Monday, April 4, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Real Men Really Cry

Dear Tomorrow,

Yesterday, I saw a five leaf or rose clover carefully preserved to remind us of its rarity. I have been thinking about the image of the clover and what it means to me. I read a little more about it and its genetic variation and why it is as rare as it is. It reminded me of something else that is rare and though real, hard to find...

Real men who aren't afraid to be real. Men, after all is said and done, are human. Somewhere between boyhood and mantown - that underlying humanity fades. It becomes less than human to something that is willing to hurt fellow humans. I've met men who have been fed messages of hypermasculinity that feed their fragile sense of self. I've known men who wear their hearts on their sleeve, but only when no one's watching. I've seen men who kill every bit of boy left in them to be a version of a man that is suffocating in oppression. I've forgiven men who have hurt me and justified beating the humanity out of them and me. I've loved men who have the strength to be who they want to be and have a sense of their humanity to not destroy someone else's. It takes a whole lot to create a world where people of all genders can be who they want to. Like this piece of writing, I think it's critical to teach boys and men to be emotionally true to themselves. Maybe, just maybe...

Little boys need to hear
no means no

she never asks for it

boys can be boys, girls, rainbows, unicorns, ninjas, ballerinas, boats, lampshades, giraffes,
but they cannot be disrespectful

you are beautiful 

you have the right to comfortable clothing

don't believe oppressive misogynist messages

don't forget how a hug feels


cry, when you need to 

smile, when you want to 

carry a handkerchief - it's good for the earth and for your tears

carry a handkerchief - everyone gets a sniffly nose

unpack your male privilege

Just as little girls need to hear
he needs to know that no means no

you never ask for it

you can be anything you want, but you cannot be disrespectful

you are beautiful, and so much more

you have the right to comfortable clothing (that is not just pink)

it's not what you wear

don't believe oppressive misogynist messages 

you don't have to cry if you don't want to

carry a handkerchief - offer it to a boy when he's crying

leave your heart and story open for male allies

What little boys do not need to hear, say, see modeled...

Man up.
shove those tears down
deep into the hole in your heart
that will calcify and slowly die with 
your fragile masculinity 

Grow a pair.
grab your courage even when your heart breaks
even when your bones collapse under the weight
of every expectation you can't meet
of every message of hypermasculinity

Don't be a girl.
think with your head not your lips
use that mighty prefrontal cortex
set aside that urge to cry
to know when its time to unveil your made up masculinity

अपनी बन्दी को सम्भाल...take charge of your girl.
squeeze her till she can't tell between
I love you
I am going to control you
you're at stake
your masculinity trembles with a balance so fine
you better get her to shape up
before she steps out of line

never weaken, never flinch, never shudder
even when you lose everything
pick up a gun
shed those layers
till you find your inner monster
let your masculinity shine

Don't cry.
every tear you shed will wrinkle 
your crisp reputation
your new convertible you ride
your crib you use to invite
girls to your fantasy
where you have it all
you have no questions to answer
no responsibility at all

Show her who wears the pants.
be the boss
of her 
of you, your broken masculinity
show in showy ways that you have your prize
your trophy in a cracked glass shelf
leaving nothing behind but a trail of your 
hardened heart
and dying self

Tomorrow, whatever you are and choose to be - I hope you will find the courage and surround yourself with those who empower you to be who you want to be. Dan and I are constantly practicing, failing, stumbling, and working hard to be the best versions of ourselves. I wish the world were a transformed place that had no hint of oppression and people could just be. I can't promise the world will all be different when you arrive, but I can assure you that I will work hard each day to build a world with you where you can be really real. Whether you are and chose to be a man, woman, rainbow, unicorn, lampshade, giraffe, or an umbrella. Be you, be real. 



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