact – and not lose myself to emotion?  Can I do and feel what is right – and not compromise what I feel God would want me to do?  Follow His leading and direction – rather than what others tell me?  Know myself so well – that it is not a dilemma for me to restore others in love?  These are the questions I struggle with – daily.  And sometimes what I feel God is leading me to do – is not the popular consensus.

My encouragement for you is this:  Write that angry emotional letter – get it all out!  All of it. The feelings and emotions – the being misunderstood – the slander against you – the feelings of betrayal and being wronged.   Imagine taking a walk with that person who has wronged you.  Find a nice place to stop along the road – a nice grassy patch that’s very quiet and peaceful.  Take out the letter and read it out-loud to that person.  Ask them not to interrupt you until you’re done reading it.  This letter will say it all – and you won’t have to depend on your memory – and get lost in emotion – you can just read it.  Imagine that they hear you.  Really hear you. Imagine that they understand – and that they feel sorry for causing you pain – and they accept your apology too.  Imagine the conversation of healing and restoration – even if you have to MAKE IT UP.  Remember – it is for you. It is part of your heart healing – and letting go of the anger.

I have done this – not once – but many times. It is always a restorative conversation.  The anger is no longer there.  I am still writing – and there are days when I have to take that walk with someone again and read a letter – forgive and be forgiven – and have a healing conversation.  There are days when I have to forgive myself all over again.  I wish I could say that all of my relationships have been finally worked out and are restored – back in good daily communication – having put the past behind – but sadly this is not true.  But I still wait in anticipation for God to truly restore and heal – and bring back to me – what was once lost. There must still be lessons for me to learn. Until then – I am still working on me. I am in process – on a long journey.

God Bless

I’m Not Short – I’m Empire Waisted

Joséphine de Beauharnais wearing a dress with ...

Image via Wikipedia

Men are so funny.  Especially to us women.  Who else could get colors, fabrics and clothing lingo – so completely WRONG?

Greg likes to be ‘involved’ in my life – not be left out – even if it is about clothing, makeup and ‘girly things’.   I had my ‘colors’ done one year – and I think Greg felt left out.  For years he has insisted that he is NOT one particular ‘season’ – like so many women were holding firmly to – when the whole ‘color me beautiful’ thing was popular.  He would insist – he was ‘every season’ and couldn’t be pinned down.  I would tell him that I am a ‘summer’ – because those colors most complemented my skin tone.  If we were in a winter month – then Greg would miraculously be a ‘winter’ too.  When the season changed to ‘spring’ – then he was also a ‘spring’.  I think he just wanted to feel a part of things – and being ‘one’ with nature – proved that he was – or something like that.  He doesn’t want to be left out.

Now when I have an item of clothing – for example – an ’empire waisted’ shirt he doesn’t want to be left out – and insists that he IS ’empire waisted’ too.  I think that secretly he is just trying to hide the fact that he has rather short stocky legs 🙂

An empire waist is very flattering – hugs the smallest part of a woman’s body and doesn’t emphasize the curvier areas.  Those of us that have curves – love the empire waist 🙂  Men don’t really get that.  Who can blame them?

Men.  What to do with them.  Can’t live with them – Can’t live without them either.  So confusing.  Luckily my man isn’t too complicated – he’s simple really – and I don’t mean ‘simple minded’ – that’s another completely different subject.  Just simple. Not too hard to figure out – no drama or mystery.  That’s MY department – and he would totally agree!

I think we confuse the men.  But I think they rather like it.  They seem to always have that bemused and puzzled expression on their faces.  There are in a constant state of panic – wondering if they will be asked to ‘recall’ a question we have just asked them – or trying frantically to come up with the correct response to our incessant chatter.

Last night Greg and I were sitting in the ‘talking room’ – a room where we have spent many HUNDREDS of hours over the last couple of years.  I was happily chatting on and on about something really important to me – and I noticed that he was starting to ‘nod off’.  Oh – not blatantly – it was just a subtle flinch – eyes that blinked too many times – and a familiar twitch around his mouth.  All these things that I can read so well – and others would not be able to tell.  But I KNEW!!   It was irritating.  And I knew that instead of my conversation being really important – my voice was instead lulling him to sleep!  Good grief.

He’s pretty good – but most of the time has a hard time keeping up with me – after all – I am a handful – as all my friends know 🙂

Next time you see Greg – ask him if he’s got short legs – or is he really ’empire waisted’ – you’ll get a good laugh from him – and it will make you smile – I promise ♥

God Bless

The Love Relationship

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I was in the gym today with Greg when he said something that sparked a long humorous conversation.  He was trying to tell me something – I didn’t hear correctly – started to interject something totally different – and he stopped me and said, ‘You’re just not hearing me – you’re not hearing my heart‘  Oh brother.  I say ‘Oh brother’ because he is saying it with TONS of sarcasm in his voice – and a chuckle at my expense!!

This has been a part of our love relationship for years now.  The differences in us that make us laugh.  Greg making fun of women – (mainly me) and imitating  all the silly ‘girly’ phrases and things we women do.  It works for him – because he always manages to get some kind of reaction from me – and he likes that.  And I tease and poke fun at him – when he becomes too serious – or too stuffy – and it always makes him laugh.

Men love to make fun of women.  Case and Point:  The movie ‘Titanic” – where the old Rose is saying about her memory of Jack (the man she loved) – ‘he saved me in every way a woman can be saved’.  Greg loves to make fun at that movie – and especially cheesy lines like that.  His first response is – ‘You’ve GOT to be kidding, right’?  But I know what she meant by that line in the movie – women get it. Women understand these deep mysteries of feelings and emotions – and Men pretend they don’t. When probed – I have discovered that men really do get it – it’s just not ‘manly’ to admit it.

Now why is this?  Men have feelings and emotions – this is for certain – and no one can hurt a man like a woman can.  Remember the recent series “Men of a certain age”?   Actor Ray Romano tells his son about women, ‘they have many ways they can hurt us”.

So if this is true – and men feel the same feelings about love and other things that we do – why is it considered weak – or ‘girly’ to admit it?  Very few men will admit to crying at a sad movie – although I’ve seen both my husband and son do it – but not many others.  Most men are guarded when it comes to expressing those ‘touchy feely’ feelings.  And I believe it is drilled into them as little boys to be tough and not show emotion.  That somehow it weakens them to admit they struggle – or have fear – or are afraid – or feel helpless in the midst of love – or can be hurt enough to cry.  Remember the song in the 70’s by the group ’10cc’ where one of the lines is ‘Big boys don’t cry’?  How sad that men believe this – how sad that they are made to feel they must be like this.

It is interesting that when you know a man – really know him – he is not afraid to reveal some of that emotion.  But he must feel safe. And just because they don’t feel like they always can express emotions like a woman can – does not mean that they don’t have them.

I’ve been married to this man of mine for 29 years this Sunday – and one of the great things I’ve discovered is this:  we are different – but we are basically the same underneath all the layers.  Our emotions are basically the same – with different reactions to pain and hurt.  We both know what it feels like to be vulnerable and misunderstood – or to be used and tossed aside.  We both understand love and relationships – and have felt all sorts of emotions in relation to each other and in raising children.  We both can still make each other laugh – and we’re great friends – even through some of the rough patches that life has thrown at us.  And that’s so nice to know. ♥

He will continue to tease and make fun – I will continue to make him scratch his head in confusion – and make him laugh – it is our dance.  And so our journey continues – with its mysteries and lessons – and its laughter. It is our story – it is our love relationship.

Where’s Your Bucket?

Last week I went on an adventure with Greg to West Seattle.  He had to pick something up from a building supply place and then take it to a Starbucks store and fix the problem.  Greg ‘moonlights’ as a contractor for Starbucks and does random cleaning and light maintenance of several stores around the greater Seattle area – when he’s not doing a wedding or a funeral.

It was going to be just a routine ride – I was only along so he’d have some company.  We didn’t think we’d run into any traffic because we were going well before normal rush hour – and stayed off the main heavy traffic places.  It was going to be a pleasant – wonderful ride.

However…

I had a headache.  Not a very bad one – not like the ones I used to get when I had those headaches.  By those – I mean the ultimate  ‘Granddaddy’ of all headaches – and I wrote an article on what mine are like – here it is:  “My Fear Button”.  This was not one of those. Just a little nagging thing – hurting above my right eyebrow – but not bad enough to keep me home.

We came to the first place to pick up what Greg needed to get – a building supply place.  He was gone for several minutes and my head really starting to hurt.  He got what he needed and we headed down the road – but as we continued along we soon found ourselves in some wicked traffic.  We had even taken an alternate route – knowing that one freeway had heavy construction on it.  It didn’t seem to matter – everyone in the city was taking our little ‘short cut’ to another way around it.

Soon I knew that this was no ordinary headache.  I was starting to feel sick to my stomach too.  This was bad.  Very bad. I was soon envisioning another episode in the truck – involving a ‘hurling’ and my husband being humiliated.  I asked if we had a bucket in the truck – and Greg  (by now was a little panicky) quickly looked around and said – “No!  No bucket – you will just have to wait”  Easy for him to say.  I remembered that my “Cindy Box” was in the truck – (those of you who follow my blog know about my ‘box’ – those who do not – can click on “Cindy Box” and read up on it).  Of course it was filled with all my necessary products – I need them.  No ‘male’ operated  truck that carries a ‘female’ should be without these products – it’s really easier on the relationship and marriage.  I said, “Greg – can you reach my “Cindy Box”?”  I saw his eyes grow large with alarm as he said, “It’s full – you can’t use that!”

It reminded me of when Bill Cosby’s wife was going into labor and she started to have painful contractions in the car and Bill said, “No dear – WAIT!!!  I’ll pull over – not in the car dear – NOT IN THE FERRARI!

It wasn’t very funny at the time – especially when Greg told me I’d have to hang on until the next exit.  I’m like, “It doesn’t work that way Greg!”  But hang on I did – and when we finally got off the freeway – I was white as a sheet working very hard to think about ‘puppies’ and ‘snowflakes’ and ‘teddy bears’ – anything but food and throwing up!!  Greg pulled up next to an office building and quickly jumped out – scooped up my ‘box’ and emptied it so I would have a container for the rest of the ride.  Smart man.  He knows too well that I have used a container and I probably will again.  After getting out and getting some fresh air – I felt well enough to jump back in for the rest of the painfully slow ride to the Starbucks.

After arriving  – a hot cup of coffee (caffeine is very good for headaches) and time out of the vehicle really felt good!  I was not headache free – but at least it was manageable.  I have found that my headaches and stomach aches  run together – almost indistinguishable at times.  Once the pain has gone on too long in the head – the stomach reacts.  It’s a given.

Well I’m thankful to report – I did not have to disgrace my “Cindy Box” in any way – and humiliate my sensitive and easily embarrassed sweet husband.  The ‘items’ of necessity are all safety back in place – and I was told today that the ‘bucket’ is back in the truck.  Hmmmm.  I wonder why?

Take care and God Bless

Mrs. Grumpy And The Temporary Files

Today my dear husband and I were having a lovely trip into the country – we attend church in Enumclaw which is quite a little drive from Renton – but it’s beautiful – and on a day like today there is a crystal clear view of Mt. Rainier. This time I actually remembered to pack along my digital camera to get some great shots of the mountain in all its glory.

While looking for a spot to take the pictures from I happily spotted an espresso stand in the middle of nowhere – which was actually open on a Sunday! I expressed my joy to Greg who was focused on finding “just the right spot” for pictures – I even mentioned it to him, “it’s actually OPEN”!! I said – expecting that he would take note of it and later come back to it. So after finding a place complete with some beautiful cherry trees to take some pictures – we got back in the truck and I said – do you remember where that little coffee place was? I was confident – because my husband is NOTHING if not a “human compass” – knowing how to find things – even if it’s been YEARS since he’s been there. He never gets lost and always has a brilliant sense of direction – unlike me – who has NO sense of direction. But he replied, “What little coffee place?” Hmmm. This couldn’t be good. I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a paper bag – let alone far into the country with nothing familiar to guide me. So I tried the best I could, “Don’t you remember we passed it on the way and I said, “It’s actually OPEN!!”? He did not. No recollection at all – UNTIL we passed by it and I exclaimed, “There it is!!! – See?” He was like, “No I don’t remember that – I thought you were talking about the Grange Hall being open” Hmmmm. Why would I CARE about a Grange Hall???? Wow. Yeah – that sounds just like me – “Hey let’s pull over RIGHT NOW and go in the Grange Hall – it’s actually OPEN!!! YIPPEE!!!!” Right.

So it was then that I tossed around an idea – I have actually had my suspicions on this subject for quite a while now. Here it is: Men have “temporary files” it’s a little scary because they often cannot find the file anywhere once it downloads. Lots of little “temporary files” with no permanent destination. Just lost and forlorn – looking for a home. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I have thousands of those on my computer and every once in a while I have to clean them out – or it clogs up my hard drive and it runs slow and sluggish. Women burn thoughts and all external information straight to their “hard drive”. Yup – that’s our default setting. One it downloads – it’s there permanently. It takes much more effort to remove it – and sometimes like a pesky file or virus on your computer – it cannot be removed at all. Ever. With Men – they are just a “click” away at all times from “deleting” those temporary “bites’ of information. I think it’s why they look so confused and lost most of the time when trying to talk to them. Greg says he’s desperately trying to figure out what I’m saying – and trying to come up with the correct response fast enough so he won’t look like an idiot. It’s a full-time job sometimes to try to “access” the correct “file”. And let’s face it – sometimes it’s not even there anymore. It’s gone. POOF!!! There’s no memory of it – nothing. Just gone.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a crazy person. Searching for understanding from someone who will not make me feel like I’m insane. “You didn’t say that” he will say. And I will respond, “I most certainly DID.” You know – those conversations.

Ah – the complexities of men and women – trying to battle it out – speaking their own unique languages – which make no sense to the other. It’s blissful and wonderful sometimes, isn’t it? Can’t you just feel the love?

I’m thinking the old, “can’t live with them – can’t live without them” certainly applies BIG TIME – right here.

Maybe this is why women are sometimes grumpy. We remember everything. I think it is not always a blessing. Oh to sometime be a man. Live and let live – “Don’t need this “temporary file” – I’ll just delete it!” Wow – what a concept.

Here’s wishing you plenty of patience today as you try to understand the complex language of the sexes.

God Bless

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