The Heart

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to be a bit of a fortress when it comes to my emotions, no matter how I would like to be, there is a stoicism that resides beneath the surface that tells me that I must endure without fuss. I think this is particularly true for men, our culture constantly reinforces this way of being, even with the campaigns around mental health which promote the importance of sharing, our every day interactions teach us something very different. I think it’s probably true for everyone, not just men but I think it is particularly prevalent in our expectations of boys.

In a normal life there is a lot to endure, the grief, heartbreak and suffering of the human experience can take it’s toll and without expression it can lead us to build barriers against future pain. We hold it ourselves, guarding with hardness, indifference and distraction. In doing so, I feel that we often also lock out the capacity to feel joy and love.

I think that grief and love are two sides of the same coin, it is in grief that we are made painfully aware of what we have had. Also in love there is the pain of knowing that it is all impermanent, that what we hold dear won’t last forever.

Writing like this feels uncomfortable, I think sometimes that I write about the ideas of others as a way of avoiding sharing what I feel, in all honesty I know I have spent sections of my life shutting it all out. The hurt, the pain but also the love and joy.

I don’t have an answer to this problem but I know for me feeling more means embracing the uncomfortable, little by little sharing parts of what I would normally hold to my chest. I also hold the same expectation for my friends and would never ask them to ‘man up’. You feel what you feel and the moment you start criminalising particular feelings you’re on a fast train to some pretty heavy emotional repression.

We’re all here just trying to figure out what the hell it all means, we all hurt, we all cry and I don’t know about you but the more I open up about the harder parts the more light and joy seems to stream in.

Here’s Bukowski as always putting it better than I ever could.

Charles Bukowski - Bluebird

There’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say, stay in there, I’m not going

to let anybody see


There’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I pour whiskey on him and inhale

cigarette smoke

and the whores and the bartenders

and the grocery clerks

never know that he’s

​​​​​​​in there.

There’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say,

stay down, do you want to mess

me up?

you want to screw up the


you want to blow my book sales in


There’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too clever, I only let him out

at night sometimes

when everybody’s asleep.

I say, I know that you’re there,

so don’t be sad.

Then I put him back,

but he’s singing a little

in there, I haven’t quite let him die

and we sleep together like that

with our

secret pact

and it’s nice enough to

make a man

weep, but I don’t

weep, do


#theheart #lepidolite #bukowski #bluebird #philosophy

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