Photograph by H. Armstrong Roberts
Everyone has a story. Everyone has something to say. Some greater than others but each and every one of them is unique.
Today’s story is about Joe. Joe grew up in a quiet little town in northern Ontario. Joe has two loving parents and an older sister he looks up to. His dad is a construction worker and his mom is a nurse. Perfect little family right?
Wrong. At a very young age, Joe watched his parents conflicts go from verbal abuse to physical. His older sister, who was ten years his senior, got into drugs and moved out as soon as he could. Leaving Joe alone with his parents. Hospital visits were becoming more and more frequent with his parents fighting and his mom always spoke up first. Assuring the other nurses it was just meaningless accidents.
Years later Joe is 23 years old and he meets Jane. The attraction is there from the start. They start dating and things are going very well. A few months later into the relationship Joe and Jane decide to move in together. They’re happy and in love. One night during a heated argument, Jane slaps Joe across the face. The action painfully shocked him. The slap itself didn’t hurt as much as the memories it brought back.
He remembered all those times his mom hit his dad. All the slapping, the frying pans, the scratching and much more. But what he remembered the most is what his father told him after he first witnessed one of their fights. He said “Son, don’t ever tell anyone about what you saw today. A man who complains about his troubles is a weak man”. And with that in mind Joe silently takes Jane’s assaults. Two years later Joe takes his own life.
Why is it that a man is only a man if he’s strong,
Why isn’t it socially acceptable for men to complain or whine about their problems just as much as a woman?
Why does society say that a man shouldn’t cry?
Why do we tell men to “suck it up, you’re a man” when they have problems
Would encouraging men to talk about their problems help avoid situations like Joe’s?
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