What is Masculinity in Itself?
Trying to go beyond just the feelings of relationships or sex and really get down to the inner workings of masculinity, in a way that doesn’t rely on spirituality or biological essentialism, is a difficult undertaking.
The best way I can describe it is that when I got in touch with this part of myself, it just felt right. It felt more like the person I wanted to be. More sensitive and aware but less emotional, able to deal with adversity, truly feeling and driven. I felt more independent of other people’s judgments or concerns as though I lead myself along the right path in terms of going where I wanted to go. The things I wanted seem to come more effortlessly as I wasted less energy and was more directed.
And this isn’t to say I don’t get consumed with obsessive thinking or anxiety, because I do. But I am able to separate out the part of myself that knows the ‘right’ attitudes to have or beliefs to follow. Most of the time I make the wrong decision, I was ignoring a voice in my head that said ‘don’t do that’.
Most things starts as a pattern of unnatural behaviors or a set of concrete rules. Commandments like ‘don’t do this or that’. But the fact that these commandments resonate with you, even if they are difficult, keys into the fact it’s something you need. Eventually you find your own path and are able to sort out the good from the bad, with some trial and error.
The problem is, from the moment society gives us an ‘objective’ account of morality and value, we start to feel guilt and shame for who we are. We face circumstances and do things we think we’re supposed to. Take care of your family, be a nice person, don’t get angry, don’t say this or that, don’t act on your sex drive, or be overly sexual. It’s a mix between our skewed societal values and our strange religious hangover. The ones doomed to fail are those who listen, but the catch 22 is that those who reject these values feel ostracized. They now feel the need to play the societal outcast or rebel, just a reactionary version of the ‘good people’ everyone else are taught to be.
The real trick, in my opinion, is to rediscover yourself. Now I’ve never done psychedelics or spirit hikes. But, to the majority of men, this means rediscovering your masculinity. In a society that rejects masculinity, this means we can’t default to the reactionary oppositional masculinity that is displayed to us. We have to find our own genuine masculinity without influences of society or the media. The way we see masculine men, by society’s standards of masculinity, act in real life or on TV is a version of our reenactment of what we saw before through these same channels, it gets so bastardized in this long regression that we don’t even know what it was to begin with (see Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation).
Seemingly if we can’t get our symbols from outside, we have to look inward through deep introspection to see what is really at the core of who we are. This might be too difficult an undertaking for those who have really lost themselves through countless years of conditioning and repression.
For those who still have the ability, they can ask ‘if I had the choice, is that how I would choose to be treated?’, ‘is this how I’d choose to react?’, ‘is this really the way I want to live my life with the possibility this is my only chance and nothing will come after?’.
I am not claiming to be perfect in this respect, but over the last year I’ve undertook these kind of reflections. In situations with girls (platonically or sexually), I’ve asked myself if I’m really enjoying myself or if this really what I want. Is this something I’ve allowed myself to be imposed with by a standard other than my own?
The truth of the matter is that no one can tell you what you want, but you have the ability to find out. In order for this to work though, you shouldn’t be afraid to try and fail. To commit to something that ends up bombing. Or really understand that living a life that’s easy and a life on your own terms may be two completely different things.
Most men don’t want to be helpless, either trapped in sexless relationships or in circumstance that they can’t control. It is only those who look inward and realize they’d rather risk and fail than stay helpless who are able to control their lives.