1. The song, “Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down came to have a very significant meaning to me this past September, after my grandmother passed away. The day she died, and a few days after I remained seemingly unaffected and went on with my usual routine of work and partying, I spoke of it to my friends casually, and when they offered support I replied indifferently “it’s all good, that’s what happens”. It wasn’t until about a week later, on the morning of her rosary that I finally broke down.
When I woke up that morning I knew it was coming, and told my mom to go ahead without me; that I’d meet her there, not willing to allow her to see me in a moment of weakness. When she left, I set the song on repeat, and let the sadness engulf me. The masquerade was over. As the tears rolled down my face, the sadness quickly turned to anger and guilt. My grandma died alone, in a nursing home, with nobody by her side to comfort her as the last bit of life left her frail, broken body. Memories of her taking care of me when I was young flooded my brain.
Her tender, loving hands bathing me, cooking for me, rubbing all my pain away. It was no longer anger I felt, but rage. Unable to take it anymore, I grabbed my keys and headed off, driving like a maniac. The stereo was so loud I wouldn’t have heard if there was a siren going off right next to me. The tears continued to flow, blurring my vision. The music continued to blast, impairing my hearing. As I got onto the freeway I quickly passed the 100mph mark on my speedometer. Weaving through traffic, cutting people off, so consumed with rage and self-loathing to care how many people I endangered.
Miraculously I got to the chapel unharmed. I parked and watched as people I hadn’t seen in years walk in to “pay their respects”. I hated them. All of them. My hate knew no boundaries, and did not discriminate. I hated the distant relatives who all of the sudden cared. I hated the priest, who I hadn’t even seen yet. As I walked in and met the hostess, I hated her too. When the service began, I watched my mom and the other women in my family tear up and begin to sob. Witnessing that I was not the only one suffering, the rage finally began to subside and give way to compassion and empathy.
Just as suddenly as the rage had come on, it was gone, and all I was concerned with was being strong for my family. As the service came to an end, people got up to speak about my grandma, and I realized that some of these people did care. The drive home was so drastically different than my ride barely 2 hours prior. As everyone gathered at my house, bringing tons of food and other things to make the next few days easier for my family, I came to the conclusion that it was not fair for me to assume these people were only here for show, and if that assumption was correct, it was not my place to judge them anyway.
I grabbed a beer and stood back for a moment to take in the scene, and a small smile escaped my mouth. 2. This event doesn’t really clash with my own self-concept. Although I didn’t expect to break down as bad as I did, I know I’m not invulnerable to all types of pain. I’m sure it clashes with other people’s images of me though. In the presence of others I’m usually genuinely happy, and even my closest friends have rarely seen me seriously stressed out. I’m good at controlling my emotions, but I’m not especially good at expressing them, I avoid expressing them, actually.
As far as social comparisons, I think this sentiment of not wanting to display your emotions openly is probably very common among men, though the reasoning behind it may differ for each man. For me it’s not that expressing emotion makes me actually feel weak, it’s that others might interpret it as such. In this competitive world it’s important to have as many strengths, and as few weaknesses as possible. Cultural teachings definitely enforce the idea that men should not cry, and that they should remain strong and unwavering for their family during times of hardship.
I think this is pretty universal throughout all the cultures of the world. Even though I don’t think it’s healthy to stifle one’s emotions, I do believe that society has come to rely on the male as the “rock” of the family, and that there would be negative effects if men started getting all in touch with their emotions. My own interpretation is that although the bottling and hiding of one’s emotions may not be emotionally healthy, in some circumstances it is still necessary, like when I decided I needed to be strong for my family during my grandmother’s rosary service.
3. This information is coming from both my open and hidden self. The first part is definitely from my hidden self, as I haven’t told anybody about all of the hate I felt that day. I hadn’t even thought about it until I began this project! My analysis and speculation I’m offering now though is part of my open self. 4. I don’t believe this song relates to any of my self-destructive beliefs. The only relation it has is that the lyrics remind me of my grandmother. If anything it is positive, as It encourages me to always remember my grandmother, how I neglected her, and how we must always cherish what we have before it is too late.