This one really needs no introduction.
Just read it and then make yourself aware of the #heforshe campaign that is growing in strength and numbers. These are men that are standing up for women. It’s gorgeous.
So is this letter.
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If you work with at risk populations, have worked with (or are) survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, are a woman that has overcome adversity – we’d love to hear from you.
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When I received this letter I could only sit quietly, moved. I couldn’t wrap my head around big, feeling words, simply emailing Marc, “It’s beautiful.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, Marc Graham –
Men are strange creatures. Frankly, I don’t know what you people see in us, or why you put up with our shenanigans, but I’m grateful you do. Much of what we truly feel goes unsaid, and what we try to say comes out wrong most of the time. So, for the times I’ve misspoken, when he said the wrong thing, when we completely biffed a conversation because our tiny brains were trying to process a message from our big hearts, here’s this.
Among the many things I forget to say, this is right up there. You do so much every day, every moment. Things that aren’t necessarily your responsibility, but that need to be done and if you don’t do them, who will? So (1) please know that you don’t have to do it all and it’s okay to ask for help. And (2) I recognize all you do, and I’m so thankful.
Two words don’t adequately cover it, but there it is. I’m sorry for the times I judged you, rather than trying to understand you. I’m sorry for the times I made you feel less than, rather than celebrating all that you are. I’m sorry for just hearing you instead of listening to you, looking at you instead of seeing you, touching you instead of feeling you. Mostly, I’m sorry for when I acted like a boy instead of a man.
You balance me.
It’s become a lovely and sentimental notion to say, “You complete me.” It’s also unfair to you. Boys, those needy, selfish creatures naturally look to woman as a source of nourishment. That’s straight biology. But if I’m the man you deserve, whether my role is brother or partner, friend or lover, I’m complete already. Still growing, still learning, still changing, but complete. What I need is balance, and you do it perfectly. You counter my weaknesses with your strength. You temper my arrogance with your sound judgment. You smooth my rough edges with your gentle touch. You make me better, and you make me want to be better.
I’m proud of you.
Let’s face it, I’m awfully proud as it is, so I hesitate to use this phrase. Male pride is too often focused on self rather than others. But this is all you. You awe me. You’ve accomplished so much, in the face of challenges that would have had me cowering in a corner, tucked into a fetal position. The world puts so much on your plate, and you handle it with grace, which amazes me. And where you really shine, what makes my heart burst with admiration, is when you gently and courageously say, No. When you set your needs and higher goals above the expectations of others. When you recognize that, astounding as you are, even you can only do so much, and your energies are best spent on those things that matter and that feed your soul. You are a rock star.
I mean it. You have a gorgeous soul, and when you let that shine through, when you’re being authentically Who You Are, you take my breath away. That way you smile and your eyes light up, because there’s so much Light inside you that has to come out. That way you laugh too loud, because your joy must be expressed. Even when you ugly-cry, because you’re capable of feeling so much and so deeply that your body can’t contain it, that’s beauty. Oh, and those little things you try to cover up, those blemishes you try to hide? Don’t. Not for me. Those scars, those wrinkles, those stretch marks, all those so called imperfections tell the story of you, and are part of how you came to be who you are. Who you are is beautiful, and they are all part of that.
I love you.
Nothing more, no elaboration or justification. I just, plain love you.
Marc Graham is a writer, actor, singer, engineer, bard, and novice alchemist. His debut novel, Of Ashes and Dust, is slated for publication in 2017. He and his wife, Laura, live with their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in Colorado’s Front Range.