The silence in the morning, when a man is outside breathing in the crisp winter air, alone with his thoughts and emotions, we say is golden. We never dare admit, however, these are the moments when we reflect on the emotions that have cracked the stony exterior of our being. We stand there quietly, even stoically, while we wage a war on ourselves, with no white flags being raised to stop the fighting. If another man were a fly on the wall, he may see the shimmer of a tear in our eyes, and the effort to swallow hard to choke the emotions back down. In the midst of the battle inside our minds and hearts, we would bellow a cry of rage and despair, but men have no such luxury, for silence to us, is golden.
As the sun breaks, the hues of purple shimmer from the rocks in the distance, and the rays of orange streak across the sky, illuminating the heavens, it begins the darkening of my mind. I find myself drifting from moment to moment, searching for answers that will never be given. In the darkest moments of our lives, unbidden at any time, there is the fear that the darkness will enclose us forever and we will fade into that oblivion. What is even worse, the fear subsides and we slip into those dark moments, wishing it would close off the light forever, and we can slip into that cold embrace. It would be easier to slip into that darkness, to let the physical pain that grips our chest subside; easier to forget the face of our fathers, and our children. Lest we forget, nothing that came easy was ever really worth having, and the consequence of those actions are too much for those who love us to bear.
So we walk in the darkness, we continue in the night, though the sun breathes warmth to our face in the cold air of winter. We forget the taste of food, and we plunge headlong into the bottom of a bottle of whiskey. We become old friends with the names on those bottles, and we let them fight the war on our pain, because we feel we have no strength left to fight the struggles. The air hangs like a stone on us, and every breath brings that old familiar ache in our hearts.
We can feel it, it is the physical expression of our emotional war. We can see it, like brutal autumn rain on a windshield, pouring across our eyes. As the rain pours down, the thunder crashes in our heads, and the weight becomes too heavy to bear, we fall like toy soldiers to our knees. We would cry out, and we try, but the emotions have choked our voice, and all that is left of that voice is the silent scream of the voiceless.
Men are not in touch with their emotions. Men do not feel anything. They have no compassion, they are automatons, they cannot communicate effectively, they do not feel to the depth women do and need consistent reminding of their inability to be complete human beings without women. They are not good parents without womanly guidance. They are not capable of properly providing a good home to a child without a woman. If they do not prostrate themselves in their relationships then it is acceptable to dispose of them and upgrade to a servant who will do as they are told. Men do not understand women, they lack the emotional maturity; they lack empathy, and they will abandon their responsibilities with no regard to whom they hurt because they do not feel emotions the way a woman does.
The thoughts weigh heavily as we go through our lives. Through the distorted hues of cold stones in a scotch glass, we try desperately to see how we came to this place. The emptiness of a room, filled with only a chair and a bottle, starts to close in on us. The ghosts of our past, and the events that led us to this room, without light, devoid of the smile of our children, haunts us to the core of our being. There are tears in this moment, as we sit, stone cold sober, staring at a drink untouched. We would give anything to change this moment, to hear laughter again, to trip over a skateboard, or step on a stuffed animal. We would give everything, for more moments like that, if it had not been robbed from us.
We gave our hearts, our time, our very souls, for that idea of completeness. We gave every waking moment, to a hope, and a dream. We never saw the betrayal coming, not from her, and not from the courts.
Yet, we were betrayed from the very first day. Oh, we knew, somewhere inside us, that it would come; that as time passed, and our favorite chair was thrown out, and our faults more viciously thrown at us as each day came and went. We lied to ourselves, and we took that abuse. We took it as she constantly reminded us of our shortcomings, told us how lucky we were to have her, and what failures we were as men. You do not make enough, you do not wash the dishes enough, you do not fix enough things around this house. You are not a good parent, you do not know how to communicate, you do not understand me, you do not give me any time for myself.
We let her shove us, and hit us while we stood in confusion. We ducked as she threw scissors and broke picture frames, and cleaned up the glass so our child would not be injured in the morning. What is worse, is that we believed we deserved all of it.
There are men, who, even now sit in the deepest of despair, and their sorrow dwells deep in their eyes. I watch as you men torture yourselves, placing your soul in chambers of the most brutal sort, and the iron maiden swings high from the chains you are bound in. Your mind spins like a wounded plane. Turning inward on yourself, you place heavy loads of blame, doubt, shame and even self loathing on your heart, believing you have to carry that weight. Like a little boy lost with no compass in the deepest of forests, you search endlessly for the way out. You take it, you endure it, until the strain cracks your stony facade like a sledge hammer to a pane of old glass. Make no mistake, you will fall. You will be buried under the rubble of their feminist revolution.
You can lay there, brother. You can lay there in the darkness, as the weight crushes the last of your life from you, and the sweet dark embraces you into the eternal black. However, there is another road you can choose. For outside that stone prison are the voices of your fathers, and their fathers before them. They bid you to get up, to push the weight away from your chest, and stand again; to let the sweet orange light of the morning bathe your face, and refresh your soul with its warmth. To remember your face is that of your father, and his father before him. To remember that your child is out there, and that child has your face.
Will you leave that child to someday be buried as you are? Will you sentence that child to that fate? Or would you, for one moment, strip away the shame, and the pain, that is not yours to bear, and remember you are not alone. Your brothers wait for you, and in that dark moment, if you reach through the stone, we will extend our hand and help you stand in the midst of others who pushed their way out as well. As the tears fade, and the moment of darkness ends; as the light pours down onto the sweet green of the trees, we will find our strength again.
We will do this together, and we will bring hell down on those who perpetuate injustice against fathers, and in doing so, perpetuate against their children as well. We will not be silent, we will not back down, we will never stop. We will do what is needed to see those little smiles again, no matter the cost, no matter the pain. We will ensure that our sons are not left in the darkness as we were. We will breathe deep that morning air, and let the roars of our voices thunder across the morning sky. We will have our justice, and true equality. We. Will.