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  • Writer's pictureJamaal Peeples


What is up? Yeah, yeah, yeah I know it's been almost a year since I've written a blog post. I wish I had a really cool reason like I was out seeing the Great Pyramids in Eygpt or something like that, but nope. A nigga was just busy as fuck. I now have three teenage girls living with me. The crazy thing about being a single parent is that it is really easy to get caught up in life. And to be honest, this shit is tiring.

Anywho, today I want to talk about why I don't talk.

A few ground rules first:

  1. I DO NOT want people reaching out to me telling me, "Well you can talk to me whenenver..." (more about this later). I know in theory I can talk to a lot of people about what is going on in my life. But that isn't the point. Don't call me, I'll call you.

  2. 2. I also DO NOT want people to generalize what I'm abou to say with every other man out there. This is about me. Now, I do hope that some folks will read this and be like,"Yep, that brotha is out here speaking the truth, because that's how I feel." But don't go home and ask your Daddy about this shit. Because he probably ain't gonna tell you.

When I was a kid I loved cartoons. And I mean old school cartoons. The one's where you can tell there was actually someone drawing the cartoons and not the animated computer generated shit of today. Cartoons like Muppet Babies, DuckTales, Ninja Turtles, and all of that kind of genre. The one's where go back and watch these days and then you're like, "Man this shit looks really cheesy.What was I thinking about when I was 10?"

I especially liked Tom and Jerry. And not the ones where Tom and Jerry were friends. (Those came later on). But the early ones where Tom and Jerry were ALWAYS beefing. The ones where you go back and you look at Tom and you're thinking,"Damn Tom, you're always falling for the dumbest shit possible."

There was one particular episode where Jerry convinced Tom to put a fork in an electrical socket. I remember when I was probably like six or seven years old, and I probably thought to myself, "Hey if I put a fork in an electrical socket, I wonder if my hair would stand on my head like Tom's did?" And in my infinite wisdom as a six or seven year old, I stuck a metal fork into an electrical socket in our kitchen. Now, yeah of course you can guess what happened after that. Yep, I shocked the shit out of myself. According to my Mom, she heard a big "Pop" and I was standing there not crying but just standing there in shock (literally) like,"Yeah, yeah Mommy, I know I fucked up." For years, there was a dark mark around the light socket I stuck a fork in. Like my parents purposely didn't fix it so I can always look at it and think, "Yeah, I'm not doing that shit again."

Well, that's how I feel about opening up to people. I've done it before, and I shocked the shit out myself. However, the shock I felt wasn't electrical. The shock that I had was of disappointment and regret.

Because, dear friends, after 45 years of being on this Earth, I have realized one big truth in my life:

People are like snowflakes. And no I don't mean that everyone is different.

People are like snowflakes, when the heat is on, they will melt on you.

I remember I was dating a woman a few years ago. She hit me with, "Yeah, you can open up and talk to me about what is going on." And "I'm a safe place...". And one time I did. I opened up to her and told her about how my Mom was the most important person to me in my life. About how I missed her every day, and how I wished that she could have met my kids. And how I worry sometimes that the things I do and have done in my life would or would not make her proud of me. I still have those thoughts. There were tears. I had been holding that in for a while, and at the moment when I told her that, I felt amazing. It felt good to get that off of my chest. I felt that we were closer since I had told her that.

And then, a few months later, we had gotten into arguement. (We did that a lot). When we would argue, she would frequently go to places with me that she knew would upset and hurt me. And you guessed it, she went there. She said, "That's why I know your Mom didn't raise you right. She would be ashamed the man that you grew up to be." Welp, that was Mission Accomplished. That shit tore and broke me down. Whoever said "Stick and stones...but words won't hurt me" must have been fucking deaf. Because that shit HURT.

But most importantly, it just reinforced the belief that I had before. That when you open up to people, then you make yourself open for them to use that information against you. And, when the heat was on in our relationship, she melted and went for the thing that she knew would hurt me. That just added another layer to the wall I had in my mind. (I wrote a whole blog about "The Wall", this is a shameless effort of mine to get you to go back and read the older blog posts. Or even better, buy my book!!!)

Okay okay okay. I can read your mind. You're saying to yourself, "That BITCH! I would never do that to someone I love." Well, my friends, there is another reason why I don't open up to people.

I'm not trying to boast or brag, but I feel as if I am a reasonably mentally strong person. I'm sure you are as well. There are things that have happened in my life, where I know that if they would have happened to someone else, then they would have put a gun in their mouth. I thank God for that mental strength. But that doesn't mean that I'm invincible. However, the great irony in that is that when people realize that you're a mentally strong person, they will want to come to you about their issues. That, within itself, is fine. I want to be whatever God needs me to be in someone's life. But, sometimes, when I have opted to start sharing about what's going on with me and what I'm struggling with, then the person I'm talking to will open up about what is going on with them. And instead of me getting the comfort or resolution from that person, I end up helping them comforting them instead.

Here's an example. A few weeks ago, I had to talk to a counselor about something that happened with one of my daughters. Super nice lady. Our conversation was nice, however, I was very rigid and I wasn't giving a lot of information on how I felt. (Because of the whole Snowflakes thing). Eventually, she got me to open up and then she told me a little bit about how something in her profession was bothering her and troubling her as well.

We talked about it, and I gave her my opinion about things. And she said, "That really blessed me. Thank you very much for that." And she left that conversation feeling better about what was bothering her.

However, I was still fucked up about what was going on with me.

Now I didn't want to be a dick and say, "Hold up lady, we ain't talkin' about you here!" Obviously, God had put me in her life for a reason on that day, at that time. But damn. I felt as if I was counseling the counselor.

Now that is an extreme case of what I'm talking about, however, it happens more times than not. When you're a mentally strong person, people will gravitate to you and want a piece of that strength. However, when I need my cup refilled sometimes I feel as if people want the last little drop of water that you have in me. Damn, sometimes I need someone to pour the fuck into me.

Now, this feeling I have ain't got shit to do with "Toxic Masculinity" or any of those buzzwords that people have came up with put men like me into a box with. Yeah, I'm a man. I like beer, boobs, and sports. I don't cry a lot, and when I do, I do it alone where no one can see me. Why? Because when I (and probably other men) open up, we are fucking judged. And I don't have to stick a fork in a light socket twice to get shocked. I know that shit hurts. And I'm not doing that shit again.

So how do I deal? I pray. I think deeply about my issues and I resolve them on my own. And sometimes, my feelings get buried. Is that the best way to do it? Eh,probably fucking not. I don't do therapy, because (and don't judge me) I just don't feel comfortable telling a stranger about my inner thoughts and feelings who will forget about me if my credit card for therapy gets declined. And that shit works for me. I'm not telling you how to live your life. If you love your therapist, keep going. You do you, pimp.

But I can guarantee that I'm not the only one who feels like that.

So, I don't need anyone to reach out to me and be Therapy Commercial. I mean, don't reach to me and be like,"I'm here if you need to talk..." Just like I know I can bundle my home and auto insurance with State Farm and save money, I know I can talk to a lot of people in my life about the things that are going on with me. I don't need you to be a commercial and remind me.

However, if any man (especially a Black man) chooses to open up to share with you about his thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams, etc please shut the fuck up and just listen. If he asks for advice, give advice. If he doesn't ask for advice, then don't give advice. If he needs a hug, give him a fucking hug. But please please please, don't make him feel as if your issues are just as big, more important, or even the same as his.

And don't be a snowflake.

Read and discuss.

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