I realize now that the primary reason for my being a writer is because I am insecure. I grew up believing that my voice was insignificant so I almost always refrained from using it. I developed a disdain for giving any kind of speech or public presentation. I never ran for student government, or participated in the traffic squad, or performed at the Martin Luther King oratory contest as a child. It was so bad that even when I heard my voice being played back on someone’s answering machine it made me cringe. In essence I hated my voice but I felt like I had something to say. So I wrote stories, and poems, and plays. I always kept a journal and I always read books to study the masters of my craft. This helped me in the sense that I found my passion but it hurt me in the sense that I have grown to be completely nonverbal when it comes to my emotional state which has fallen right in line with my ideas of masculinity, however, this had led to a series of highly dysfunctional personal relationships.
It’s almost impossible for me to say to a person that has pissed me off: “When you did that it hurt my feelings.” This kind of exchange is so lame to me for so many different reasons. This is why I grew up writing, playing football, and cracking jokes about everything. It was an unconscious attempt to never have to express my emotions to another human being. And this is for two major reasons 1.) I didn’t think anyone would care 2.) I, like most young men, never wanted to be considered weak. I was bred to believe that only women or very effeminate men allow their feelings to be hurt. At some point I came to internalize the notion that if I suppressed my emotions well enough then they would go away and this erasure of emotions would be symbolic of my achieving manhood.
I was wrong.
Real men die alone. Real men cheat on their wives. Real men get divorced. Real men kill other men. Real men go to prison. Real men lose their minds because they cannot verbalize their real pain. I don’t want anything to do with any of that. So I have been engaging in a social experiment as of late in which I have been doing more speaking than writing in regards to my feelings. A crazy thing happened to me a few weeks ago. A friend of mine did something that bothered me and instead of “unfriending” her as if I was on Facebook I told her what she did bothered me and to please don’t do it again and that shit worked. It was very shocking. Not only did she care that she hurt my feelings but after the incident I didn’t feel weak at all. I actually felt very strong. For one of the first times in my life I felt like my voice mattered. It was kind of addicting.
I still plan to write but I no longer want to completely rely on my writing as my only mode of expression. I want to use my voice to express my innermost trauma and insecurity. Because I don’t just want to be a man I want to be a healthy man that confronts his issues and can express his love and will not die alone.