From the East Coast to the West Coast, the definition of "Being a Man" varies depending on who you talk to. It could be you are expected to provide for your family, or perhaps stepping up in your community and helping out, perhaps it's expected for you to punch out that annoying dude in the corner who wont leave that girl alone, or maybe it's the whole "I am the lord of my manor" thing...there are many definitions as to what a "man" is but the one thing we can all agree on is that no one has the same definition. Everyone's is different.
For me? It's just being who I am and doing what I feel is right. Coming from a very feminist-strong family background (My mother, aunts, Grandmothers, and their associated friends) I was always taught that my life was about my choices, and that I could be what I wanted to be. I always assumed this had meant in terms of a career, however what they were teaching me was more far reaching and less specific than I could ever imagine.
What they really meant was that, as a person, I have a choice into who I become. That being a Man, or a person, means that I make my own decisions and carve my own expectations. I set my own rules and I live by them, and by extension I will be judged by the public at large based on those decisions. I also learned that no matter what I do, there will always be people who disagree with my choices. Even to the extent of causing me harm.
My decisions always had consequences, intended or no, and they were not just limited to things that had risks to them. Sure, I could expect consequences from things like taking drugs or breaking the law, but what about the more mundane consequences from things like taking a new job or choosing a new car? Was I prepared to deal with those?
For a brief time, I decided that because all my decisions had consequences that the best thing for me to do was to eliminate or find a way to escape consequences for the things I had done...and for a very long time I found myself very adept at such things. Why pay when you can play?
Because that's not how I want to live my life. To me, that's not being a "man". To me, that's being a thief, a coward, a liar, and a crook.
I'm certain that if I had to do "bad" things for the sake of the "good" that I could come up with a perfectly plausible and logical reason for doing them and in the process justify being a "man" in this case....but would that make me a man or just something else?
What I'm trying to get at here is that defining a "Man" is not nearly as clear cut as people make it out to be.
What are your thoughts?
"All in, Motherfucker"