Glad to see David has been keeping the flag flying while I have been sick and in hiding.
So that is my tendency – when I get sick I like to withdraw from the world, do less, think less, connect less, huddle down in my little space, conserve energy, sleep a lot, kind of spiral down into a semi-hibernation kind of state while my body fights off whatever is the problem.
That is where I have been for about three weeks – hiding from the world, from “effort”, while my body, and some modern medicines, fight a particularly potent wee germ that wanted to take up residence in my respiratory system.
Fortunately, now, my body is winning and I am returning to some inclination to make an effort.
The mythology in my neck of the woods is that “men” tend to fit into one of two modes when it comes to being sick – either we refuse to notice any sickness until it almost kills us and puts us in hospital OR we are complete babies when we get sick and make a huge fuss about even small physical illnesses.
Both these myths are ways to draw attention to that nonsense idea that is built into the equally nonsense idea of “masculinity” – that it is “manly” to “tough it out”.
Even a cursory analysis will make it clear that all humans “tough it out” – that quality, behaviour or ability is not associated with testicles or testosterone – it is not a “masculine” trait. I put “masculine” in inverted commas because I don’t believe that it is a real thing – it’s a constructed filter/frame we use to distort what we actually see so that what we see fits into the myth of gender binary with inbuilt gender power imbalance.
So on one hand, in my neck of the woods, we notice that men “tough it out” when sick – ignoring it and denying it until catastrophe strikes. On the other hand we notice that men don’t “tough it out” but instead do the opposite – over dramatizing their sickness and demanding inappropriate amounts of care and attention in relation to their actual sickness or weakness. Both myths highlight the other myth – that toughing it out is a “masculine” quality. Interestingly the second myth – sick man as drama baby – penalizes men for NOT “toughing it out” – a good illustration of how men are trained to have an unhealthy attitude to their own bodies – which stretches all the way to how, in most societies, men are expected to waste their bodies in state sanctioned violence (Soldiering) and that is considered “normal”.
I’m training myself out of that kind of behaviour – I am my body is me – Iamybodyisme as good a summary of my understanding of “identity” and “self”. So I am happy to hide my body away when I get sick, to nurture it, protect it, shield it, preserve it, coddle it – in doing that I am nurturing, protecting, shielding, preserving and coddling ME. Which is an approach I would be happy for every person on the planet to adopt.