Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mr. Sensitivity

In the broad spectrum of sensitivity in men, I certainly know that I fall closer to the "Falls to pieces at each and every Hallmark commercial" side of things than the "His face is chiseled in stone" side. I pride myself in being a real man who can cry.

The funny thing about my sensitivity is that I am often sensitive to things that perhaps I shouldn't be, but not to things I should. This, of course, frustrates my wife to no end. And I wish I could explain why it is. Maybe it is an ingrained need to be a "rock of stability" at times when my wife is feeling emotional about something. Yet, the downside to that is I cannot "mirror" her in those times, really feel what she feels. Finding the middle ground is difficult.

But then there are those things I feel very deeply, and typically about things that really have nothing to do with me or my wife. This morning was one of those moments.

Two nights ago, I went through all the CDs I had in my car and swapped them out for a new set of CDs. Now anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love Les Miserables. I always wanted to play the part of Jean Valjean. And Marius. And Javere. Fortunately, in the car, I can play them all...and Eponine and the Thenardiers, and everyone else as well.

Anyhow, the men who created Les Miserables (the musical, as opposed to the book that the musical is based from) also created Miss Saigon. And, just as I love Les Miz, I love Miss Saigon. Powerful stuff, even if I can't personally relate to much of anything in it.

So, today during my drive in to work, in no fewer than three distinct scenes, tears were streaming down my face. No, not just that, "Oh, my eyes are going to tear up, so I need to blink," feeling. But full-fledged tears. That's me, Mr. Sensitivity.

And I have to wonder why that is. Okay, so the writers want to you cry. I get that. But, I mean, why is it that I can cry about a fictional man telling his fictional wife what his fictional lover meant to him while he was a soldier in Vietnam, but the sad moments of real life I can keep my face completely dry?

I know, for myself, that emotions are a thing of logic. Specifically, I'm somewhat at a loss as to what I feel in emotional situations until afterwards, when I have time to think about things. What do I feel? Why did I react that way to that situation? Feelings come slowly, sometimes with a bit of pushing and prodding.

There is another downside to this. Because while my lows aren't as low as what my wife feels, my highs aren't as high either. It really takes a lot to get me truly excited about something. So, I suppose there is a trade-off. In the meantime, I continually strive to better understand the feelings of my wife, my children...but mostly myself.

And for the record, I haven't cried at a Hallmark commercial in a really long time. Really.

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