The Definition of "Manly."
Masculinity. What a bitch.
This is one that I've always grappled with. I've always felt more sensitive than most men.That I cared more. That I was too soft. That I didn't have the same drive. The same machismo.
I associated this as a bad thing. That I was less than. That I was different.
Well, I was. But, maybe not.
Truth is, men really haven't been encouraged to feel. It's not like they chose this, it was bred into them. Society. History. Family. Friends.
But we all have the feelings.
It comes down to definitions. They're subconscious. Engrained. Woven into the fabric. Working behind the scenes. Pulling the strings.
For me, job title, money, hierarchy, was important. But it hurt. It was how I defined myself. And if I didn't have those things, I was not a man. I "wanted them" but I never could achieve it. Always striving. Never happy. Couldn't quite reach.
When I used to drink, one of the main reasons I liked drinking with men was because they would let their guard down. I could let mine down. I remember crying with men. Opening to men. Caring for men. A piece of me was validated by seeing that these guys felt the same way I did. Thank God! And we were drunk, so why the hell not. Ah but the next day, we would brush it all under the table. Never happened. Didn't exist. And it killed me. That's why I stopped drinking.
I had to finally admit I wanted real connection. That was hard. It still is hard.
And all the men out there that struggle with this. Sensitivity, vulnerability, feelings, whatever it is that you shame or guilt or hide, I get it.
Back in hunter gather times, if these traits were shown, we would be killed. Ex-communicated. No tribe. The fears still exist. Big time.
To be honest, to feel what you feel and to be who you are meant to be, is the most manly thing in the world.
It has taken me a long, long, long time to define what "man" means to me. The definition isn't so important as what it means to ME. No one else.
Once you find your definition, it will be a massive weight of proving, projecting, hiding, and fear that will be uplifted off of you. And maybe the definition…is no definition.
Trust me, it's a work in progress. One I know only too well. But there ain't nothing like it.
And that's manly.