In a world that is so determined to recognize the alpha female as the focal point of existence, I want to make a tribute to the numerous men I have had in my life. I don’t mean the men whom I have dated in the past, nor do I mean my fiance now, or even my dad. Although my father and my fiance are the two most influential men in my life today, this blog is actually about the men that were there for me outside of obligation. My guy friends. My bros. The dudes. Perhaps they know who they are, perhaps they don’t; in any case, this is for them.
Growing up I guess you could say I was technically a “mama’s girl”, but as I got older and into my teenage years I came to realize that my dad understood me better and I understood him more than I understood my mom. I felt bad because my mom and I would always get into our tiffs and my dad would have to be the middle man. Early on in my childhood, I was surrounded by boys. Cousins, neighbors, playmates, I just always did boyish things with the boys rather than girly things with the girls. And the few girls I did grow up around were subject to the same. I would rather play in mud than do my nails. I’d rather build a fort than play with barbies. I would have chose dingy jeans over a dress any day. And nine times out of ten I swam in the sketchiest of ponds every acre of our land had to offer over swimming in a swimming pool like a normal kid.
I was just care free and didn’t care how others’ saw it, including my poor mother who nearly had a heart attack every time I came trotting up to the house, covered from head to toe in God-knows-what-kind of bacteria infested mud.
That was when I was a child. It carried over into my adolescent years though. I was a rebel in high school and didn’t do well with other girls. I had my small clique, the girls that understood me and didn’t judge me, and I still have them today. Thicker than blood. I had tons of friends, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t as tuned in with the girl friends I had like I was the guys I hung around with. There was a huge difference in hanging out with the opposite sex (and no, it was not a romantic thing whatsoever). Boys had more fun because they took more risks, they were less likely to get involved in drama, which was in excess at good ol’ Burkburnett High, circa 2007-2010, they didn’t care what other people thought of them, and they had no filter. I loved hanging out with my guys friends significantly more than hanging out with girls, if I’m being honest.
I could not get away from drama when I was on the dance team. I know I was part of it, we all were. But I hated every minute of it. I hate competition, to be honest. All my life I have seen others drag themselves through the mud to win or compete, I just wanted to drag myself through the mud to play in it and have fun. I quit dance and most sports by the time I was a junior in high school. I found myself in a bit of trouble, but I didn’t care. At least I wasn’t busting my peaches to be someone I knew in my heart that I was not.
After I quit sports for a while, I really clung to my guy friends because even though I was relieved to be free and clear of obligatory competition among the other catty girls, I was somewhat depressed because those activities kept me busy. The good thing about my guys, they always wanted me to be happy and were never afraid to tell it to me like it was. I respected them for that. It was refreshing to hear constructive criticism over being talked at by some teenage girl on a hormonal induced power trip. Any time I was down, my guy friends were the ones who were really concerned. They were the ones who invited me to go and do fun things. They were the ones who helped bail me out of locking myself out of my car, driving out to my house just to pick me up and take me to the lake, taking me to ride four wheelers, etc. They were just good to me. If they had an alternative motive behind loving me as a friend, I never knew about it. And even though I hardly talk to any of them any more, I miss them all the time.
Then there’s my uncles. I was raised in a family that was so close that everyone’s kids are everyone’s kids. I was with my uncle and my cousin half of the time between the age of birth and 12. We were probably a handful. It’s funny to imagine now, a guy like my uncle, who use to be a champion bronc rider, spending his 40’s running all over town with two little girls. But he did it, and he was good to us. He raised me like one of his own for a while, same with my other uncle. There is a large age gap in between my older cousins and I, but as I grew older I bonded with them as well. I have definitely had my falling outs with each of these men, but the good times out weigh the bad by a landslide. I always felt secure and protected knowing that these men were on my side, in my corner. It’s the feeling that if something were ever to happen to me, I know everything would get dropped in order to see to it that I was okay. It may sound silly, but it really isn’t when you consider the girls in this world who didn’t have a strong male presence growing up.
It has always been the men in my life that have followed up with me, talked with me until 4 a.m., listening and talking, inquiring about my day, asking about my current situations, helping me cope with whatever was going on in my life. When I was in a relationship that involved a lot of physical and mental abuse, it was my guy friends who came to the rescue, every time. They never judged me when I wouldn’t leave the relationship. And they were still there waiting for me when I cut them off after being told I couldn’t be friends with them anymore if I wanted to continue my (abusive) relationship. I was dumb, really dumb. But I learned, and the gratitude I feel for having such loving men pick up the pieces is beyond anything that can be described in words.
I still keep in touch with them here and there. I’m happy to see that they’ve all gone on to be successful and loving partners to wonderful women and some are even fathers now. This blog is not about putting my girlfriends on the back burner. It’s no secret that my girlfriends complete me. This is just more about shedding light on the amazing guys who are responsible for having molded me into the person I am today. They taught me how to be tough, if anything. I just want to give credit where credit is due. I have no shame in admitting that I get along well with men, work well with men, and even understand men better than I understand women. And if every guy in this world would tear a page out of my guy friends’ book and learn from it, I think I’d be just fine with living in a man’s world.