Most of you know that I come from a fairly large family; I have one sister who is the oldest, three older brothers and two little brothers. I am sort of the middle child (math is not my strong suit and certainly not fractions or percentages….ugh) so my environment I liken to being in a tide of testosterone. I spent a great deal of time talking with my father and just seemed to gravitate to all things “male” whether because it was the most plentiful offering or because it attracted me somehow. At any rate, I have a deep and abiding love for all my siblings, but I have a special place for all of my brothers and the brothers from other mothers that I consider part of my Family By Choice.
You see, being a guy isn’t as easy as they make it look. I have watched my brothers deal with adversity, grievous loss and heartbreaking challenges, both mentally and physically. I have seen the phoenix in all of them, time and time again, rising from the ashes, rebuilding and gathering strength, mending armor and sharpening swords to fight depression, threats on their family and home, invaders wanting to steal their joy, their peace and drain them of the goodness within.
These thieves are invisible and they are the byproduct of society’s braying and shrill cries of what is RIGHT and how to BE A MAN. The ridiculous concept that being a man means shutting off yourself from your emotions; with only the violent and domineering ones allowed. The lies are that helping someone less fortunate or simply having compassion for those around you are seen as weakness, hence the long and fruitful life of The Lie.
The lie that men are somehow immune to life’s slings and arrows; that their hearts somehow are hardened, that their soul does not weep when they see injustice, cruelty and apathy.
The lie that they believe that sex and love are one and the same; I have known men who have loved with every fiber of their being and sex was not a foundation or even a part of that love.
Men who fall in love with intelligence, humor, wit, curly hair, outspoken souls who apologize for nothing, bring out the child in them, inspire them to reach higher, be better and make a difference. I’m not saying they don’t enjoy or desire sex, but I’m saying that’s not the only item on a list of qualities they seek in a mate.
The lie that men don’t have depression, eating disorders, body dysmorphia or mental illness. This lie is especially damaging because it does not allow them a safe place to admit that they are, simply, human. As such, they are unprotected against the diseases of the soul such as depression, suicidal ideation or self-harm, suffering in each and every form.
What does a “Real Man” do when he thinks he has no choice, no voice, no validation? Something very permanent, something no one wishes him to do and something he himself does not wish to do; quit.
Give up. Check out. F**k it all.
THIS IS HAPPENING WAY TOO MUCH!!!!
So, gentlemen of every age, please listen closely when I tell you:
You are a Real Man already. No one can take that away from you. It’s yours. Forever.
You matter. Yesterday you mattered, today you matter, tomorrow you will matter, still.
You WILL make a difference. You already have and if you stay around long enough, you will find that out. Ask and we will tell you.
You WILL find love. Start with yourself. Everyone else who matters already loves you, darling.
You WILL cry. It’s ok. Your car burns fuel when you drive it, the oil needs to be changed and that’s just a part of maintaining your car. Your spirit/body needs maintenance just the same as your car. Crying clears your emotional carburetor and lightens your spiritual load.
You WILL have hard times, meet people who don’t understand or try to make you doubt yourself.
Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one. Don’t get mad, just don’t let them get into your head, either. They have their own trip and you’re not going where they are, anyway. Wave b-bye and wish them well.
I don’t know if this will help, but I sure hope it does.
Please know that you are so perfectly, beautifully good as you are, flawed and fabulous and finding your way.
Being a man means what you decide being a man means to you.
Go live your life, shed those tears, release those fears and continue to be the man you know you’re meant to be, truly.
I’ll be right here if you need me.