We have a south facing driveway. The significance of this will likely be lost on you, unless you live in Denver. If you live here, you will know that I almost never have to shovel. I never have to worry about snow sitting for days or weeks on end, hoping that it will get just a few degrees warmer to make it go away. This small miracle is due to the incredible Colorado sunshine that sublimates the snow, from solid to gas in a single step. And, I have been thankful for this process more in 2023 than any other year in recent memory.
Yet, on occasion, even the amazing southward facing driveway is no match for the amount of snow that the Colorado sky dumps upon us. During one such event, I was all set to run an errand after having shoveled the sidewalk and not much else. Conveniently, neighbors from across the street had used a snowblower to deposit all of the snow from around their driveway directly in the path of my car, the snow forming rather large mounds in the hopes that the sun would work its magic on our side of the street.
As I pulled the car out into the snow anyway, fully confident that our 4 wheel drive vehicle could take on the fully un-shoveled and unplowed road, I was amazed that the car got stuck, multiple times.
When it got stuck for the final time, my wife came out to see if I needed help. I assured her that I did not. When she put on her boots and came out to help, I was stubbornly trying to shovel around my tires. When she asked to get in the car so that I could push while she drove, I begrudgingly agreed, knowing that it would be objectively easier to get the car out with two people. When my another neighbor came over to help push, I further internalized my own inadequacy and struggled to thank him when we finally did get it unstuck. When my middle son joined to help us get it back into the garage and it was at least thirty minutes before we could, it took everything I had not to let the anger boil over, as my family was LITERALLY helping me undo the dumb thing I had attempted.
It was only after this whole ordeal was over that I realized I couldn’t have communicated worse about my needs or how I was feeling. I had exactly one emotion that I could reach for in that moment, and the anger that I was feeling was not helping anyone. But, it was all that I had, it was all that my heart could reach for and wrap around in order to process the frustration I was experiencing. And, as you might imagine, it was not enough.
I had multiple people in my life who were reaching out to provide guidance and support, and because I thought my purpose was to be the man who fixes his own problems, I couldn’t communicate my gratitude or my relief. I have since apologized for my emotional incompetence.
We need more than anger in our emotional quivers. We need more than a stoic sense of individualistic determination. We need more than silence in the face of adverse outcomes. I needed my wife, and my neighbor, and my son. And I needed to communicate my emotions, even as I was driven toward my purpose. I hope to do better the next time it snows.
@themasculinitydetox “We need more than anger in our emotional quivers. We need more than a stoic sense of individualistic determination. We need more than silence in the face of adverse outcomes.” The Detoxing Man is Communicative (of purpose and emotion) – 25 of 30. How can we help one another to define and express more than anger when we face difficult situations? #toxicmasculinity #positivemasculinity #masculinitydetox #patriarchy #anger #emotions #mensmentalhealth #heartonmysleeve #snow #snowshovel ♬ original sound – The Masculinity Detox