And I carry a teal umbrella
My neck is wide, my legs are strong, and I carry a teal umbrella. I am a man who knows himself and fears little.
Daniel F. Dickinson: May 2023
Now, you may ask, “what that is all about?” (and I’ll tell you now, even if you don’t).
It is a personal reflection on my being confident enough in a healthy (I hope) masculinity that is not afraid of social perceptions about piffles, such as the colour of one’s umbrella. Nor do I need to feel the need to belittle others, or push others down to feel like I am worthwhile. This is also about the ways I attempt to include others and oppose hatred, in a non-hostile manner.
I know myself in these respects: I know that I work and play hard (regardless of what those with no insight into my brain, may believe or think). I know that I am both strong and gentle, that I care deeply and yet can be alone. I know I am intelligent and yet value those who struggle with understanding, for I know they are as human as I. (Not to mention that I know enough to know how little I, or any other human, can know). That, and I recognize that those who think of matters less attached to day to day life cannot survive without those who are deeply embedded in it.
As for the teal umbrella: That has at least two layers to it. The first is one of poverty; of, for a time, not having cash to buy a different umbrella. It is also a choice. A choice not to fear others opinions and perceptions, and to challenge those who would wish to cause fear (there are those who would assume a teal umbrella carried by a man indicates an alternate gender identity, and whose weakness and lack of self-assuredness causes them to hate and attack those with any identity they do not understand) in others.
Interestingly, this has not been an issue anyone has tried to challenge me on, or even commented on in my general direction (never mind to my face). It would be nice to believe this is because no one has had such reactions or behaviours, but in this world, in this town, in this time; I would find that hard to credit.
There was a time when I might have feared to carry a teal umbrella, suffering from depression (or the down cycle of schizoaffective disorder), and not having confidence to handle any reaction, should it occur. That, and often believing negative actions and words were being taken towards me, though never in such a way as to have ever been verifiable as more than my imagination.
Whether I was simply paranoid, or whether such reactions were present in addition to the paranoia from a disorder that was initially diagnosed as ‘Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type’ (and more recently updated to ‘Schizoaffective Disorder’ in recognition of the cycling of moods, not related to paranoid and/or delusional beliefs, particularly as treatment went on, and the delusional-type symptoms are negligible, perhaps even less than for the average person) is a frustrating mystery to me.
That is not to say that I never get angry and never wish to express myself in a negative way, particularly when faced with those who are intolerant, bigoted, encourage others to be hateful and worse, towards groups they don’t understand, or of whom they have unreasoning fear. That would simply be false. I do, however, seek to manage those reactions, and keep them for when it is a needful response to protect us all.
I am fortunate, now, to be in a romance with a wonderful woman who seems to be on the same page on these matters, and who enjoys my company, as I enjoy hers. I hope that when she reads this, it will be interesting to her, and something she can appreciate, rather than take issue with. I am still getting to know my love, but I believe it will be the former. It would certainly be more comfortable if I am right on that.
And I will still carry a teal umbrella.