I’m a man. I cry, and it feels good.

2017-02-18 16:58

Even the greatest men cry too. It’s a really strange time to be a young heterosexual male. I’ve been unlearning a lot of the childhood lessons that eventually shaped my entire sense of identity. Our brothers, fathers, uncles and friends and their brothers, fathers and uncles had an almost universal agreement of what it means to be a man. An unwritten and sacred ‘G Code’ that’s in your DNA, which you challenge at your own peril. I recently contravened The Code when I cried for a good 5 minutes on the phone with my girlfriend. It was just minutes after an Orthopaedic Surgeon told me an injury I got at gym damaged my arm so bad they’d need to operate and replace some of the bone with a metal implant. He told me to expect to not be able to carry anything heavier than a plate of food with that arm for the rest of my life. So there I was, sitting at the stairs with the phone on my ear, crying my eyes out as the odd doctor or medical student rushed up or down. According to the G Code, my reaction was way over-the-top. Sitting on the phone, crying my eyes out - ‘real’ men don’t do that… right? That’s what people thought when I told them about my reaction to the bad news. It was across the gender spectrum too, I was criticised by age-peer men and women alike. I was and continue to be the subject of a lot of banter, and I’m totally okay with that. What I think we shouldn’t be okay with as young men and women is perpetuating the idea that ‘real’ men aren’t supposed to get visibly distraught by trauma. The cycle of toxic and problematic masculinity should end with our generation. It should be perfectly fine to be a cry-baby - even when you’re no longer a baby. Crying helps us heal, it gives us psychological relief. It only becomes feminine or childish if we choose to make it so. No one understands the fight for the right to self-expression than today’s youth, in my opinion. It should be us that continue challenging gender norms and re-shaping our identities and changing harmful gender dynamics. If ‘real’ men don’t cry - well - fuck your manhood, fam.

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