Shootin' shit

in Reflections2 months ago


Before I get started I want to say that no shit was actually fact no shit was harmed in any way at all. I wanted to get that out there up front in case my title offended any shit lovers who might have thought some of their beloved shit was was not; now we can move on.

Last week the wife of a mate of mine - someone I usually see regularly but have not for a little while now - sent me a message asking if I'd invite her husband out for a shoot because he is struggling with some stuff and could use a little detachment. She didn't say it like that but I don't want to say exactly how she explained it. My answer was, of course, and I sent him a message and asked if he wanted to come out for a shoot with me. He jumped at the chance and that was that.

This week we gathered our stuff and headed out to see what we could find.

After leaving my truck at a safe (won't get shot) place we ranged out on foot. I figured we'd not get much hunting done though, and had my suspicions confirmed, but I was ok with it, the chap needed a break and a reason to (maybe) open up and talk about what was on his mind.

We spent some time pretending to follow potential targets, looking for signs of their passing and following trails making a great show of actually making an effort and we were shooting the shit (again, no shit was actually shot) as we went...I mean we were talking.

Just so you know talking, or noise of any kind, isn't such a good thing when hunting so I knew we'd see nothing...and we didn't, but the hunting trip wasn't really about hunting, it was a chance for that fellow to feel he had the freedom to speak freely with me, someone he trusts. I'm not going to go into the problems he has or what was said and why, it's irrelevant, but what's really great is he saw value in opening up, in talking to someone he felt would not judge, would not have an agenda and simply listened impartially. That's what I did.

A little later, we made our way back to my truck, packed up and headed back to civilisation.

Interestingly, as soon as we left the property he clammed up, it was like he'd crossed an invisible line and had to immediately revert to being the person he thinks people expect him to be. I didn't say anything, I know why he does it.

We see many people each day or week, pass them by without any thought and move on, but I wonder how many of those people are putting on a brave face, wearing a mask to present a particular way outwardly but are dealing with inner turmoil, chaos, uncertainty, fear and other such feelings. We all have things to deal with, some greater or lesser than others and I think we're all guilty of hiding our true emotions away from other people for fear of being judged, categorised, shunned and so on. That's what my friend was afraid of and why he was hiding (mostly) behind a facade.

Have you ever felt the need to do this? Have you hidden your true feelings, put on a brave face, felt unable to open up and share the burden and felt ill-effects because of it? Have you benefitted by shooting shit (not real shit of course, I mean talking) to others who have listened and supported impartially and with empathy? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments if you'd like.

Design and create your ideal life, tomorrow isn't promised - galenkp

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Image(s) in this post are my own


I mean... don't we put on a brave face all the time? No one will get anything done if we tell every person we pass the struggles and stressors we're facing... and I imagine almost everyone has something going on.

I've absolutely benefited by talking with supportive people... and at times I've honestly felt instantly better. Sometimes just arranging your thoughts in a way to communicate them to someone else is enough to help you see a path forward. Good on you for donating your time and your ear to a mate, you're a good dude.

Yep, mostly we do...except for entitled whingers who think having a cry may get them something the (probably) don't at all deserve. A brave face goes a long way however I interact with a lot of people whose brave face sometimes doesn't work out so well, ends in tragedy, and so I think there's a right time to remove it, to let others in a little and that's what this chap did with me - He needed it which I think you'd agree with if I spoke openly about the situation.

That instantly better feeling is common to most of us, myself included, and sometimes that lightening of the load by sharing it is all it takes to help clear away some of the mist for clearer vision/thought/attitude, and that helps move things forward, generally speaking.

Thanks for your nice comment, I try to be a good friend to those who have earned it and have a lot of capacity to's one of my qualities that I like the most.

Oh, I totally agree that there's a right time to remove it, and honestly it doesn't matter what he was struggling with... we all need some support, no man is an island, etc. Honestly, I truly think that accepting help when offered and needed is one of the strongest and most mature things anyone can do.

Aussie men particularly struggle with mental health because we've built ourselves a culture that doesn't embrace sharing hard things. Or doesn't want to burden others without realizing it's often not a burden. I definitely feel a stronger bond with mates who have trusted me like that.

Also, hat tip to his wife who recognized what that her partner might need some help that she might not be able to provide and made it happen. There is a ton of emotional intelligence there.

I am trying to be a better listener... I do still catch myself going into Fix It Mode instead of... actively listening. Definitely something I'm working on.

Fix mode is dangerous territory, but is typical for blokes really...once past it then the true benefits come for the person pouring out their issues; having said that, it's easy to lapse back into that habit, takes effort not to.

Well said on the Australian men thing also, that's exactly how it is for most, especially those born and raised here like you and I. I'm a big advocate of the are you ok phrase and encourage an honest response.

I think most people put on a brave face, and hide their feelings. I am no exception. I don't know why, but society has been that way for a long time. There have been changes where mental health are being recognized, but for a lot of men, it is still about bottling it all up and manning up. I haven't really talked about my problems much, but I don't think others can really help.

Men are not very good at opening up, and here (in Australia) men are particularly bad at it, as if doing so compromises one's manliness. It's a problem as the issues are often not dealt with which, of course, brings new issues.

I think it is worldwide. A result of media's portrayal of men throughout the years.

I think when given the opportunity to step out of our day to day life, it helps us to open up and even more so when you are in the great outdoors.
I sometimes wear a mask, especially when I have to get shit done and I'm going through a tough time. Also sometimes when I'm with my girls. I'm all for them being aware of their emotions and feeling free to express them, but they don't need to be supporting me or feel like they have too. I'll sometimes tell them how I feel, but will wait to fall apart when I'm away from them and in a safe space to do so.
Which is usually when I'm in the wild or with my women's circle.
Masks have a time and a place, but they are being put on way too much by some and as a result can be hard to remove.
You're a great friend @galenkp Xxxx

I'm not a parent but feel I'd be the same as you, show a solid front and then deal with the residual feelings later and away from view. Of course, I'm sure your kids would want to help you through, especially as they get older, and I think it's ok to allow it, to show vulnerability.

You're right about masks, there is a valid use case, and one must know when to don it and when not to; that ability comes through trial and error and the wisdom gained from it.

Also, I try to be a good friend and a good man in general, but I fail at both a lot I suppose. Thanks for saying it.

I hope things are well with you.

Many years of my life I have felt that way, that I had to and needed to wear a mask without being able to show my feelings, repressing them. For a long time.

I couldn't find anyone to talk to, precisely because those I was close to judged me.

Today not only I have changed, but with my change, the environment has changed too and I can shoot that shit with new friends and one who is like a sister to me, 25 years of friendship.

Your friend is lucky to have someone like you to listen to him without judgement. That's great!

Judgement rarely feels good and some people are very bad at dealing with it (sometimes quite justifiably so) and that leads to a lot of issues that pile up on top of the existing ones they've not opened up about. Sad really.

You shoot shit? Hopefully, not real shit because you might upset the shit lovers if you're shooting real shit. Of course, shooting shit (talking) is quite acceptable. 😊

Yes it's true there's always someone who gets annoyed by shit, but I mean talking shit about shit.... oops I've got myself all tangled up.🤣

Talking shit about shit is good shit unless one is talking shit about bad shit and then that shit conversation is bad shit related.

I'm laughing my head off!!!! It's great!🤣

For sure, I am pretty open with my wife about everything, but I do have some buddies that I do things with and it's easier to talk to them when we are out alone doing whatever. Usually playing disc golf or fishing. It depends on which friend I am with. I definitely present myself differently at work than I do in real life. People would think I was mental if I acted at work the way I do at home!

Yep, the work mask is a good one and quite legitimate...I would probably get loaded into a cannon and fired into oblivion if I was to act at work as I do at home. Lol...We're similar in that.

It's good to have some people to talk with though, trustworthy and non-judgmental ones, and I'm glad to have a few as do you'; it lightens the load at times, as it does for them in return when I listen.

Sometimes its hard to be brave but as ever in Life:
Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt

Yeah, we have to forge ahead in life, there's little point to stay8ing in place, and nothing to gain.

We all have problems to deal with but having someone to share and open up without being judged takes away the anxiety our problems are continuously threatening us with. Usually I don't share things with others as I always find them disappointing, either they judge or I don't like their attitude after hearing me out. But I know many who trust me and witnessed how people go through all this psychological turmoil, I have talked about that sometimes here though. One of the most recent where I had to be the listener, it was one of my friends and she was going through shit, like not a few days but years. I was glad she found comfort sharing them with me and i tried my best to make her feel uplifted, problem is, like your friend there, she used to go back to sad face when it's time to return to her environment; she wanted to break free but she couldn't, and i guess she won't ever be.

Sharing the burden of our troubles with someone willing to listen is often a good way of lightening the load which can make the path forward a little easier, alas, many do not do so and they suffer additional ill-effects because of it. I think the fear of being judged is one reason people fail to open up as you say.

I've seen so many people wearing that kind of mask, walking around as it's a protecting shield that'll keep'em unharmed, if something has been useful to me in life is the way a feel I've been improving, learning from mistakes, getting myself as naked(metaphorically) as I can, dropping unnecessary masks and showing my true self, being confortable in our own enviorenment surrounded by those we've chosen to be naked with( again metaphorically ). Greetings.

There's a time and place for masks and a time to reveal a little more of what's beneath the surface; I think the trick is knowing when in each case.

Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it your input and thoughts on the topic.

We all wear masks to fit in or to avoid hurting sensitivities, that's why this world is increasingly full of weaklings, of idiots who want everyone to share the same way of acting and thinking: if you like hunting, it's your freedom, if you don't like someone who doesn't have an opinion and eats lettuce.

People wear many masks usually, some for good and some for bad reasons; sometimes the mask comes off and a little more is revealed of the person and sometimes there's a mask beneath the mask, you know? The fellow I mention in this post is a good bloke, a good friend and deserves a friendly ear to listen, I provided that.

Listening is a skill few possess anymore. Same as the skill in how to debate.

Most listen for a bit and turn into an I, I, I convo.

Debates turn into mud-slinging.

I miss the days of old.

You are a good friend!!

I like to think this chap (and others of his ilk) would do the same for me - I know they would - and so it's not chore, it's actually a privilege I think to be honest, a trusted person, and I take it seriously. The art of communication is fast declining and that means listening also...there's a few of us who know how to do it still though.

Thanks for your comment.

You don't (and it's not possible) to fight all your battles in life alone. You should always look for "help" in those battles, someone who can give you advice, support...
And it will not always be the same person or the same circle of people. For different "battles", different people...
Sometimes you will wear a mask at work, sometimes among friends, sometimes among family, it all depends on what kind of insecurity, fears and problems you want and have to hide...
Because it is not right to talk about it at every step to anyone around you. Someone will not understand you in the right way, someone will be caustic ("well, let something like that happen to you too"), and someone will look at you like a spoiled child ("listen to what this guy tells me, if only he knew what they are my problems...").
A friend ask you for help, a man who wears his mask in front of people who have too high expectations of him, and who knows that you don't expect who knows what from him.
You didn't even expect him to be a good hunting companion...😀

I remember a few years ago. A colleague from another sector enters my office, who sees my mask of seriousness, professionalism, fairness and a bit of strictness... At some point, I make a joke and we laugh together, so that she says: "Well, you know how to smile". "Of course dear colleague, I know that I laugh and joke, I just choose when and with whom to do it".

Sometimes we hide our true face with a mask because we don't want others to see our problems and fears, and sometimes we wear it because we don't want people to get close to us (this applies to those who don't like excessive crowds and public performances 🙂).

We wear many masks, it's a requirement I guess, and if we did not I think we'd get very far, you mention some scenarios in which it is a valid thing to's like having a filter of sorts and it allows us to function across various situations and with various people.

That's what we are good at, hiding the real us or whatever turmoil is inside of us for many reasons. I do that all the time because, I mean wear a facade because people tend to mock you when you shoot your shit and it leaves me vulnerable and miserable... So the best thing is "Don't shoot the shit".