I haven’t written a blog for a while. I’ve been with broken things. 
I haven’t written a blog for a while. I’ve been with broken things. 
Notice, I don’t say I’ve been mending broken things. It’s taken practise, patience and a whole lot of self love to understand not only that I don’t have to, but that the break is important. 
Maybe I never even used to get to the place of seeing something broken, I would just launch myself into the foray and prevent the damage. I’m not alone – that’s what many women have done. We have been the front line to a war that we were conscribed to in our childhoods. 
On writing this I am 47, like many women my age, I was raised by an emotionally wounded mother. I’ve talked about this a lot, the more I work as a therapist – the more women between the age of 35 and 50 are coming in to my little nest trying to heal from the wounds of being unmothered. What happened to our mothers ? they were raised by war time mothers. They grew up knowing that nothing they were feeling had any relevance “given the war” 
My mother has always been a little bit broken. It was scary to watch, scary from a visual point, and scary because it meant she couldn’t parent me. I learnt early on, that to catch the scraps of nurturing, I would need to become the early responder. I wasn’t very good at it – I was a child. So the conscription begins; – I saw a trauma I “should” fix – I rushed to fix it, inevitably failing – and then self shamed for how useless I was. Rewind repeat. 
I haven’t written a blog for a while, I’ve been watching the masculine break 
I don’t think its an age thing, I don’t think you hit a point where all the men around you start to fall apart. I think it’s an era thing. 
Rumpelstiltskin breaks the moment he hears the truth said out loud – he has been “found out”. He will not receive the unconditional love of a child. In his grief, he runs to the top of the hill, stamps one foot in the soil so deep, that when he tries to get it out – he rips himself in two. Quite literally, being stuck in the shit destroys him. And yet, the breaking began the moment he heard the market sellers daughter crying in the cellar trying to weave straw into gold. Perhaps he knew something of trying to do the impossible. 
Rumpelstiltskin arrives a lot in my studio, men who have been trying to weave straw into gold – making themselves small so that they can fit through the bars of the cellars women are trapped in. I sit with their tears and their grief over being raised by fathers after dinner time and before bed, and by mothers who raised children alone. I sit with their shame, that prevents them from ever daring to be vulnerable outside of therapy – an inner knowing that they will only ever tell me so much, history demands that men in trenches continue to put their bodies in a firing line without feeling anything. I sit with their rage, at themselves mainly – they feel an utter sense of self hatred that leads them to self medicate with alcohol, with sex, with shame, with addiction, with behaviour they cant / wont control. 
Last year, my husband bought his broken pieces home. He didn’t intend to, I think he would have hidden it for years if “the bad thing” hadn’t happened. If his true name hadn’t been found out and on impulse he ran to the top of a hill and got his foot stuck in shit. I have seen glimpses of his broken pieces over the years. My impulses have asked me to fix them quickly and I have – therapists have been called, hours of female wisdom poured into the masculine pool I fell in love with 28 years ago. I have nagged and pleaded – hung out of windows and trailed my hair down – just yearning that he would meet me. He has always been a good man, and I have loved him dearly….. and the more I independently grew to understand the beautiful intimacy that could come of relational vulnerability – the more I wanted he and I to arrive in that world together. 
He couldn’t, he was desperately holding as many pieces of himself together as he could. He was squeezing through bars at night, and weaving straw into gold. 
I just did a head count. 51 men in my life. Heart attacks, cancer, lost jobs, addictions discovered. That’s quite a lot. I could also tell you about the many women in my life who around the same time have started to compassionately let go of trying to fix their husbands. There is a correlation, perhaps we don’t need the masculine to weave our straw into gold any more, or perhaps we are no longer allowing ourselves to be placed in cellars. – whatever the metaphor may be – Rumpelstiltskin no longer has a defined role to play and left to his own devices, he is discovering his own truth…. He is broken and hurting. 
This isn’t a pity party essay on feeling sorry for the masculine, I don’t think that’s helpful nor needed – more a hand outstretched. We have been doing this breaking thing for years, discovering our cracks, the war torn flesh beneath the makeup, the hurt beyond the veil of shame we tie up in pony tails when we are feeling brave. Those that trained me had a phrase that used to drive me crazy because it would land when any of us were desperate “what has to die so that you can come to life”. 
Yesterday I was touched by a sound that arrived in my home. I realise, quite shocked that I haven’t heard it for years. My husband in peels of laughter, kneeling holding his belly as the joy rippled through his body, his eyes brimming over with a river that had run dry. I’ve missed him, he is arriving through the crack. 
Once upon a time, a market seller gave his daughter to a King as an offering to be a future bride for the prince. The King, required the daughter to pass a test, she must weave straw into gold to prove that she was worthy. Meanwhile, in a woodland nearby, a man – smaller than he used to be, went about doing the things he had been told were manly. 
Why the daughter agreed to go, is a tale for another day – lets just say she missed her mum, and had some kind of ancestral rule that she had to do what the masculine told her to. 
Why Rumpelstiltskin had never told anyone his name had a lot to do with never being fathered and never hearing a man say with all vulnerability – Son, you are beautiful. 
I hope they met each other. The daughter and Rumple, I hope they just held hands under a tree and cried and laughed and loved. I hope they both said FUCK IT to their histories and realised that they could carve out their own version of what truth was, and neither of them needed to fix the other. 
To all the men that are arriving at their breaking time, we are holding circles of women who are waiting for you to come home when you are ready. 
I haven’t written a blog for a while. I’ve been with broken things. 
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