I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the most pleasant of posts. There’s a lot on my mind, I’ve had a significant amount of coffee, and all of my little buttons (patience, mainly) have been recently smashed in. This is not to say that I’m aggravated, by any means. It simply means this is a rare opportunity where I can express myself in a free manner to discuss semi-difficult topics.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking on what it means to be a man. I discovered there’s a very simple difference between being a man and being masculine. To be a man, you simply need a penis. Preferably, one that was attached to you upon your entrance into this world. Being masculine, my friend, is quite a different story. At first glance, it’s very easy to impersonate the character traits of one that is masculine; we are [un]fortunate enough to live in a world that values the external characteristics of manhood, commonly thinking they are the foundational elements of being a man. Talking to my friend, we discussed the ‘dream life’ of these external characteristics. For the easily offended, I’ll spare some of the details. Needless to say, it involved money, power, sex, and vehicular horsepower. Immediately, we discussed the fact that these are simply external traits that any man can execute on a regular basis, while altogether missing out on maintaining true traits of masculinity.
For the curious mind, there have been several elements that have forced my mind to wander into this territory. First, I have been reevaluating my own life and approach to masculinity. Approaching college graduation, pondering what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, debating living in Ohio, and wondering what G-d has in store for me is particularly difficult not having an earthly father to bounce these ideas off of. In a phone conversation with my mother, we discussed my upcoming graduation and she stated “Now, Aaron, I’m just throwing this out there….but I won’t be at home much this year and will have the kids with me. If you wanted to move back in…” I cut her short. “No, Mom. That’s not an option.” I firmly stated. Men do not need to be neutered.
See, there’s this problem that I have personally experienced, which I do not believe is uncommon to other men-in-development (MID). It has not happened recently, but I’ve heard similarly-disarming statements from my mother before: “Aaron, you’ll always be my baby bear” which was a common nickname she gave me as a young boy. While she does not mean any intentional harm, she must realize that her son is not meant to be kept in this state of development. Rather, she ought to cheer on my growing up, entrance into adulthood, and my development into a grown man.
This has been something I’ve put a lot of thought into, as I’ve realized the many situations that have kept me in some stage of under-development. We often refer to the mentally handicapped as “developmentally disabled” but I have a feeling there are countless men in our society who are severely developmentally disabled, whilst being perfectly healthy in their mental status.
In light of the charming exterior, there is a very deep part of me that resents almost everything about my persona. It’s not hard for me to elicit compliments outlining my determination and drive. However, within my spirit, I long do make something more of the life I’ve been given. What that is, I’m not sure. When it comes to being a man, I think of all of the things that I am not. And I begin to hate the image I portray to others. I feel like a traitor to the spirit of masculinity that I so frequently promote. I’ll explain this much later, if I do.
Pondering graduation, I begin to question just what it is that I’m to do in this life. While speaking with my good friend, Travis, we discussed the inherent desire for men to live dangerously. In my heart, I know what this looks like. However, I fear most that I will not ever be able to live out these inner ambitions. Cold sweat, man. It’s like walking on very thin ice as you walk towards a goal you’ve spent your entire life pursuing. Upon reaching it — or where it ought to be — you realize it has not happened, and wish the ice beneath your feet would finally give way.
I’m afraid this hasn’t been a very nice blog to write. There’s a lot going through my mind right now.
My spirit is not at rest/peace. I have more questions than I have answers for. My ambition seems unlikely to be satisfied. And I am sick of living a life that resembles the antithesis of what it means to be a real man. Grow up, Plaat.
No excuses – Just results.