[From Bella: Here’s the second and last part of the guest post by David P. Crews. The first part is here. Read that first part now if you haven’t already, then continue reading here.]
So, I’ve tried to understand what it is that they see. Just as there are stereotypes and social misinterpretations and demands on single-at-heart women, single men have stereotypical roles to which they are compared as well. My experiences certainly haven’t made me rich, so in that assessment, I’m a failure. For a woman who is seeking someone to provide a traditional lifestyle, monetary security, and family prospects, I did and do not appear as a likely contender. I must, then, be a guy who is irresponsible instead of taking on a “real man’s” role of marriage, kids, boring job, mid-life crisis, beer with the “guys,” and by all means, the appearance of general conformity. Such a person might not take personal risks or pursue a life calling or all-involving heart project because of that family or that marriage, or for the fear of social rejection for being different. My freedoms and activities can seem threatening to those who are so constrained.
It’s portrayed in a joking way, but it is often literally true that such men are so deprived of their own individualism that they are reduced to being allowed to have a “man cave” in some corner of their own house. Damn. My whole LIFE is my man cave.
I’ve had my many tragedies and heartbreaks, too, as we all have, but oh, would I ever have traded my experiences for a traditional life, even one that was pleasant and “successful”? Would I diminish myself in my own mind by never having tried to do the things I’ve done and created? No, I’ve made my choice. I’ve enriched my path, but I share it with care and restraint. Otherwise, it kind of looks like I’m flaunting or just bragging, and people can be “off put.” In Texas, however, we say, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” These things are true and they are part of my honest experience as a human being and as a man. I caused them to happen. I treasure them.
Being essentially self-oriented is fundamentally different from being selfish. The “adventures” that expand my life are not merely trophies for macho braggadocio. Yet, who will witness my life? I just now lost to unexpected death my one longest-time friend with whom I could share most deeply. Who, now, can I truly interact with, share with, or even talk with about such things without triggering their defense mechanisms?
It is acceptable to me to be who and where I am, but I do desire more friendships that are not simplistic or shallow. That’s a need for which I have no true solution.
These days, I figure that whether or not others truly see me and cheer me on, I will continue down my solitary path. I’ll see where it takes me and learn what things I may have the opportunity to create. I look forward to “retirement” in a few years, which simply means I won’t have to spend my precious time on other people’s projects just to support my expenses, a situation I find more and more galling. Health willing, I’ll travel as never before and continue to write books, make music, and practice photography and other creative arts. I’ll see new things and learn a different language, and try to squeeze as much juice out of life as I can on my path with heart. The path ends too soon and the Earth is wide and wondrous. Should others not truly hear my song, I know that the elemental Spirits will, and, most meaningfully, I will.
[From Bella, one last time: Thanks again, David, for this wonderful contribution to my “Single at Heart” blog. There is some research on how people react to different kinds of single people, and I’ll describe it in a future post — here it is. I think it helps explain some of the reactions you are getting.]
For 45 years, David P. Crews has been an award-winning broadcast television director, editor, and motion graphics artist and animator, now running his own video and music company, CrewsCreative. David is also a long-time on-air radio host and associate at KMFA-FM, a listener supported, non-commercial all-classical station in Austin, Texas. His newest book is an epic science fiction adventure titled Xenoplague. Check out his video channel and blog.