I Don’t Want to Man-Up, I Just Want a Hug

Suck it up, be a man, deal with it, grin and bear it, push through it, take it like a man, take one for the team, buck up, face the music, knuckle up, man-up.

These are the things pretty much all boys hear while growing up. Either from their parents, siblings, friends, movies, or games. There is this idea that has been around since who knows when that boys, men, guys in general should just deal with something, such as pain or misfortune, without complaining. The thought that emotions are only for women and to express yourself emotionally as a man somehow magically knocks you down a peg and requires you to turn in your man-card.

I wish it was easier for me to talk about my feelings. I think it gets easier with time but it should never have been difficult in the first place. “Toughen up and wipe away those tears” may not have been the best approach for dealing with a young boy’s display of emotion. But it’s ingrained in me to bottle it up, to hide my feelings, and to keep a strong poker face. “I’m fine” and “nothing is wrong” are statements that mask what me and probably many other men are really feeling. We’re afraid to be open and vulnerable with our friends and family, so we play it cool. But in reality it’s not cool and we are dying inside just struggling to get out the words. Nobody realizes anything different, and life goes on.

Unlike other men that may have a partner that needs them to be strong, to never show emotion, or be that protector/provider that is romanticized so often, I am lucky to have a wife that actively engages me to talk about my emotions, and even then it is still so hard because of how I was brought up. She’s cracking me though, it’s a hard shell but she has not ever given up and I love her so much for that. She knows these walls exist and she is so patient in allowing me to take small steps in opening up.

Now with a son of my own I am doing everything I can do not fall into this same pattern. Letting my son talk about his feelings and not shutting him down. He is such a sweetheart, so I think we are doing a good job. I suppose we will find out later on down the road.

It’s not about machismo. It’s about the training every man has received from the age of 12. That is about the time when young boys start to realize that our worth is no longer tied to our existence but to our sacrifice. As we go through our teen years, the narrative of male disposability inundates our very being. Those messages flood every aspect of the media we are exposed to. From the movies and TV we watch which extolled the virtue of heroic sacrifice, to the social pressures we face to relegate our own safety as secondary to that of the women around us.

We are trained that stoicism is the only acceptable emotion. That showing vulnerability is shameful. Not because a man who does so is lesser but because it is viewed as attempting to claim inherent worth. A man who dares to show emotion is seen as trying to rise above his station.

Jesus_marley (source)

Being strong when all I want is a hug and to break down and cry is a battle I have been facing for months. It’s difficult, with a cracking voice I try to get out the words but only excuse myself to escape the situation. Then I bottle it up and bury it deep inside, knowing that’s not the best way to handle these emotions, but it’s all I know. Since my mother’s death the shell that my wife has started to crack has opened up a lot. This time last year I would have never written a post like this, but so much has changed in just a years time.

Stoicism has it’s place, it’s a great personality trait to have when it comes to being a leader or when it’s time to be brave, but it is only a tool to hide emotion, and it’s how we use these tools that can determine how our mental well-being is cared for.

Here are some resources you can check out if you’re needing some help with your mental health.

Top 4 Smart Ways to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance

Juggling between a career and personal life can be a challenge for many people. It is especially so even in a period where companies are making cutbacks and layoffs. Employees are only left with the option of working harder than ever and for longer hours to prove that they are an essential part of the team.

Pixabay – CC0 License

Making matters worse is the effect of today’s portable electronic devices. They completely get rid of the line between work and home. It places employees always at the beck-and-call of their direct supervisors, customers, and co-workers around the clock.

Achieving a work-life balance, therefore, becomes very elusive. If you are not happy with your work-life balance, here are some tips on making it better.

Take Breaks in Between Work

While you may feel the urge to work for long hours to show your importance to the company, you should remember to take short breaks as you work to help deal with any accumulating stress. During the breaks, you can do some small exercises such as stretching and taking some light walks.

It helps you recover from the physical and mental exhaustion that you may endure while at work.

Proper Planning of your Life

To achieve a balanced life, you need to carefully analyze your current situation and make plans for your work and personal activities accordingly. Take note of your priorities both at home and at work and identify which of them you should keep doing and which ones to stop.

Convert your priorities to measurable goals and create a schedule for every activity. When you have a well-laid-out plan, you can save a lot of time that you can use to play a Situs judi online game or spend time with your family.

Learn to say No

It is not good to always be available to your boss. If you always say “yes” when asked to do something, you can easily fall prey to being overloaded with unremitting demands. It would be best if you learned to say “no” when asked to do anything that conflicts with your time and schedule.

If you always agree to something without a second thought, try to stall for time by saying you will get back to them with an answer. Then use that time to assess whether you should agree or not.

Leave Work only at Work

Protect your private time by distinguishing between the time to work and the time to rest. As such, avoid taking work home. Before you leave the office, plan out your schedule for the next day and include any unfinished work.

Then, shut off your computer and leave for home. Handle any work-related item the next day.

While some people develop the habit of carrying work home to beat deadlines, it leads to a social imbalance in your life by creating barriers between you and your family. Moreover, it prevents you from giving your body the much-needed rest it requires.

To prevent that from happening, you should adopt a no work from home policy.

Summing up

When you have an excellent work-life balance, you can lead a happy and productive life. Your career and business, too, can get a significant boost. The question is, how do you find your balance? By following the above tips, you can get back some control in your life. You should not be overwhelmed by trying to make massive changes at once. Implement only a few strategies at a time, and your efforts will bear fruits with time.

The Polar Express at Union Station 2020

This year things have been switched up a bit but the big news is that The Polar Express is back at Union Station in downtown St. Louis! Grab your masks and grab your kiddos and head downtown for a unique holiday experience unlike any other in St. Louis!

Even in the time of Coronavirus, an important St. Louis holiday tradition will continue to bring joy to families. The Polar Express returns to St. Louis Union Station for the 2020 season with some changes to allow for appropriate social distancing and safety.

The popular family event has been recreated as Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience for 2020. The beautifully decorated trains will remain stationary under the Union Station train shed this year for a walk-through event. Guests will interact with the The Polar Express characters and Santa Claus in whimsically decorated tents and on the Station’s Purina Performance Plaza.

Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience is the magical story of a boy’s search for the real meaning of Christmas, based on the beloved children’s book and hit film.

The event begins November 20 and continues through December 30, 2020. 
After beginning their journey, guests will feel the approach of a mysterious train and see the Conductor inviting them to board THE POLAR EXPRESS™. Set to the motion picture soundtrack, non-moving train tours will transport passengers into the magic of the beloved holiday classic.
During the experience, hot chocolate and cookies will be served by dancing and singing chefs and guests will read along with the children’s book,The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his elves will visit with children and give them the first gift of Christmas, a silver bell.
Characters and helpers will wear masks and masks will be required for all guests over the age of nine per St. Louis City Health Department guidelines. 

Timed tickets will be available from 1 to 9 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with the last ticket sold at 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, the event will be open from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 8 p.m. Timed tickets will allow for appropriate attendance sizes and social distancing during the event. Ticket prices range from $27 to $45.

More information about dates, fares and event times is available by calling 314-942-6942, or by visiting www.STLPolarExpressRide.com. Families are encouraged to wear their holiday pajamas for the experience. 

THE ST. LOUIS WHEEL & MORE
Admission to Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience can be combined with tickets to ride the St. Louis Wheel or to explore the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station. The 200-foot-tall observation wheel will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. for views of the glittering downtown holiday lights. Additional activities on site include the St. Louis Aquarium, open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and during holiday breaks. The St. Louis Carousel, an 18-hole mini-golf course at the Wheel plaza and the St. Louis Ropes Course and A-Maze-Ing Discoveries Mirror Maze inside Union Station also are open during the event.

St. Louis Union Station will continue its popular holiday fire and light show set to Christmas music on the train shed lake during the season. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ movie will be shown every night during the season.

Guests can get a head start on their holiday shopping at The Winter Market, which offers a holiday shopping experience inside the event space. Carnival games, strolling entertainers and holiday lights add to the festive atmosphere.

ROOM PACKAGES AT THE ST. LOUIS UNION STATION HOTEL
Guests can save 20 percent on their Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Experience tickets when they purchase a hotel package at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel package includes tickets to Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience and deluxe accommodations or an exclusive holiday-decorated suite with turn-down service for the complete seasonal experience.

Book a hotel stay here: 
https://www.stlthepolarexpressride.com/hotel-packages

NEW THIS YEAR: PANCAKES WITH SANTA
Select Saturdays and Sundays in December, families can enjoy a special Pancakes with Santa breakfast in Union Station’s Grand Hall. Pancakes topped with strawberries and fun whipped cream Santa faces are served with bacon and milk for the kids or coffee for the grownups. Seatings are available at 9, 9:45, 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. on December 5 & 6, 12 & 13, and 19 & 20, 2020. Santa will visit with every child during the event. Tables will be placed at appropriate social distances and only one group will be seated at a table. Masks are required per City of St. Louis Health Department requirements.

Tickets are available at:
https://www.stlthepolarexpressride.com/pancakes-with-santa

There is so much to do this year at Union Station. It is worth a trip to visit and see what all the excitement is about. Our little family of four felt very comfortable wearing our masks, walking around, and enjoying everything Union Station has to offer. Just remember the three W’s. Wear your mask, Wait 6 feet apart, and Wash your hands!

Finding My Balance

Life isn’t always easy. You can become inundated with schedules, task after task, thoughts filled with the unimportant aspects of life and before you even know it a wrench gets thrown into the mix and wrecks havoc on any semblance of balance you may of had.

This year has been a major test for me in more ways than one. With covid keeping us indoors we work hard to balance staying safe with not going crazy with cabin fever. Finding new things to do to replace the fun we were accustomed to having in the past. Who knows where we would be if everyone would just wear a mask. I can’t imagine it being any worse.

With the protesting going on across the country I attempt to find a balance with parenting. What do I tell my kids, how do I explain the importance of equality? There needs to be a balance to educate them but also not scare them…. They are just kids.

And then there are my own personal struggles, dealing with my mother’s death, the hate surrounding the election, balancing work and home life, and so much more. It sometimes seems like it never ends.

Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.

Eckhart Tolle

So much pull in any direction can upset the balance in you. Staying on the right side of history is one thing, but an unbalanced you, that’s not healthy.

So to help with all of this, I have begun looking into mindful meditation. I do believe that some well thought out meditation can do wonders on your well-being. Using chakras as a guide to understand and break down my inner self into categories seems to help focus my own thoughts on specific aspects of my life. It already has been a very uplifting experience so far and I can only imagine the journey I will go through as I continue.

If meditation is too kooky of an idea for you, just try this, find a quiet spot, turn on your favorite album and just rest your eyes while relaxing in your favorite chair. When the album is over, open up your eyes, stretch and realize that you basically just meditated. Hopefully it made you feel a little better, even if you fell asleep.

The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.

Chadwick Boseman

Spending those few minutes clearing my head and focusing on what is going on inside of my mind has helped me so much over these last few weeks since my mother had passed away. It’s all pseudoscience anyways and not based on any sort of reality. It’s all about feelings and emotion and like Dan Harmon once said, “Feelings are real but they arn’t reality.”

As long as I am finding my balance, I think that is all that matters.