I touch on my successes, my struggles and my failures and I draw a thread through it of shifts that have taken place. The story is important to this blog because it shows how I dealt with life, as a man.
I was asked in a comment on it,
As a woman it is interesting to see you engaging with your male-ness and what it means to be a man, I would love to know more about this—how much of your struggle is just being human and how much do you ascribe to your particular gender issues? fascinating…
I found that fascinating as well, it’s a question that I have not addressed on this site.
I address the fact that I am a man and look at my life and experiences from my male perspective, my male story.I cannot separate myself as a person from myself as a man. It is the core of who I am, it is what drives me.
Inherent in the question from the commenter was an issue about gender, ‘how much do you ascribe to your particular gender issues?’ The answer to that is infinitely more complex and more subtle.
Much of my struggle I would ascribe to my gender. The way I dealt with being a husband and father were driven by cultural pressures, I encountered, on these roles. I changed who I was to fit the norms that the society I lived in created. These were norms of traditional family life as well as norms created by the need to be a New Man. I worked to create success in my business life, to achieve in the way men are expected to achieve.
This period, during which I tried to conform, ended in a number of failures. Only when I shifted back to the real me did I find the freedom to be a man on my terms, not on society’s terms. I became me as a human being and as a man.
There is a difference between talking about gender issues and talking about the issues of an individual being a man.
The former deals with political ideas and the latter deals with personal issues. I deal with the latter.
I read a recent comment on another blog,
I think I am guilty of a lot of the negative beliefs that prevent us from living rather than existing. Trying to fit in and seeking approval from others instead of figuring out what I really want and taking responsibility to go after it.
I am however aware of a lot of these bad habits, I just hope that I can find a way to move past them. I suppose it just means having the courage to honestly confront your old way of thinking and having the perseverence to move on and learn from negative experiences.
That was a man talking but it could easily be a woman. My experience as a man enables me to help this man address these issues for him better than I could for a woman. I have a greater understanding of what he is going through. His problem is one that many men experience but is not a ‘male gender’ issue.
Being a man is about ‘having the courage’, not so much in the traditional sense used in wartime, but in the ability to expose yourself and feel the certainty of your self-knowledge.