The lesser emotion
Apart from being a highly misunderstood state of existence, vulnerability is a very real phenomenon. Least discussed reality, but reality. It is that one black sheep of the family of emotions that was never appreciated for who it was, a darker shade.
Racism in the most minuscule way possible? Check. The very fact that every incomplete, broken, weak, damaged, not-so-whole aspect of life is brushed under the umbrella of “the black sheep” speaks a lot about our society. Not to forget that this very broken, unused and mangled umbrella often accessorizes well with femininity.
In layman’s terms, emotions, especially the unexplained, slightly wavering ones, are attributed to females. The lesser ones in society.
Vulnerability with a W?
Contrary, to the popular practice of labelling women as weak and all its synonyms, vulnerability raises them to a higher, more stable emotional state. Having been classified as “the women’s adjective” vulnerability empowers them in ways no #HeforShe could.
As much as this goes against the gender equality debate, it has done wonders to the point that it normalized women being an emotional wreck. It might seem very inappropriate and disapproving to some but that’s just the blessing in disguise from where I see.
Women being, embodying and displaying incomplete emotions such as vulnerability, is not out of order anymore. They can be vulnerable and vocal at the same time and none would bat an eye. And that’s where we drew a line for vulnerability. More like a dam. In times when feminism and women’s rights blow the horns of societal change, ironically, the men suffer from vulnerability in silence.
Men, the stronger, more complete half of the society according to common belief, suffer from the deadliest disease: not being vulnerable. Why do we push them to be gentlemen when there’s already so much stigma around “gentle”?
Why does it have to be pushing open a door, pulling a chair, walking her down the stairs to make him a gentleman? Why is a man expressing and accepting himself to be broken, incomplete, damaged and VULNERABLE not the ultimate acts of being a “gentleman”? What is harder for us to accept? Vulnerable men OR men comfortable with their vulnerability?
You see a man wiping tears of his woman and you find it endearing. You see a girl cry her heart out and you feel her pain. But why is it so unnatural to see a man cry, cry in uncontrollable tears and be normal about it? Why is it so unnatural that it makes you squirm? Bloodshot eyes in cinema should give a little more screen space to tear stained faces.
Not just any tearstained face, a tearstained face which finds it so conventional and accepted around him that he forgets to wipe it.
That before turning up at his friend’s door at 3 he does not bother to wipe it.
That he does not have to put up a smile to look the strong, complete self when there’s a dam within him that could break any moment, soaking him, only to not be wiped.
That he does not have to drive off to anywhere, halt abruptly, slam the car door, cry to no one and come back as if nothing happened.
That he does not have to lock himself in a room to cry his heart out, only to hear himself cry alone.
A tearstained face that does not shy away from his guy friends. And that his guy friends think of him as no lesser of a man when he does so.
The ‘Greek God’ phenomenon
Masculinity, for so long, has been associated with being tough, strong, unbreakable, and resilient that it’s not human anymore. Emotions, which of all traits make us all humans don’t usually fit into the roles assigned to men.
And there’s nothing more saddening that despite knowing how flawed of a system it is, we embrace it. When in reality, embracing the flawed, incomplete emotions should be a survival instinct, an adaptive measure for all us humans to grow and prosper. Women and men alike.
Hercules is a name we’re all well versed with. And the two most celebrated qualities of Hercules include bravery and strength. Surprisingly, the exact two qualities that every quintessential hero every man is forced to be a reflection of, consciously or subconsciously.
The sad part is, ever since Greek mythology, we did not allow their characters to grow, did we? We are all so stuck in watering the seeds of physical and mental development, that emotions are still dormant. And when this little dormant seed breaks, trying to embody its vulnerability, that’s exactly when we put a cork on the only crack that let some sunshine through.
Ideally, we have also misunderstood bravery. It is not just the absence of cowardice. It is the knowledge of fears, the self-doubt of standing up to the fears, the wave of apprehension on crossing paths with the fears, the bouts of breakdowns and still managing to gather the strength to fight those fears.
Bravery is the very presence of weakness, fears and a constant conflict of fleeing away at any moment. Bravery IS embracing emotions too. The highest forms of bravery include being comfortably vulnerable. It takes courage to be courageous, but a greater deal not to be one. To be comfortable in one’s skin, no matter how cracked, it is a courage lesser-known to humanity. On a side note, bravery is also being an unapologetic tearstained face.
Contrary to the common beliefs, the ensign of patriarchy that sways over has its roots cracking up the entire foundation of humanity. It has done enough damage to society. Lot lesser to men than women, but men too.
Something that was technically their creation to cease the growth of the other plant, turned out to be a weed to them. As unbelievable as that might sound, privileged are those who can be proud of the emotions they embody. No matter how incomplete that is.
The bottom line is, vulnerability is beautiful. It might be unfair and unlovely, it still is beautiful. In the most unconventional, unaccepted, unfitting to the set molds kind, but it is very human beauty. It makes none of us any lesser a man or a woman, only a lot more human.