The masks we wear is truly remarkable. Fake tough guys exuding false bravado. Players padding their kill counts without a care to who they destroy. Homosexuals fearing persecution for feeling a certain type of way, sometimes berating others for the same thing that they secretly enjoy.
This world is fucked, where I, a heterosexual male can’t tell my friend I love him and hug him without feeling less of a man. Mind you, I’m wiser and confident, these issues don’t plague me like they once did. I can remember as an adolescent portraying myself as Tupac Shakur, my favourite artist, with Blood fatigues and sagging jeans. The one problem was… I wasn’t him. Our life trials were diametrically different.
Pac, a poor inner city kid with a single, outspoken, strong mother who was a prominent member of the black panther party.
Me, a middle class child with a nuclear family and loving parents who carefully moulded me into a compassionate human.
Our tracts are clearly different. My thought process at the time was,
My thinking was all flawed which bleeds into another much deeper issue, which I’ll completely gloss over now. My views on being black didn’t include academic excellence, a curious mind and an open heart. Those are traits I had to hone.
Now I look at the young men around me and wonder, who’s teaching them these traits. Whose developing their minds to think freely and speak without fear of sounding stupid? There’s a lot of insufficient daddy-ing going on in these streets and in some cases, ghost dads, and I’m not talking about Bill Cosby.
I look at my two nephews now, one a baby, the other an adolescent and fear who they’ll become. They don’t have the piece of mind or maturity to delve into an isolation tank and be alone with their thoughts. Will they unabashedly and openly love a woman with all their heart?
As their big uncle I try my best to instill this in them, what it means to feel and be compassionate. Kissing them on their foreheads and exclaiming how much I love them and am proud of them. These are things I received at a young age, but could have stood to hear more.
The shit scares me, cause I see a lot of knuckleheads out here talking about how much they lift, drink and how many women they fuck. They aren’t saying, I feel healthier because I exercised my body. I had a great conversation with friends over a bottle of wine or a case of beers or I went on a date and stimulated this woman’s mind.
These things are looked upon as gay, and being called that seems to invoke this sense of despair. Like, “oh, I don’t want to be gay. I gotta show how manly I am”.
My friend died, not just any friend, a close, personal friend. A guy who I could count on for the rest of my life. He died in September 2009. Its been 8 years and I still ponder if he knew how important he was and is in my life. I didn’t have the self courage I enjoy now to express my feelings to him because it wasn’t masculine. I miss him everyday. That was a great failure, but the triumph is in what I learned from that experience.
I cried as the best man at my best friend’s wedding with no fear of what people thought. My other brotha just got engaged and I feel so much joy. These are people I grew up with, on the same street, the same public and high school and as adults I worked with both of them. I feel no shame and neither should any kid, teenager or man out there.
You are who you are and it’s to be respected. Don’t feign to indoctrinate yourself to others. Be a human. A compassionate, loving human who thinks of others.