Why do Men Keep Quiet?

Male suicide is at an all time high and it’s practically ignored. Were it women who were killing themselves something would be done but, for some reason, it’s not something men want to talk about.

Men don’t tell others when their World is falling apart. They don’t complain when, perhaps they should. They don’t go to their GP with medical issues and they suffer in silence until they cannot deal with the things which weigh heavily on them. Why are we not doing something about this?

What should you do?

If you have a male friend and you notice any change in him at all, speak to him. If you are a man, still speak to him. It doesn’t make you gay, it doesn’t mean you fancy him. It is just one human reaction, an act of compassion to another person. Never tell him not to cry or to pull himself together. Never point out that other people are watching, it doesn’t matter.

It is not just men who go to war and pick up a gun who are heroes, just helping one other man is as heroic an act as anything the forces do. Just letting one other man know you care is often time all it takes.

If this is someone you look up to, don’t look down on them because they are not coping, give them support. They can still be your hero if you have to be their hero.

Why am I writing this now?

Well, it’s not me, it’s you! I am fine but, I know how not fine feels. I am struggling like hell with the pressures of life and my illness but, I am OK. I am managing and my coping mechanisms are in place and mostly functioning. But look, let me show you signs in yourself when you know that stuff in your life is getting on top of you. I know as it’s happening to me right now.

Little things suddenly get you really angry like, you want to things sorted as they’re just wrong, someone needs to know they are wrong. The war in Gaza or Ukraine, the government or, the stupid price of fuel at Sainsbury right now. It’s realising that our reactions to such things are chronically disproportionate to how much they personally affect us. Maybe there is a feeling of obligation to ‘get involved’, get it sorted and, maybe, you feel if you do get involved you will have at least cracked one problem that annoys you in life.

You know what though? These are not ‘your’ problem. Sit down for a bit and contemplate all the things making you angry or confused until you come to some closer to home.

I am realising now how events going back decades in my own life still have a huge effect on me and how I think now. Certain things trigger me. A comment which might even seem like a funny joke to someone else and to me, it gets me so angry, so uptight and that is, to me, it’s a trigger.

Bottling up our history

When we have a bad experience we store it up. We may not realise we do but, as men, we do. I am sure some, perhaps even a lot of women do this too but, right now I am focusing on men.

Maybe someone significant to us died when they were young or, at a time in our lives when we vitally needed them? Maybe we have been physically or emotionally abused? Perhaps we were given unrealistic expectation of what success looks like?

What do I have?

I grew up raised by an overbearing father with expectations of his son I did not match. I was expected to be captain of every school sports team or, at least, the football team. I had zero interest in sport. I was meant to show a young interest in girls, I showed zero interest in girls. I was meant to match the men in the family and be high up in banking, I had zero interest in banking and was not actually very fond of maths either. If I achieved anything it would be “well done … but.” I was emotionally abused by him well into my adult life.

I was emotionally and physically abused in a Long Term Relationship. The shame of that was huge and, of course, I genuinely had no one to talk to as, well, men don’t get abused you see, doesn’t happen.

I was raped by a good friend. I stayed with him overnight, I don’t recall going to bed but woke up with him raping me. I felt confused, very confused and I did nothing about it. After all, even I believed then that men don’t get raped but, what else do we call it when we discover someone screwing us from behind without ever giving them permission to do that? It wouldn’t even matter if I’d ever said it might be OK, at that time he did not have my permission. It was unprotected too and for weeks after, until I got myself tested, I was terrified I might have contracted something.

I became a single dad. I am taking nothing away from the male partners I had a LTR with at the time but, they were not parenting, they were just there. I was abused in another way at that time, by the discrimination by women who would not accept my role. Teachers who kept wanting to speak to the mother of the kids just as one very basic example. As a gay man I also had a social worker question whether it was appropriate for me to take my son into the male toilets given my ‘persuasion’. For the benefit of doubt, my son was doubly incontinent and needed to be toileted. Fortunately, there was a witness there who herself put in a complaint.

How am I affected now?

Yes. I did notice myself get angry when I saw Sainsbury have raised petrol by nearly 3p a litre in the past week. My brain was going there, who do I write to, this has to be stopped. That’s a warning sign, it’s the time when we need to either talk to someone or, we need to have a good coping mechanism in place or, both. Come on, realistically, I only have a tiny amount of energy each day, do I really want to waste it on such things?

How do I live with it?

One of my ways of dealing with things is to write. Write in the hope that it might encourage another person to not let it go to far. To appreciate that many of the things we think are important really are not and can be ignored and, many more things we are ignoring are the very things we need to sort out either in our own mind or with the help of someone else.

I can honestly say I rarely feel depressed, rarely feel out of control. Sure, with my medical condition (M.E.) I do struggle just thinking but, I am still mostly in control of my destiny.

Earlier I knew I needed to eat but, the thought of just making a sandwich was too much. My solution was to do a quick analysis, why was I feeling like that? The actual process of making a sandwich was painful but, manageable. The alternative was to go back to the car and drive elsewhere and eat. Logically just making food at home makes more sense but, that would only be if I ignored what was really the problem. It has nothing to do with whether I could make a sandwich or not, it had everything to do with needing some ‘me’ time. A time when I didn’t need to avoid tripping on the cats, when I didn’t need to speak to anyone where I wasn’t able to get distracted and take on another task around the house.

I went to McDonalds, I got a free meal (I go there too much and earn a lot of points apparently). My phone data was off, I ordered on my phone using their WIFI and chose to ignore any messages coming through. For just half an hour I shut the world out.

… and after?

Sure, I saw the same sign for fuel but, it didn’t bother me, it’s fine. As soon as I got home the messages came in, the phone kept ringing with problems to solve for other people but, this is my life. It will not always be this way and I have maybe written something here which might help just one other person.

You don’t have to be religious …

… To work out some things in life just cannot be explained.

When I was a kid, back when I had to run away from dinosaurs and there was no McDonalds or Sainsbury I had some really crazy wishes for a kid growing up on a council estate.

  • I want a 4 bedroom house
  • I want a new car
  • I want children
  • I want to be happy
  • I want to see Disneyland
  • I want to be married

Let me tell you how that worked out:

  • I have a 5 bedroom house
  • I get a new car every three years
  • I have 4 children and 4 grandchildren
  • I am happy
  • I have been to 4 Disney parks (some many times), just two to go!
  • I have been married to a lady, I have been civil partnered to a man, I am now married to a man

Now, what I had in mind as a kid is not how it worked out. To my immature mind I thought we just aspired to something and there would be no cost, there is always a price to pay and those who know me, know some of those prices I have paid.

Every parent says the same “I don’t care what they are as long as they’re healthy”. Well, mine were not healthy, they all have problems, some more than others but, I am grateful for having them. I got the house because not all my kids were healthy. I get a new car because I now am not healthy. I am happy because what I have outweighs what I suffer. The Disney parks, well, they’re just a huge bonus, even I wonder how that happened. Being married, yes, I also got divorced and dissolved (eww) but, that’s OK as we’re still friends. For sure there was a lot of intervention for me to find Dennis, it’s not like our eyes met in the store! He lived 7000+ miles away!

I wrote something earlier, read that:

Sa bata pa kita gisultihan kita nga mosalig nga ang Dios mag-atiman kanato
Samtang nagkadako na kita, ang mga katingad-an nga wala damha nga mga butang mahitabo
Mga butang nga dili nato mapasabot sa bisan unsang paagi gawas sa, nangutana ko sa Diyos ug nahitabo ra.
Samtang kita adunay mga anak, ang Dios nagbilin kanato sa pagpadayon niini
(Kinahanglan naton ang responsibilidad sa usa ka butang)
Samtang sila nagtubo siya mibalik ug diin kita nagkinahanglan kaniya, siya anaa.
Sa panahon nga kita moretiro na ug modawat sa pagka senior
Makataronganon ang kinabuhi
Atong naamgohan nga ang mga importanteng butang sa kinabuhi atong naangkon.
Nasayud kita nga gibayran nato ang bili sa Dios alang niadtong mga butanga ug, OK ra.
Nakakat-on mi nga magmapainubsanon.
Nakakat-on kami nga magmapasalamaton.
Ang akong nahibal-an labaw sa tanan mao
Kung kita naghunahuna nga ang Dios maghatag sa atong kinabuhi sa mga ganti
Sayop mi.
Ang iyang gibuhat dili kaayo klaro apan kini mahitabo.
Dili perpekto ang kinabuhi pero, nakakat-on ta gikan niana.
Usahay ang kinabuhi lisud, kini makalilisang, kini makalilisang
Naglisod mi
Kita makakat-on gikan niana
Unya kita molingi ug, ang atong kinabuhi mao ang kinabuhi nga atong gipangayo.
Bisan kinsa nga naghunahuna nga ang Dios walay bahin
Nagtuo ko nga mahimo nimong gimingaw ang usa ka daghan sa dalan!

When we are young we are told to trust that God will take care of us

As we get a little older, strange unexpected things happen

Things we cannot explain any way other than, I asked God and it just happened.

As we have children God leaves us to get on with it

(We have to take responsibility for something)

As they grow he steps back in and where we need him, he is there.

By the time we get to retire and accept being a senior

Life makes sense

We realise that the important things in life we got.

We know that we paid God’s price for those things and, it’s OK.

We learnt to be humble.

We learnt to be grateful.

What I know more than anything is

If we think God is going to pave our life with rewards

We are wrong.

What he does is never so obvious but it does happen.

Life will not be perfect but, we learn from that.

Sometimes life is hard, it’s awful, it’s terrible

We struggle

We learn from that

Then we look back and, our life is the life we asked for.

Anyone who thinks God played no part

I think you may have missed an awful lot along the way!

Things I know.

  • If there is no God, how can there be an afterlife and, I know there is because I have witnessed it. I saw my granddad after he died, clear as day, when my mum was alive she told me that her old landlady promised that when she died she would make something move which didn’t usually move and they would then know, she was OK. Soon after her death a hot water bottle hanging on the wall, moved. When my mum died, before I knew she was dead, weird stuff happened. She was in hospital, I didn’t even know she was that ill. Her crutch which had stood at the top of the stairs fell over. I went to pick it up and her dressing gown fell off the door behind me and on a door I had not walked past. Those delays forced me to stay home an extra few minutes at which time the phone rang to tell me to get to the hospital. She had died just before they called me.
  • I overdid it with two of the children back in the 1980’s. We walked too far, I mean, miles further than we should and ended up on the wrong beach in Spain, the one which had no way to get back and it was really hot. I could see no way of getting back so I did a hail Mary, well, in the non religious sense and I prayed. Within a few moments a very random Spanish lady who spoke little English approached me and asked, was I OK. I don’t know how much she understood but she gestured for us to follow. She squeezed us into a tiny little car with her kids and drove us back into town and then drove off before we could say thank you. Intervention of a divine nature? I choose to believe that, yes.

There have been many similar experienced throughout my life. Everything I ever asked for I got. I say God has a wicked sense of humour because he did. This would be an example and a tiny one. I ask for a lottery win and, low and behold, I win the lottery. Sure, it’s £1.75 but I wasn’t specific!

I always wanted to be different, right from as long as I can recall. My questions were answered years later. I was gay, I was mostly deaf, my eyesight is shite, I was born with really short legs, my teeth have always been terrible. So, yes, my feeling was correct and I am different. Perhaps I shouldn’t have wished to be because, this isn’t what I meant when I asked to be different.

I am no bible basher. I have no respect for any organised religion, absolutely none. I honestly believe they are all power hungry, dangerous and corrupt. But, just because they created their own version of things doesn’t mean that the basic of those things are wrong. What they are based on was pure. Things like us all being God’s children, us all being in his image and created equally.

None of those things sit at all well with my being condemned to hell for being gay. Nothing pure demands me to show pure devotion to the organisation with gifts of money.

No, I believe in the pure being, that the church is all around us, freely created. That we can speak freely, there are no rules on how to speak to God.

You know what? I also believe that we are here for a reason, we are here to learn to be better, to live a life we do not understand or accept. The homophobe must live life as a gay man before he can be reconsidered entry to eternity. The murdered must live life experiencing tragic loss … indeed, until we understand how to be good people without prejudice, we just keep living one life after another until we finally get it. I think I might still have a few more to go as I know I still have some prejudices I need to resolve.

Anyway, until than, thanks for reading

Feelings

Today is a bit of a stressful time.

My health is low, as it generally is but, everything I can try to do to ease things off a bit are unavailable to me right now. I am dealing with some really serious shit trying to help out my disabled kids and, then a few days ago I discovered my ex father-in-law had died, he was 84.

He is my ex father-in-law because I got divorced from his daughter in 2001, we’d been married for 14 years.

Her parents factually became my parents in 1986 and, to me, even post divorce they remained that way, I still kept calling them mum and dad, it wouldn’t have felt right doing anything else. But, with divorce comes consequences and I am feeling those now more than ever.

Let’s go back a bit.

I first met them in 1985 which was a time in my life full of trauma. It was when my mum was really ill, family connections were breaking down all over the place and my parents split as a result of my dad having an affair. On an even more personal level I was struggling with my sexuality. I knew I was gay but, in the 1980’s, where I was living, that was not acceptable on any level and I therefore conformed, picked a girl and got married. In so many ways I wish staying with my boyfriend who I loved was an option but, circumstance was against us.

Kay & Geoff were kind and loving toward me. An oasis of peace and security in amongst my emotional storm. Sure, we’d argue sometimes but, all families do that. She particularly was a very stubborn lady so was he but he was also sensible enough to do as he was told. When home life was driving me nuts, there was safe.

It was them I went to when my mum died in 1986, them who made our wedding happen just three weeks later and gave me the strength to keep going when my blood family deserted me. except for my dad who I wish would have taken a step back! It was her who held me through my tears of sadness on losing my mum and then that I realised my feelings for them as my ‘in law’ parents was at that level a relationship can get when we think of it as special.

When our eldest was born, again, it was them I went to. Kay cooked me an amazing dinner and Geoff took me to the club to be congratulated by the men. No one had ever fussed so much and it was so special.

Going over there with the kids, the Sunday dinners, the use of their spare room so I could sleep and get ready for the drive home. It was all so special to me.

When we decided to divorce I was worried this would all stop but, it didn’t. I’d still take the kids down there and, this carried on when it was my kids and my grandkids I was taking and, again, I’d sleep in the spare room and it was all so lovely and safe as it always had been.

Geoff never spoke much, not to anyone. No matter the company he so rarely fully engaged so I was honoured to have conversations with him. Then Kay died and everything sort of fell apart. It was right during the covid period, he couldn’t even bring himself to go to the funeral and we tried so hard to make it safe for him. I never got to meet him since she died.

I would write as often as I could, send pictures and update him on the goings on but, the relationship went with Kay and he was obviously just waiting to join her bless him.

Since he went I have personally felt lost and isolated. I am just the ex son-in-law, no one really any more. When my mum died, I was likewise ignored except by Kay & Geoff. My dad for some reason felt he was still important because of how long they were married to hell with that he broke her heart. Everyone else rallied around my nan because, my mum was her daughter, I was told her feelings counted more than mind and everyone should be there for her. So, here I am again, everyone else wanting support for their grief (and they’ll get it) and me alone, feeling how I feel and, I am ‘with feelings’. I need to get through this but, I am alone on the whole. I can be given sympathy by friends but, in reality, I am not family any more, I am not qualified to feel this way. I have my role and that is what I am expected to do, be the strong one.

I will be but, the timing is absolute shit. Meetings, meetings about meetings about meetings be it in person or over the phone. I’ve had 2 important, essential phone calls this morning, responded to two further email. I have had one long meeting today. Tomorrow I have another meeting. I’ll be honest, much of the time my brain is struggling to remember who I am talking about.

I’ve got buried emotions in a crypt built for way less than I am putting in it.

Very soon I will need a complete and absolute break and if I don’t choose to do that, I feel life is going to make that choice for me.

I cannot take a break, parents are parents for life, it is what I will do as long as I am able for all my kids, there are none I don’t worry about, none of them and my grandchildren, always seeking ways I can make their lives better and likely screwing up in the process but, at least they can’t say I am not trying and, I am sure they very often thinking I am trying!

So, rest in peace ‘Dad’. I will miss you as I have since mum was so suddenly taken from us.

Reaction to Terrorism

The IRA (Irish Republican Army) managed to kill over 1,700 whilst waging was on the British in an attempt to create a United Ireland.

What did Britain do to bring this to and end?

There were a great many conversations both official and not behind the scenes with their political masters, Sinn Fein trying to broker a deal.

What did Britain not do?

Britain did not argue that they had a right to defend themselves, that all those living in Northern Ireland must travel to the south and then send in the bombers to flatten Northern Ireland.

Why did the British government not openly just bomb places where they thought terrorists might be?

Well, because terrorists look like the rest of us, they do not have any unique features which makes them easy to spot. There were some incursions into strongholds but they were generally a bit of a disaster.

What you see here is what the IRA very often looked like. Particularly they’d look like this at the funerals of their comrades.

Not that the civilians around them were not cowering in fear, they are clapping. This is the general story of terrorism. They succeed because they have the backing of a significant proportion of civilians.

In the 1930’s the Nazi’s under the leadership of Adolf Hitler came to power by distraction techniques. The populous were told that were it not for those ‘really’ in power (the jews), Germany would be a great nation, the World power.

Something very similar is happening in the United Kingdom currently. The government of the day will hide their own mistakes by blaming minority groups, immigrants, those on benefits, those who ‘won’t’ work for the problems of the country. It will also blame Covid-19 as well. What it will not do is say that leaving the European Union was a huge mistake.

Whilst we were part of the EU many industries sprung up and prospered employing a great many immigrants from within the Union. Many thousands of those left and suddenly, we do not have enough workers to operate in those industries we now rely on. The NHS, Logistics, hospitality, all of them desperate for workers.

Our economy took a nose dive and we have not recovered as the other power houses of the world have, we are still lagging woefully behind other wealthy nations but, it is not the UK Government but, the people who have caused this.

Back to Terrorism.

Decades ago the state of Israel was created, Great Britain played no small part in that creation. The trouble is, the land wasn’t empty, there were people already there. Conflicts came about, not to the surprise of anyone. The Muslim Arabs were pushed back into internationally agreed locations and that would be that except, it wasn’t.

Using the argument that it needed to create buffer zones to defend the country, Israel began building settlements on the land beyond their agreed border. They also refused to leave the occupied lands.

In the last decade, they ‘left’ Gaza, an area where these Muslims live supposedly for them to become their own country. Except, they didn’t really leave. They remained controlling every aspect of movement there with their military and checkpoints all over the place forcing the residents to justify themselves.

It’s way more complicated than that, there was and is wrong on both sides.

What the terrorists ‘Hamas’ did by killing so many innocents a short while ago was and remains appalling. The adopted typical terrorists tactics of targeting the innocent.

In reprisals, over 4,500 people in Gaza have thus far been killed by Israel in their retaliation on Hamas, the majority of those will be innocent civilians.

Is it proportionate? If we take it down to playground levels it’s like this:

You killed 1700 of my people so I am killing 4500 of yours, that’ll show you!

Of course, those figures will continue to grow. Inevitably, because it always is the case, Israel will kill many times more innocents than those killed in any terrorist attack by Hamas.

Does it matter in what way a baby is killed?

One side shoots the baby dead in the arms of its mother, the other side drops a bomb on the house of a mother carrying her baby. In both cases, the baby is just as dead and it achieved nothing except another lost life.

Personally, and I have heard this so much throughout my life, I am sick of Jewish people playing the victim card. Do they know what? It was not just Jewish people that were targeted by Hitler. The ‘Holocaust’ is generally taken to be the Killing of Jews by the Nazi’s (and their allies), over 6million of them and that is, in every way, appalling. There is no way any group can be compensated for that but, giving them their own homeland is certainly a worthy start.

However, it is estimated that a similar figure (close on 6 million) non Jewish people were killed by the Nazi’s (and their allies) also. The closest any of those got to being military targets were Russian Prisoners of War which amounts to around half the number. The rest were civilians ranging from political opposition, homosexuals, disabled people, gypsies, Polish People, ethnic Serbs, a small number (by comparison, of criminals), Jehovah’s Witness and black people. For some of those groups the best anyone can do is guess at the numbers as all records of them existing went with them.

Most of those groups were never compensated, many more survived inhumane treatment and torture, many used for medical experimentation. All of them victims of the same people and in the same war. A war which ended in 1945, nearly 80 years ago.

My point here is, absolutely, what happened to innocent Jewish people was the worst possible. There is no pretending it was in anyway ‘OK’ but, Hitler is dead, he lost, Germany is not the same country and the rest of the world should not have to apologies for ever more.

When a group of people portray themselves as victims, quite wrongly but ‘actually’, society will start to resent them. Right now it is seen and has been seen since 1945, that no Jewish person can be told they may be wrong ever.

Donald Trump claimed he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York and still his supporters would support him. This is how it now feels each and every time someone says anything at all against Jewish people. We should be allowed to say that, you know what, what you are doing is a war crime, you have to stop and not be afraid of the consequences of that.

Ironically, the motivation, so he says, of Putin (Russia) is to get rid of undesirables on their border and to create a buffer zone around Russia so that NATO cannot threaten them. Sound familiar?

Hamas can only be defeated by killing every Muslim, there is no other way. Every civilian killed has a family member left behind now ready to join the fight against Israel.

My personal view is, Israel needs to be taken out of this conflict, they’re too close. Let them mourn their losses, let the rest of the world, NATO, the United Nations, the Muslim League satisfy the future of the Muslims living in Gaza and the West Bank.

Maybe, it is high time the lines, the borders are redrawn to include a new nation of Palestine giving to the Muslims a fair and equal share of the natural resources of the land for agriculture and industry to thrive with an international peace force. Israel should make her defences solid, impossible to be overcome and remain firmly within their own borders.

It is in neither the teachings of Allah or the words within the Bible which sanction the taking of innocent lives but rather, the interpretations of blood thirsty groups seeking their own agenda.