On Being English
So I’m of English stock. It’s not a bad thing.
I do not do things that are considered anti-social, I speak a major language understood by a great deal of the world, and for the most part am respected by friends and associates. Why do I get negative pokes like, Oh your English, you are insensitive…
But what of being English that has me thinking about the heritage. Is there something about English history my eyes should be ashamed? It is true that the British Empire once boasted about the sun never setting on the Empire. Do not think for a moment that the rise to power happened in a cheery gentlemanly way. My ancestors had noses stuck in the air, thinking they were superior over others. That attitude got itself smacked down in time, and rightly so.
So, many think English are snobby. Stuck up. Snotty and full of air. Well, that may be true, especially if one listens to the upper crust lot. The Royals tend to sound snooty, but I can not blame them for that. My father, a gentleman in his own way, was not of any royal blood, snooty or otherwise. A commoner, family man who knew work from 12 years old on. He knew how to say thank you, please and open a door for someone, female or male. That is something I learned from him, and if it’s an English characteristic, then I am totally glad he gave me that.
So where is the problem, if there is one.
Many times I have had the unpleasant accusation of being called emotionless Englishman as if there are varying degrees. Because I have been told by those who know these things that English men (maybe women) can not show emotions. Goes to the stiff upper lip, take it on the chin, carry on old boy, etc. attitude. An Englishman does not cry, say it hurts or gives up. I think we can call it the Anglo Saxon Anti-Emotional Syndrome. ASAS for short.
Well, I disagree. I am proud of my heritage (for the most part), but this idea that English is an excuse for a man to withhold emotions is just silly. Will our society please get over ourselves and have a good sound cry when the time needs it.
It doses not have to be a raving screaming dust throwing seizure. Can be if it helps. If it hurts its OK to show a tear, a sad face, or at least say something even if the voice is a bit warbly from all the suppressed emotions. It’s OK to cry, really it is. If someone gives a fellow a hard time, then I say that someone is jealous he can’t let it out. Maybe that person has some issues best expressed with a trained professional, or a pint down at the pub.
My life has given me lots of reasons to cry. Not on purpose. If I had of tried to keep all those heartaches trapped behind the false wall of being English, well enough to say I would not have survived. Not afraid to admit I did the professional route as well as the pints at the pub. Friends are wonderful places to drain the emotions.
It’s important to say that an emotional release doesn’t have to be over a major life event. How about a lovely sunset that reminds us of our position in the universe. A tender moment with our mate. How about when your child says I love you. I could come up with many more examples. Let me say this, better to understand those emotions now before a major life event does occur because they do. Coping will be easier.
Here is a pro tip from an emotionally free Englishman. Tears are optional but can certainly help let our hearts speak freely. At the very least, say it hurts.
I just have to think of the love of my life and my eyes start to water. How fortunate I am she can understand her Englishman, who cries at movies, weddings, sunsets and just about every time she says I love you.