Just because

Just because your hands are trembling doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Often it means that you’ve exerted yourself in pursuit of something greater.

Just because you’ve failed or fallen doesn’t mean you’ll always fail or fall.

Past may be prologue, but it does not determine the epilogue of your journey.

Just because someone doesn’t understand or support you doesn’t mean you’re wrong or bad.

Sometimes it’s just an indicator that you’re on a different path.  Respect the differences and celebrate them.

Sometimes

Sometimes you have to…

  • Make the space in your heart to be able to say “no”.
  • Make yourself understand that the things people do or did to you are wrong.
  • Let yourself get angry at all the pain inflicted.
  • Tell the truth and be brutally-honest.
  • Cry and release the pain.

Sometimes, even the best of us crack under the pressure. It’s not the fall that defines us, it’s what we do afterward. What do we do when we fall?

We pick ourselves back up.

We too feel alone

Just because I am male doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the sting of exclusion.  Just because I am male doesn’t mean that I am unable to express myself.

I do not aim to perpetuate what Henry Rollins called “the violent promise of inequality”.

I feel the agonizing burn of implied sexual violence and domination.  I, too, feel the cold poison of patriarchy seeping through my veins.  I feel the weight on my shoulders; the baggage of thousands of years of expectation and unattainable notions of total control.

I desperately want to shed that weight, to bleed out the poison, to heal those wounds that still burn red sirens.  I want to be seen, to be acknowledged, to know that the pain is not just mine but collectively ours.

I want others to know and take strength from the fact that I too feel the pain of male privilege.  That just because I was born with a Y chromosome doesn’t automatically make me an enemy to equality.  I see the pain that male privilege inflicts on everyone, including men themselves.  Those who have yet to enter the arena and experience the full-frontal assault that is the psychic war–attaining something nebulous like “manhood”.

Boys are subjected to the same tired tropes as full-grown men before they’re even old enough to know what a trope really is.

  • Feelings are to be suppressed.
  • Anything but masculinity is heresy.
  • Violence is required and encouraged.
  • Dissent is discouraged.
  • “Otherness”/“Gayness”/“Femininity” are weaknesses (and therefore not masculine).

These tropes stunt the growth of many boys that it’s no wonder that as a culture most men are seen as grown-children.  Men’s rights activists and feminists are both on opposite extremes of the argument, which doesn’t help boys or men that are caught in the middle.  Men are told to be “real men”, while at the same time they are sold the tropes of a violent, male-centric Westernized culture.

Males who do not identify with either extreme or are already categorized in the outlier categories (gay, un-masculine, non-type-A personality) are caught in the middle and have no role models to look up to.  Celebrities push their own kinds of tropes and expectations (some without even realizing it), and promote various brands of toxic masculinity.  Political and social power-structures create crucibles of hyper-masculinity where brutal hazing and cut-throat behavior are the de-facto standard.

And all the while, men are being bombarded by the entire world with messages that reinforce their perceptions of inadequacy and fear:

  • You’re not man enough.
  • Your muscles (or your genitals) aren’t big enough.
  • You don’t earn enough
  • You don’t know enough.
  • You don’t play hard enough.
  • You’re not ranked high enough.
  • Repeating endlessly: “you are not enough”.

What if instead of tearing men down, people spent time building them up?  What if instead of ordering them to suppress their emotions and build themselves like an impregnable fortress, we instead taught men how to be strong, stable, and empathic?  What if we taught them that fear isn’t a weakness, but merely the brain’s warning mechanism and a challenge to be overcome (for the right reasons of course).

There are men who feel.  Men who keep their mouths shut and their hearts clenched tight behind chains and razor-wire.  Men who feel too much.  Men who also feel the burn of inadequacy and loneliness.

We too feel alone.

Fortune favors the Now

In all of the potential mathematical improbabilities in all of known space and creation, the probability that atomic structures and organic materials would have coalesced in the exact processes necessary to create you is impossible to express.

To be alive in this time in history is indescribable. We are at the apex of one of humanity’s greatest points in history, where knowledge, effort, and means are all collectively lending their energy to the next generation. Pushing them, molding them, breaking chains, and giving them the one thing that they need most:

Hope.

Every person has a story

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

Every person has a story.

No matter how you emphasize the words, the meaning is the same.  It’s why we have to do the work, lean in, and dig deeper.  It’s why inquiry, discovery, and revision are pre-requisites for being a functional human being.

The impact isn’t just limited to people–it’s all-encompassing.  Individuals, groups, organizations, countries, cultures, civilizations–nothing is left out.

When you encounter someone new, try remembering it.  See how quickly things change.

Forget

I want to go somewhere else entirely.  A place where I will forget my own name.  How my face looks.  The sound of another heartbeat.  The feel of skin against my own.

Another day.  Another disappointment.  Another night.  One more heartbreak stacked atop the rest; just bricks slapped atop a layer of pale loneliness.

I want to walk so far and so long that I forget everything.  Let my memories bleed into the desert floor from the soles of my dead feet.  Don’t bother looking for the bones–let the sun bleach them and the coyotes crunch them down to powder.

Make me forget.  Make me invisible.  It’s what was bound to happen anyway.  It was meant to happen; meant to be.  My name was meant to be a warning, an illustration in apocalyptic form of how abjectly fucked you can be.  How it doesn’t matter what I did or how much I tried, it’d always end up the same.  I was going to be the one who could never quite fit.  The metaphorical “square peg”.  Quintissential.

This world was never meant for me.  I was never meant for greatness or great things, only to be someone’s toy.  A broken and pitiful thing, a chalk line drawn only to be washed away.  I can only imagine what others would say.  “Good riddance”.  “About time”.  “What a coward”.

Carve my name in stone.  Then forget about me just like all the rest.