First off, Happy New Year. I know it’s been a minute since we last connected. Let’s just say, the transition from ’17 to ’18 has been bumpier than expected. HOWEVER, I still have high hopes for the coming year. It seems like everyone around me is i)n the same weird state of limbo. Moving from day to day, waiting for something big to happen. Maybe it’s because 30 is so close, or the state of our country currently (a clusterfuck to say the least), but all I know is, a shift is definitely on the horizon.
In the meantime, it’s important to get back to basics. Eating right, sleeping right, reading books, spending time with people who matter, and writing.
My baby sis put me on to this documentary called ‘The Mask You Live In.’ It’s essentially about how men learn what it means to be masculine. The movie follows three different middle school boys and their journey towards manhood, and highlights their struggles to understand what it means to be a ‘man.’ I took a lot from the doc, and recommend pretty much everyone to watch it. It got me thinking about how men are socialized to understand masculinity, and how we, as women, are complicit in the issues they face trying to maintain their ‘manliness’ in society.
Things I took away from the documentary:
- It is super important for men to have friend groups. It’s actually essential for men to have spaces where they feel safe enough to express themselves and be emotional. It assists with their development emotionally, socially, psychologically, etc. I actually love when I meet guys who really LOVE their guy friends. Our society normalizes female friendships so much, but it’s not more important for us to connect in that way. Men need safe spaces to talk too.
- We need to stop shaming emotional men. It’s bad enough that men cut each other down when they are ‘in their feelings‘, acting ‘soft‘, or like a ‘little bitch.’ I had the same thoughts after watching the movie ‘Fences.’ There is so much pressure for men to provide for us, to be strong, to never show emotion. They learn all these things at an early age, and it is a lot of pressure. Imagine being socialized to never show any type of emotion, to never speak when up when you’re hurt, angry, sad, scared. That is suffocating. Denzel’s performance really struck a chord with me, because it highlighted the complexities of being a father, a man, and not ever having spaces to talk about his own needs. It made me think of my own father, and how stressful it must have been for him to take care of two daughters, his wife, hold down a job, and maintain the household. Only in recent years have we been able to really talk about his own worries and fears, his own struggles. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.
- In relationships, give space for men to feel. It always makes me laugh when women complain about their partner being too ’emotional’ or too ‘soft.‘ Ya’ll are the same women who complain about dealing with men who can’t show emotions, who can’t talk about their feelings, who come off ‘cold’ or ‘distant.’ You better appreciate a man who wanna talk! Stop being complicit in men not feeling safe enough to express themselves. It’s a problem. It assists in producing angry, emotionally stunted men, and we need to be part of the solution at this point. Lord knows the world needs more loving, emotionally stable men. You know why? Because these men are gonna go on to be emotionally stable, loving FATHERS. Don’t you want your sons to be happy, conscious, loving, strong men? Let’s stop equating tears with weakness. It doesn’t make a man soft to admit that he’s feeling some type of way. It makes him emotionally mature. We are not going to solve all of these problems overnight, but we as women can start by supporting the men who are trying their hardest to be decent, and giving them spaces to feel.
- Let your man know that it’s okay for him to cry and express his emotions. Support him when he’s down, and do what you can to lift him up. We all need each other in such uncertain times. And for pete’s sake, APPRECIATE that your man is comfy enough to love you so openly, because that is not an easy thing to do.
It’s been a rocky beginning, but we gonna keep working over here. Thanks for keeping the blog alive, and rocking with me. It’s year 6, and there are big things on the horizon. Stay Tuned.