I travel a lot for my job and today i was exploring the city of Pendleton, Oregon. I have been here once before but didnt take much time to explore and appreciate the city. This time around i put aside space to walk around the city and investigate whatever nooks caught my eye.
After getting lunch i noticed signs pointing to a river walk. I followed them and came upon a park following the banks of the Umatilla River. The park spanned quite a long distance and was stocked with plenty of benches and good views of the river. The trees are turning color with the fall and filled the park with vivid reds, yellows and oranges.
Fall in eastern Oregon is dry and warm and i was thoroughly enjoying my stroll. I had a book and chocolate bar and was looking for the perfect spot to stop and break into my chocolate and start reading the first Game of Thrones book.
Before i the bench i was looking for i walked under a bridge over the river and saw a bit of graffiti that caught my eye. I didnt have my camera on me but it looked something like this:
I smiled wide.
Then i started thinking about how rarely i see men expressing their love for the women in their lives, or the men in their lives for that matter. Expressing love and tender feelings is not something we teach boys and school and we constantly reinforce that idea through the definition of masculinity we display in the media. Real men never show their love and for all we know they don’t even feel love.
I can remember being in school and knowing that i felt love for a girl or for a close friend yet being mortified of showing that for fear of being labeled a “fag” or “gay”. Feeling this confusion on how and when to show affection for anyone let alone a love interest was very stressful and left me feeling frustrated and confused.
I am sure what the world has become more hyper-masculine the past years and that makes me wonder what it is like for young boys who grow up in an culture that discourages displays of affections.