I was raised in the “Be a man” culture. “Buck up, boy, stand up, stand up, what’re you, a woman?! Be a man!” A culture in which “Man” is The Holy Grail and “Woman” is a punchline.
I loathe it and it caused me years and years of grief and guilt and a seriously poor sense of self-worth, as well as a seriously puzzled and conflicted perception of girls and women, until I understood what “Be a man” means and why the culture is a biohazard and completely asinine.
It’s never easier; courage and fortitude in crisis, hope, acceptance, etc., are fictions. They’re all fronts, for the most part. I’m glad not to be used to it. I’m glad that it still shocks me when I look in the mirror sometimes; I’m glad I’m angry and I’m glad to be a train wreck and I’m glad to be strange and stormy and perhaps a little much. I’m glad. I’m glad to be alive. I’m glad to find being alive impossible sometimes and I’m glad that being alive is as difficult and painful as it is. This is a beautiful life. Beautiful lives are never as tidy as courage and fortitude and hope and acceptance. I don’t have much of any of those things but I have my life. And I have my gladness. I’ve decided this morning that this is how I feel.