Like rain my tears fall upon letters and my moist fingers construct wisdom from a soggy land.
In my mind fruit is born from this land and flows upon this page. The beginning is simple. The end is not.
I am a Man and today I weep.
I weep for myself and the obstacles I can not overcome. I cry from my pain and weep for my pride. I struggle with a body in pain that will not obey my mind and a mind that is clouded by this struggle and the medications that try to aid it. Yet a broken body and broken mind still can see the truth. Even while they heal I can see fear in the world. Even in my weakened state I still see this fear. Fear of me. Fear of my sex. Fear of Men.
Fear. This causes the most damage in the world. Fear of what will happen when you tell the truth leads to a lie. Fear of the unknown can lead to harsh decisions and judgments that are often made in error. As a man I see it directed towards me and it sickens me. It angers me, and it makes me cry. I can see in others eyes fear, and it is not fear of the unknown. It is not fear that I have caught them in a lie. It is not the disdain I receive from others due to my cane. Nor the pity I have seen in furtive glances at my leg braces. It is not even close to the looks I have received when hobbling quickly to catch a bus, with my hair standing up from the wind. That is a startled look with a touch of fear towards a crazy man. This is different. It is a distinct flavor of fear I have seen before. It leaves a metallic taste in my mouth and sadness in my heart. My chest tightens and my stomach cramps. They have been taught that I am going to hurt them. They have been hurt by, and now fear, men. They fear me. A simple sideways step and look at my face can give it away. Those whose eyes never fall to my cane or body. They see my face and know I am a man. Then I see fear well up behind their eyes. Most keep it hidden well. I see them steel themselves and close up. But, behind those brightly painted shutters, those false eyes, lies the truth. Fear. And, most of the time someone put it there. And, I am pissed about it.
As a man it is my place is to teach, nurture, respect, and guard.
And so, I cry for the women who fear me just because I am a man. I weep for the children who expect a kick from me. I have tears for even the other men who have the mark, the subtle tell, that they too have been abused. I cry for those who have been hurt deeply and may never be able to see past my sex. I am weary of a world where I am expected to be aggressive just because of my gender. Seeing fear in someones eyes directed at me just cuts me to my core. I shed tears for those who have been so hurt by men that I can never reach out to comfort them. I will never be able to try and help them. It will only raise their fear and cause more pain. I know that role will be filled by someone else. Yet, I somehow feel responsible for this hurt they have received. How many times in the past did I not stop something I knew was wrong? How many times when I was younger did I feed into this cycle without knowing any better? As one who grew up in a culture of violence I did not know any better. I do now. I make no excuses for my youth and work to make amends. I have learned from my past. Still, I cry for the things I have done in my youth. For the pain I caused others.
Fear creeps into the world from many places. I am not so narrow in my focus to think all of the worlds ills are due to men. Yet the "Might makes right" still seems to prevail too often from where I stand. That is true stem of this problem. The abuse I see is not only in interpersonal relations it is in government, it is in corporations, it is an attempt at control. All of it creates fear. I really do know that not all of this is due to men, and not all of it from these circumstances. Here I am I am speaking specifically about fear towards men. I have personally seen the dynamic switched, where my friends wife beat the crap out of him for years. I never knew. I found out only after his divorce years later, and only from a third party.
So, fear is still there, and a large amount of it is caused by men. As a true man I am Angry at these so called men who use violence to bolster their own sense of self. Those who control others through fear are wrong. Men who beat others, who intimidate and manipulate others, who encourage the perpetuation of this behavior are not truly men. They are children in a grown mans body playing at being a man. They do not understand responsibility, love, or respect. They fail to grasp that true control comes only from within. Self control is the only control you have. You never have control of the world around you. For them I weep just as much as I do for their victims. I cry out in frustration when I see others give up their own power to these men. I know that there are situations where it is very difficult, and may seem impossible to get out. Do not let this continue. Eventually there will be a way. Do not let them continue. By staying you teach them that it is okay, and then you believe it is okay. It is not. I weep for the system that often blames the victim for the crime and refuses to step in and help. Abuse and domestic violence should never be tolerated. Everyone should remember that you are not powerless, you have only given your power away. Take it back. Please.
As a man I am a healer, guide, leader and follower. I respect all who I encounter in my life. They rise or fall by their own actions. I speak out, I teach, I try to get others to understand. But, I tire of the ears that do not hear, and the eyes that will not see. I am a man and I persevere, struggle on, and I weep for those that can not see or hear the truth. So I ask other men, Why do you allow this to continue? Why feed into this fear? You have a responsibility. Call someone out when they act a fool. If you feel uncomfortable when they do something stupid then you know it is wrong. Stop them, teach them, and if they refuse then leave them. I will not be friends or acquaintances with people who perpetuate fear. Humiliation = Fear. Intimidation = Fear. Bullying = Fear. And, Fear = Control. Ask yourself if you would want these men around your children, Wife, Husband, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Mother, Father, Sister, or Brother. Do you want someone trying to control you, your family, or friends through fear? Do you want them to fear men? Maybe fear you? Think about it...
Every day I think about my actions and how they will effect those around me. I am respectful and kind. And yet I struggle at times to see the true person behind the masks that we all wear. I push aside my disdain for the flashy and coiffed person whose watch costs more than my rent. I ground my resentment at the lady who is wearing jewelry that could likely pay off my student loans. They are people who make their own choices in life and are worthy of my respect even if they choose not to notice me at all. Even these who can live beyond my means carry the pain of abuse. I wish them no ill for their hard work or difference of lifestyles. I have seen marks and tells upon them as well. I have seen them on people from all walks of life. Some more than others. I work to show the world what a kind and gentle man who is still strong without violence looks like. I cry for those that are hurt simply for the lives they choose to live. The brave souls who are born into bodies ill suited for them, be it there gender, sex, physical disability, or mental disability. I weep for those who have been ill treated by life through no fault of their own, or even if by their own choices, the drug addicts, those lamed or injured through life, those malnourished and hungry, those without basic education or skills. There are tears for those who are simply seen differently and misunderstood, whether by skin color, accent, religious belief, gender, sex, orientation, by any label placed upon them. I do not try to be politically correct beyond what I can be. I do not always have the words. I am a simple man who speaks only with the words that I do have that come from my heart. I do not call out labels above to place them in boxes, rather to free them. The labels should not matter. All are people and all are sacred. Some day the world will understand this. That is my goal and hope. I work with two groups towards this goal. One I lend my energy and thoughts to an the other I am a member of. I am a founding member of The Fathers of Change and we work closely with The Mothers of the New Time. We attempt to change the world for the better through our hearts and mind. I encourage all who feel as I do to look into these movements.
My tears soak my shirt and seep into my skin. My tears, the expression of my soul, support me as I falter. They cradle me and hold me. I sit and they sooth me. Eventually they slow and the warm salty taste on my lips reminds me of the ocean and I feel refreshed . My salty shirt clings to my chest and I feel supported and uplifted. I am a man and I will cry. I will weep, and I will sob. Then I will stand back up and go out into the world and fight for the things I believe in. I have no shame from this. It gives me strength. It gives me focus. It gives me drive. I am a man, I am also a person, and a human being. I have sisters and brothers out there who need to have a safe space, who need to learn what it means to be safe, and who need to accept that they can be safe with themselves and with others. Only then will they truly be able to cry without shame. They will then learn the strength that can come from tears.