Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Roger's post below originally came in as a note to me, but I felt it needed to be read by everyone.

When I read his comments, several memories flooded me.

I’ve been there—too many times. I assume most of you men have had such experiences.

Here’s mine:

One time the table was full, but I pulled up a chair and joined the group. Several of them nodded or acknowledged me, but no one spoke to me or invited me to join the two or three conversations going on around me.

I was surrounded by people I knew and yet totally alone. I ate my meal, got up, said “Excuse me,” and left. No one acknowledged my leaving.

That happened in 1990. Why do I still remember? The pain. The rejection. Those two things hit me, and yet, had I asked, I’m sure each of the people would have been shocked that I felt rejected.



* * * * *

Not sure if it’s shame or fear of rejection, but when I was at a church sponsored men’s conference this weekend I felt awkward and had difficulty joining in. If it was a meeting where we were all supposed to be there or a small group like in our cabin where all were expected to be present, then I was okay walking in late and joining. It was expected. But to just walk up to a group and join the conversation, I was not comfortable.

At one point, we were all sitting around a table and talking before breakfast. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back everyone had gone to the tables where they served breakfast. No one looked for me or waved me over. I finally saw them all the way across the room and felt completely abandoned. All the seats at their table were taken, so I got a plate and sat at an empty table. I finished eating and went for a walk.

I just couldn’t bring myself to walk all the way over there and look for a seat. I was afraid there wouldn’t be one and it would be awkward. I’m not shy, but I found myself angry that I could let myself get in that situation. All of them are good guys. Why couldn’t I go over and ask to sit with them?

(Roger Mann)


Preston Hill said...

Thanks for this Roger and Cec. Isn't it interesting how the wounds of sexual abuse leave a mark of not-belonging that sticks with us into other social situations in adulthood? Its as if the threats and coercion to silence reverberate long after the abuse. Sometimes I am still afraid of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing... I'm afraid I'll be exposed or embarrassed or ashamed. So I live in a perpetual state of walking on eggshells around everyone!

I think one thought I will give myself today is this: "I am not an embarrassment." Sometimes to reinforce this thought, I intentionally walk with my shoulders back and my head held high. Not because I am strutting in pride, but because I am rebelling against the effects of evil, and standing tall in the dignity that no one can ultimately take from me.

Unknown said...

PRESTON, thank you for that piece. Keep growing. And the good new is that we can and do become healthier and happier.


Roger Mann said...

Hmm Preston, I like that. "dignity that no one can ultimately take from me."

I too choose to feel and act accepted and welcomed.

Unknown said...

I know these all to well - Thanks for sharing.