Happiness is being a man

Happiness is being a man

happiness, appalachian trailAlmost all the ideas we have about being a man or being a woman are so burdened with pain, anxiety, fear and self-doubt. For many of us, the confusion around this question is excruciating. ~ Andrew Cohen

I was thinking about this post today as I drove in to the rehab facility my mother is now staying in. Partly it was stirred up by being back home where I grew up, partly by observing my 10 year old nephew trying to figure this all out.

One of the things that hit me was that I’m actually happy I didn’t grow up with a strong male influence in my life. My parents divorced early in my life and my father wasn’t around much and when he was I was pretty angry with him. Basically, I was raised by women and therefore didn’t necessarily have the typical American male training or expectations. For me, I think this was very much my saving grace.

In looking around my world at that time, most of the men in my life fit the typical male stereotype we see on television. Perhaps the ultimate example is every character ever played by Patrick Warburton, the typical sports watching, poor communicating, out of touch with his feelings lovable lunk who is clueless about so much. I think it’s sad in this country that we portray men this way, mostly because it sets that character type as an expectation level for young men. We tend to live up to our expectations and if that’s what young men think a man is expected to be, well, there you go.

It would have been easy for me to have been trained to be the stereotypical testosterone driven idiot. I love sports, I’m a raging heterosexual and had I had enough reinforcement down that road, who knows. However, growing up around a group of women that was not a possibility. Because of this I had to develop my own definition of what a man is, built off of the expectations of my friends, society and possibly most importantly from the perceptions of the women in my life about other men.

In many ways I fit much of the archetypical “man’s man”, I grew up hunting and fishing, playing sports, chasing women. I’m certainly a risk taker and have traveled to the Amazon, Mount Everest, although never really an adrenaline junky I’ve performed my fair share of stupid and not so stupid adrenaline jacking stunts. However, I’m also an avid reader, a lover of Shakespeare and theater, a poet, someone who loves to cook and sit around and talk for days.

There are two things at play here, one is that we all need to be solid individuals, good human beings, in that conversation gender is irrelevant. But I’m happy I’m a man, that first and foremost has to be defined as being a good human being and I believe being honest, forthright, dependable, strong and fair helps make me be that. Not that characteristics are ever enough, it’s the utilization of character into action that truly matters and I stand behind my actions in life.

But there are differences in our genders, I think biologically males are more visual, more aggressive, we are typically physically stronger and therefor tend more toward physicality. There are many expectations in our society of gender that I think are nonsense, leadership and management ability, science and math aptitude, body image issues, and even making the first move are things that shouldn’t be related to gender and honestly I don’t’ think they are. More so I believe we as a society we build certain beliefs both consciously and unconsciously into our children with our expectations of how they should act based on their gender and at times that does more harm than good.

My happiness with being a man is in the acceptance of all of the characteristics that make me both a good person and a man. From the most biologically focused, including the 6 inch beard I’m sporting, to the physical strength I possess to the least biological. I revel in the fact that I love sports and because I like responsibility I enjoy the fact that people more easily turn to me for guidance and leadership, however gender irrelevant that should be, it isn’t at this time in our society. What this comes down to in the end is being happy with who you are and I am happy with myself. So although I’m happy to be a man, I hope you are equally as happy to be a woman.

It would be impossible to write this piece without also thinking about several people I know including a very close friend who is transgender. Given how gender focused our society is, it must be incredibly hard to transition from being identified as one gender to the other. However, I believe my thoughts ring true for them as well, what’s important is that first you be a good person, second be happy with who you are wherever you in the process of transition. I think it’s also important that as those who support them, we be happy for them wherever they are in the process as society is often far from supportive or kind. Hell, we should all be happy for anyone wherever they are in their lives. I can absolutely say that my good friend is a great person, someone I look up to, someone who has always been a good person and I’m happy for him where he is in his life.

So tonight friends, take a few minutes to be happy for who and what you are, if you’re not, start the change now, even if it’s hard because time is absolutely running out. Remember, this is the Ministry of Happiness and the Church of Abnormal Acceptance. We love you no matter who you are, where you are at on your path and we will always support you and help you have a happy day my friend. ~ Rev Kane

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
This entry was posted in personal happiness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happiness is being a man

  1. Karen Ann Cordato Brott Treff. says:

    This is just what I needed to read right now. Thank you.

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