Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: You scare me.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: I mean, you frighten me. Is it natural? Was this terror taught to me or is it legitimately part of the evolution of our species–to keep a certain amount of friction between the genders?

 

Dear Man: Since we’re being honest, I’m scared too. Scared of myself. But mostly when I’m around you. Why do you think women put ten or twenty different fragrances all over our bodies everyday? We’re afraid we stink. Stink to you. I don’t know where I learned that. It’s hard for me to believe that I have a genetic code that makes me want to use lotion.

 

Dear Woman: While we’re on the subject–I’m supposed to smell like a man. What in the hell does that mean? I feel like there’s a role I need to play. Sometimes it feels natural, but other times I think you just need me to be manly so you can feel womanly.

 

Dear Man: So what does it mean to be womanly? Does it mean I feel more than I think? It’s so confusing because we say that women are more emotional, but then we turn around and say women are smarter than men. Which one is it?

 

Dear Woman: And is there any spirituality to this whole mess? Is there a Creator who sees us as equals? Or is He intent on us camping out in our genders and remaining separate?

 

Dear Man: It started when I was a kid–trying to avoid “handsy” male cousins and being quietly warned by my mother about certain uncles. I felt like an object. I was in the room but I wasn’t seen unless I was pretty, or unless someone noticed how fast I was growing. None of my relatives ever asked how I was doing on the basketball team. It was always some reference to my beauty or my training as a young woman.

 

Dear Woman: So no wonder we’re terrified of each other. But I will tell you this–I certainly think it would be worth the time to find out how much of this horror was infused by our training and if any of it is legitimate tension brought on by our differences.

 

Dear Man: And here’s the kicker. You’re supposed to be my best friend while simultaneously I am led to believe that a man can’t really be my friend at all.

 

Dear Woman: So I come back to my point. I’m nervous around you, which sometimes makes me not want to be around you, so I can avoid being nervous.

 

Dear Man: I totally understand that. When I want to be myself, I get away from men because I’m afraid if I reveal my real desires, they will either be apathetic or turned off.

 

Dear Woman: I can’t live my life wondering what a woman thinks about me. It will drive me crazy and make me hate her.

 

Dear Man: Likewise for me. There has to be a soft place to be in life–where you don’t have to try too hard, as you do try to improve what you can, without fear of being criticized.

 

Dear Woman: Shouldn’t that be with me?

 

Dear Man: It should, but not as long as I am convinced by society that you’re my enemy.

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The Box Created for Me … February 8, 2013

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contentsDecember 18th, at Mercy Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, I arrived in this world as the fourth son of James Russell and Mary Adele Cring, weighing in at a whopping twelve and a half pounds. I was a big blob of chub.

Before I had completed taking my first breath of human air, already deposited into my being were weaknesses, strengths, predilections, inklings, chromosomal domination, DNA damage and family traits such as skin color, eye hue and even baldness.

This was my “born” identity. Every one of us has one. To ensure that this particular package of information is reinforced, we are basically surrounded for the first six years of our lives with only a handful of individuals, teaching us how to do everything from holding a spoon to the correct position for crapping. We absorb their culture. It becomes ours. And because it is ours, in our minds it is preferred above all others.

We are taught to have devotion to one set of people who have granted us this identity over, the other individuals we come into contact with who are equally as human, and maybe a more suitable blessing to our lives. I learned the manners of the Cring clan. I absorbed the fears. I heard the jokes. I retained the prejudice: “Eenie-meenie-minee-moe, catch a nigger by his toe…” (Later, arriving in school, I discovered that the more acceptable word was “tiger” instead of “nigger,” but deep in my soul I rejected it because after all, my DNA masters had taught me differently.)

These family members wasted little time trying to influence my destiny. By the time I was six weeks old, they were already guessing at my personality by the expressions on my face (which really were reactions to excess gas, but they interpreted them as personality quirks.) I became a “good baby”–or was it a “quiet little one?” Maybe I was a “real handful.” Could it be that I would be an athlete–because my legs seemed really strong when I kicked my booties off?  Aunts and uncles joined into the barrage of suggestions with their own interpretations of my unformed thinking. Entering the schoolroom made little difference–just exposed me to more ideas and more individuals who insisted that I should stay within the box created for me, and of course, coloring within the lines.

By the time I was thirteen years old, I had taken my twelve and a half pounds at birth and accelerated them to three hundred. No one intervened. Since I was playing on the football team, it was assumed that I was just “one of those big boys.” Or maybe it was because no one wanted to admit they had raised a fat kid. Who knows?

But when I left the security of this conclave of seeming protectors, I was unprepared for the world, which had little toleration for my vices and even more varied demands for my destiny.

My box was delivered into life–but it seemed to arrive postage due.

The result? I am confused. I was told that I was a Cring and everything would be all right if I just followed the household rules. And now, even my family is wondering why I just don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the world around me.

I have outgrown the box in which I was created, but I am frightened to lift the lid and escape.

My God. What’s next?

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