Tag Archives: masculinity

Today’s Word is… FORGIVE

 

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Adulting trash, B. Ain’t nobody ask to be grown with bills, in the working class no less. The working class?!? You know how damn brilliant I am?!?  I need to see a manager, someone get a sorting hat, reset the game.  I have to get up go to a job where I’m well aware that I’m underpaid just so I can pay other people for survival essentials like food, shelter, and Netflix.  It’s something you can’t possibly understand until you get *there*, especially not as a child. To work all day, come all the way home and the chicken isn’t thawed. To spend your hard earned money on clothes they gonna tear up playing. To pay for them to explore passions and interests and having to be just as supportive when they  end up quitting. Failing a marriage and feeling like they resent you for it. (okay, maybe I don’t want kids, not without like a 100% pay increase, or a wife that makes way more than me.  I’m walking in the spirit of a Stedman.)

So on my birthday last month, I took a vacation. My father called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and we chopped it up for a bit.  He reminisced about where he was when he was my age; Married, working 2 jobs and they just had me even after wanting to stop at 3. (he did have 3 more kids after, and I mean…yikes.). Now that the youngest is grown and he’s nearing retirement he’s finally at a place where he can live his best life and even better he’s happy to see that I am.  After that talk, I decided to go visit.  He usually flies up to see his grandkids but we rarely bother to go see him, especially me. Our dynamic has always been a little strained.  Still a little strained, really.  Not much unlike him and my grandfather.  Even while you “get it” as an adult, you still become indifferent.  Forgiving parents isn’t easy, but sometimes necessary.  They affect our entire lives even subconsciously, the adults we become.  Me and my father are a lot alike; intuitive, reticent, stubborn.   It’s perhaps why we butt heads so much as adults.  We both recognize there’s…something wrong here, while also feeling like it’s the others’ to fix.  He’s not getting any younger, I’m not the one who broke it and so, stalemate.

As I approach the steep hill that is my 30s, part of me worries I’ll be him.  From our eerily similar decor choices, to my approach in relationships.  He’s a lot more expressive and open in his later years but that wasn’t the man I grew up knowing.  His love was assumed, shown through a roof over my head and Jordans every first day of school.  I was too young to really remember my parents in love, but with my step mother it always felt like, service.  They were together for 10 years because they were together for 10 years, in hindsight it mirrored my longest relationship.  We been together this long, why not see this through.  More recently, I had someone I’m with ask me that if a complete stranger was watching us right now, would they think we were in love?  I couldn’t answer.   I did love her, but clearly I sucked at showing it.  It wasn’t being expressed, it was assumed. Damn, I am him.  He lived through the civil rights movement, the military and having a whole ass family in the Reaganomics era, I can’t possibly be this way already.  I won’t allow myself to be.

Maybe, it starts with forgiving in the first place.  That’s a journey in itself that I’m still working on.  Without going too deep, there’s a lot about my childhood that I’m still processing but as an adult I at least find myself at a place where I see and empathize with him as a man; imperfect but steadily trying to grow as he prepares to embark on the next phase of his life as just as I’m trying to do with mine.    I usually try to end posts with a pretty little bow but there isn’t one, at least not yet.  All I can do in the interim, is work on improving our relationship and myself to become a more open, vulnerable man that believes in accent colors.  Oh, and no babies til like, 33?  35?  40?  Yeah, maybe 40.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… SELFOFSTEAM

There’s no bigger ego stroke than someone falling in love with you.  For that someone that you was once just a stranger, a casual acquaintance, a classmate and now you’re everything.  We all have varying values on sex, some can’t sleep with someone they don’t love while others will swipe right get their itch scratched and maybe reminisce about it on a random cold evening.  In either regard, having someone fall for you is the true conquest.  Hell, just having someone is still viewed as the ultimate validation.  While it’s more commonly used to shame women, in reality it’s moreso men who truly get their #selfofsteam and confidence from their romantic relationships.  We’re the pursuers after all, a woman is as single as her options while a man is as single as his efforts.  Men aren’t above getting their Chante Moore on, especially with a bad one.
What about the man without that validation?  No one wants to be the old head at the club or the 40 year old bachelor on tinder who has never been in love before and now your date’s friends are wondering what’s wrong with you. (Basically, gotta have experience, but can’t have baggage. Dating is stupid.)  Toxic as it may be, we still equate manhood with our appeal to women, and if you don’t have no sauce you’re lost (Gucci Mane, 2013). 

 So naturally, there was a time where that was where I got all my confidence from.  Didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me; she thinks I’m funny, she thinks I’m fly, she loves me.  Then one day, she didn’t.  It left a void in my self worth.  Was I not those things anymore?  But reflection and growth took too long so, I just found another woman who did.  I could start over, charm, court, woo…be everything she was looking for and in return I would get validation.  I found someone, so clearly it’s not me it’s her.  Then when that flamed out, oh look there’s another.  I could keep going hunting and hunting, never really learning from my flame outs because they’ll always another woman who’s waiting for someone like me.  Except, I wasn’t even someone like me anymore.

The relationships themselves were burning out quicker each time.  The cure had become the disease, now I was tripping over every fall out with women, even the ones I wasn’t even sure I liked.  I just liked being Prince Charming. Meanwhile, she couldn’t even tell me what my favorite color was.  I couldn’t tell you what I liked most about them. My dating life had gotten aimless, I just got into relationships because that was the right thing to do and it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted.  I had become lost in the sauce, just as Gucci warned.

It was a year ago today actually, I found myself listening to Views, rolling my eyes at Aubrey’s arrogrant attempts at affliction (alliteration ftw) and coming to the realization of….wait, that’s me.  Was my ego out of control, or was it always just low self esteem? I went with the former, because why would I cop to low self esteem?  The issue was I was just picking the wrong ones…purposely. Yeah, that was it.  Now I had Tequila, someone who I knew I wanted from the moment I saw her.  Failed spectacularly.   She said I couldn’t love her because I didn’t love myself.  I pffffffft’d.  I moved on and she’s…well. (there was gonna be a parting shot here but I’ma rise above).  

I’m my best me when I have someone, when I’m happy…as most men are.  The love and support of a good woman is the ultimate glo up.  How else are you going to learn to use real garlic instead of garlic salt, invest in quality bedoing and stop hanging up posters with scotch tape. Some are happier with a plethora of women sweating them whilst remaining single and then you know, sup Carmelo.  Seldom is it just a nut, it’s affairs, situationships, strings attached maybe it’s all just a result of low self esteem and unable to be content with I got mine and I’m good.  Contrary to popular belief we aren’t just dogs with no impulse control, we are self aware adults who just long to be validated. Over and over again.   Or something.  Shrug life.

-Stan-

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