My Sedona persona: The sensitive male

While on recent vacation in Sedona, Arizona, I decided to perform a science experiment involving momentum, a middle-aged man, a mountain bike, and a tree. As a disclaimer—no bikes or trees were harmed during this experiment. Momentum was suddenly lost and transferred to sound energy (insert sound of middle-aged man howling while assuming the downward dog position). I now have newfound empathy for my patients with back pain. I must admit it is an interesting mental process to look at your toilet for 2 days debating the merits of trying to sit versus the chance of back spasms versus the possibility of colon damage. 

For those of you who haven’t been to Sedona it is a beautiful part of the world mostly due to the amazing red rock formations that dot the landscape. It is also the place of crystals, psychics, and vortexes. I even saw a sign advertising “Great Psychics,” which made me stop and contemplate. Isn’t having a capable psychic implied—I mean, who would go to an average or substandard psychic? 

A lifelong friend had invited me along on the trip with a few of his adventurous buddies. They make an­nual pilgrimages to various locations to mountain bike, windsurf, and ski. Unfortunately for them, a number of the regulars were unavailable. The four of us are all roughly the same age, work as physicians, have children, and face many of the same personal, business, and life challenges. 

We rented a house that didn’t have Wi-Fi, satellite, or cable, so we were forced to do something men often avoid—talk. Sure, there was the usual beer-drinking, macho guy talk, but we had many intimate conversations about life, relationships, families, and more. I think women are much better at sharing their lives through conversation and supporting each other. I found the process very refreshing and uplifting—it was a true gift to be able to share opinions and feelings about what it means to be a man in our current world, with the competing roles of father, husband/partner, physician, and son. 

I have written previously about mentors and how important they are to personal growth. I also think having trusted male friends to share with is equally valuable. Men often isolate themselves and avoid revealing feelings, fearing this might be perceived as a sign of weakness. Face it guys, we’re not very good at making ourselves vulnerable, which is a shame as we have many shared experiences that we can learn from. 

I hope I get the opportunity to join these good guys on another trip sometime in future. I do realize this will be less likely if I keep writing these editorials about my feelings or continue to run into trees, but I am happy to report that sitting is once again possible. 

David R. Richardson, MD. My Sedona persona: The sensitive male. BCMJ, Vol. 55, No. 6, July, August, 2013, Page(s) 268 - Editorials.

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