Monday, March 31, 2008

Protect the heart worn on my sleeve

I had a friend of mine who has been perusing the archives of this very blog tell me yesterday that the entries from the beginning of this blog read very differently than the ones that I post now. This is certainly not news to me, for I was just thinking the other day about how much this blog has morphed from one thing to another. I also would hope and pray that I am not the same person that I was when I started this blog. Otherwise, what the hell were the last 4 and half years for? Running in place? Treading water?

I'll admit though, that my curiosity was piqued. What exactly reads differently? How have I changed? I mean, intellectually I know that I have changed dramatically even in the time that we have been in Ames. But for me, it is sometimes hard to see, much like you don't notice how much your child is growing when you're around them every day. Usually, that kind of thing is much more obvious to someone who sees them once a month or a few times a year.

I've talked a lot about bravery in the last year or so. I try very hard to live my life as bravely as possible, which for me means living it as authentically as possible. I don't think there has ever been a time in my life that I have been more authentically me than now. And that having been said, I still think I have a long way to go. I'm not an idiot, I know that not every situation in life is going to allow complete and unadulterated authenticity. There are times you have to put on the mask. Fortunately for me, I am a Gemini and I'm VERY good at that. The trick is learning that the mask not really false. It is also a part of who you are, and learning the healthy balance between the two is essential. Light and dark, good and bad, yin and yang. They are both real and both need care and attention.

I think authenticity is a tough nut for people in general, but for men in particular. We are not socialized to be who we are. And as one that has never been what one would consider a typical example of American masculinity, the authenticity part is even tougher. I don't pretend to have a corner on that market for I know a lot of other men for whom that description would be pretty apt as well. And it's funny, even amongst those guys, we can only find a limited comfort for after all, we are still guys. We are not socialized to let down our guards, especially around each other. This is really too bad because we can also learn a lot from each other. In the places where that kind of thing happens with considerable frequency, it's usually something like Promise Keepers which is completely over the top and extreme. Surely there's a happy medium between the bat shit craziness of Promise Keeper-ish type interaction and the bat shit craziness of the stoicism exhibited by the last few generations of men, for certainly neither of those scenarios appeals much to me.

I've experienced that happy medium on more than one occasion so I know it exists. My goal is to everyday be an example of what I wish masculinity were more like. It is not easy. It never will be, but if I don't do it, who will?

In the meantime, I will continue, as does the incomparable Deborah Harry, to look on the brite side (spelling intentional.) I love this song. It's in my top 3 favorite Deborah Harry solo songs. For those who only know her through her Blondie work, please watch and listen to this. It's beautiful. She has kind of bad hair in the video though, I will admit.

1 comment:

genkiboy said...

what do you find "over the top" and "extreme" about the promise keepers? that's not my scene, either, but i'm curious about your reaction to them.