We don’t need to ‘man up’

If you know me, you might know that size-wise, I am a very little person. My short legs uphold a small frame and since I don’t know a lot about makeup, I don’t really do myself many favours in what can (somewhat ironically) be described as ageing my face. I’m frequently likened to dolls and pre-Raphaelite paintings, which is really nice and much too generous, but again keeps me positioned my own ‘little’ frame. If I sound ungrateful, which I hope I don’t cos I’m not, it’s only because with being ‘small’ and/or ‘little’ comes labels such as ‘delicate’ and ‘fragile’. Cute.

Now, I don’t necessarily repel such titles, as appearances aside, I’m quite emotional. My point is that I don’t think this side of my character, if that’s what we’re to call it, is a bad thing.

Last week, when crying out of frustration, I was told to ‘man up’. We know what that phrase insinuates, I won’t bore you with the criticism of it. The comment was delivered as an order, pre-introduced with: ‘you need to’. I’ve been told several times that I ‘need to be stronger’, and whilst those that have told me this probably maintain that opinion, I vehemently disagree with it.

If we’re going to talk about strength, yeah, just let me say that I can plank for 3 minutes, if I want to. I can do all sorts of yoga moves, I can run for over an hour, I can swim the equivalent of a mile in abut 45 minutes, frequently overtaking people attempting to live/love life in the fast lane. World records? Definitely no. Achievements? Ye. Don’t mess.

I don’t look strong in the way that Arnold Schwartzeneggar does, nor do I emit a steely exterior in the style of Wilhemena Slater. But I know that I am strong, physically and emotionally, because I know myself. I know that my emotional muscle is displayed on the surface, and my physical one is perhaps embedded a bit deeper. I like things this way, because I like me.

And I think that’s a pretty strong thing to say.

Openness and honesty are good for us all and there is always someone who will listen. If you are upset, at all ever, be upset. Let yourself feel whatever it is that you need to feel and give yourself the appropriate time to recover from the feelings. Do not be dissuaded by the response you might be given by someone who deals with it differently. Being ‘too emotional’ (this one ranks third in my top 5 most received compliments) isn’t a thing, nor is strength represented by how little emotion you release.

Studies have shown that being upfront with our feelings is likely to make us feel better, and after 21 years of practice you can take it from me (I mean, if you want to, like, whatever) that it works. Men are often characterised as emotionless whilst women are emotionally unstable. Again, we know that neither is a true reflection of either sex, and again, I don’t want to bore you.

Physical strength is so well rewarded. Emotional strength is not. So maybe now, (I mean if you want to, like, whatever) go and have a cry, then give yourself a pat on the back. A gentle one though, please, you have nothing to prove. And also – more importantly – I won’t be sued by those of you little and fragile enough to bruise like a peach.

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