So shit happened everyone. My husband lost his recently acquired job due to his fibromyalgia, we had to kick out a roommate because of douche behavior despite needing the income and I am single handedly supporting the family on 55% of what I was making last year. Added to all this are the two children that need to be taken care of and my husband’s subsequent depression. He thought it would be a good idea to kill himself because he’s not the provider he intended to be and feels like he’ll only weigh me down. Thankfully I got him into counselling, but he’s still depressed and going on about how he’s a failure in life. He won’t get that white picket fence, he won’t own that home, we won’t own a car any time soon and it’s become clear to him that I’m gonna have to go back to school so I can advance at work. He didn’t want me to have to do all of this.
He contemplated suicide because he feels like less of a man. Let that sink in for a moment.
If there was any doubt in my mind whatsoever that patriarchy hurts men too, it’s been erased these last few weeks. Here is one of the sweetest, most loving, funniest guys I have ever had the pleasure of knowing…and he has been raised to put his value into traditional “manhood”. He can get along with pretty much anyone, likes to listen and kids just love him…but he’s not bringing home the bacon so he’s worthless AMIRITE??
I have spent years deconstructing his notions of gender and equality, and while he’s not perfect and still veers into privilege territory, he’s been so willing to learn. However, this has got to be the hardest lesson of all. He was raised with the expectation that HE was to work, HE was to provide for the family and HE was never to let me down as the wife. He had all these ambitions and notions of manhood that he feels he is not living up to. He has held this belief in such a steadfast manner that he is now hurting, and he is hurting badly. Patriarchy has done so much more than just hurt me as a woman. I am ANGRY that men still make more than I do on average. I am ANGRY that I won’t fare as well in the job market because I’m not only a woman, but a mother. I am ANGRY that there are still people who validate my womb more than me. I am ANGRY that my appearance is a free for all. But what really pisses me off? Patriarchy has burdened my entire family. I am SO FUCKING PISSED that my husband feels like a worthless burden to me and the kids because as a man, he is “supposed” to be a certain way. He is so indoctrinated with this shit that he got to a point of feeling like life was not worth living. I’ve been asking myself every day “how can people not see how much this hurts everyone?” without many answers given beyond being told that it’s just the way it is. Well, I won’t accept that, and neither should he.
So I took a massive break from writing and general activism. I didn’t even feel like really writing today. But you know what? If I didn’t tap the keyboard and at least give it an honest go and ease back in, I’d be doing a huge injustice. My voice is my biggest asset to me and this is my passion. I wouldn’t be doing right by him if I didn’t keep pushing forward. I wouldn’t be giving him any justice if I did not use this to help break down barriers and open a dialogue. He is going to have an uphill battle in terms of breaking down the crap sandwich he was given so it would be a silly thing if I didn’t keep writing. More than ever, my husband needs feminism, no matter how self-indulgent and eye-roll worthy this post turns out to be. It’s not just a matter of me and my lady parts. It’s my life.
I’d love to hear about your lives. Where else has patriarchy hurt you or your loved ones? What do you do to fight it or purge? Any pearls of wisdom anyone wants to share? How do you shake it off and move forward? How would you get your loved ones to move forward?