This video has been a long time coming. I first had this conversation with my friend Luisa as we were walking the streets of New York City last March. It’s resurfaced a few times over the past year, but this is the first time I formalize and diffuse it.
Now this idea isn’t my own, in fact I was first introduced to it via Glennon Doyle’s Super Soul Sunday talk, which I’ll link to here.
The concept is that each of us is made up of a sacred trinity. Call it sacred, holy, divine, whatever you wish, but the fundamentals are the same.
The Sacred Trinity is made up of Mind, Body, and Spirit, spirit sometimes referred to as soul. Each making up a side of a triangle. In Glennon’s brilliant talk she explores what that means to women. And how it contributes to the interaction between men and women. I’d like to take it a different direction and talk about what it means to men. Gay men to be more specific.
I often feel there is very little support in the gay community, sure there are lots of support groups helping those who are in the midst of discovering who they are and coming out to their families, but I find we lack support where it comes to dealing with societal expectations, stereotypes and labels. Most of which, sadly, are created within the community itself.
The fact of dealing with societal expectations is nothing new, both men and women have struggled to break down those walls for decades. Although, women more than men. Those faced by the gay community are somewhat of a hybrid between both genders, and rarely discussed. Especially in a community where men are seeking men.
Starting with the first side of the triangle, that of body. Thankfully we don’t have to look very far to know what a man should look like. Fitness magazines and social media show us exactly what our society expects men to look like. Ripped muscular physiques, Strength, large frames, rugged, something which is not easily attained except by a small percentage of people.
And so it creates expectation #1. So be sure to get yourself a gym membership, and the right supplements of course. But don’t make it into an obsession, because you still need to show that you can have a life outside of the gym. Naturally, someone who has time solely for lifting iron in front of a sweaty mirror and nothing else is hardly desirable.
And while you’re at it make sure you’re well groomed, but not too much. You’ll need to find the right balance between shaggy caveman and groomed barbie doll.
And while these may not seem bad, they cause us to start to sort ourselves into silos based on what society and the community tells us we should look like.
We begin to add labels to ourselves and each other. Labels that are degrading and dehumanizing; and we’re doing it to each other.
So for those who don’t fit into this stereotype of what a man should look like, what happens? Some accept themselves for who they are, but again that’s a rather small percentage. The rest resort to yo-yo diets, ridiculous regimes, and dangerous pills. All the while aspiring for what seems to be perpetually out of reach. Despising everyday of that relentless suffering.
And so, when we live in a constant state or turmoil or striving, eventually the body gets voted off the island, and the Sacred Trinity because somewhat of a flawed duo. And this is where a lot of women find themselves. When we can no longer relate to the physical ideals and expectations, we disown them all-together. We disown the parts of ourselves that we can’t make conform. We stop identifying with our physical bodies and subject them to neglect and punishment.
And while this is where the story often stops for women, it continues for men. Specifically within the LGBT community, but I won’t say that this is an issue that affects gay men solely. One because I don’t want to further contribute to these labels and two, because this is an issue about how we define masculinity as a whole.
Because at the top of most dating profiles for male members of the LGBT community, or nestled somewhere in the body of text, usually in capital letters are the words “MASC FOR MASC”.
For those who are unaware, that means masculine for masculine. Let’s totally side step the landmine that is, a lasting relationship requires a balance of masculine and feminine energy. Now I’m not talking about the male and female gender, but about the energy that lives within us. The ying and yang concept. The laws of polarity, that opposites attract. The fact those two energies exist within each of us, to different degrees. Those energies ebb and flow based on the task at hand, its part of our natural rhythms and survival. But I digress, as that could be a whole other video in and of itself.
But what does that actually mean about how we define masculinity? It means you need to not only look like a man, but act like one too. Which equates to bottling up those pesky emotions, even better if you can locate the switch and turn them off all together. For the record, I’ve never found the location of that mysterious switch. But this is because men are expected and taught to think, not to feel, and certainly not to share those feelings. As that would be a sign of vulnerability and weakness, which by the way aren’t the same thing. Vulnerability is an act of immense courage, how about attaching that to masculinity.
So for those of us who happen to be in touch with our emotions and spirituality, the audacity…
We need to look for the Goldy Locks of emotional sharing. Share nothing and you’re inaccessible, cold, uninterested, and even disengaged. Share too much, and you’re a wuss. Engage in activities that are considered anything but masculine, and you’re labelled as feminine. Now what activities are considered masculine, I imagine they revolve around lifting weights, drinking beer, and chopping wood.
So another side of our triangle, our sacred trinity, that of spirituality or soul, is voted off the island. Another aspect of our being that gets disowned.
And what’s left? Mind. A disabled solo of a fractioned, and wounded mind.
A place where torturous illusion and fantasies of what life should have looked like can reside.
We end up further contributing to a society filled with injured souls, stumbling from one day to the next. Struggling to make connection, and live a life that is whole.
What are we looking for?
A longing to be seen, as we truly are. For who we truly are, despite the parts of ourselves we’ve disowned in order to meet societal expectations and masculinity as we’ve come to know it.
And so I’m here to say that we will never find it. We’ll never fully step into the light, the sun shining on our faces. Whole, happy, loved, connected. Until we fully embrace all of who we are, even the puzzle pieces that society tell us don’t fit, or aren’t quite right.Until we shed the labels, and accept vulnerability and imperfection as an essential part of our being, we’ll never be whole. Click To Tweet
Until we shed the labels, and accept vulnerability and imperfection as an essential part of our being, we’ll never be whole. The trinity of mind, body and spirit will never be complete.
I’ll tell you this. All the people I’ve encountered who truly shine, the beautify of their light divine and undeniable. Are not the ones who fit perfectly into societal expectations of who they should be. Instead they are the warriors who have gathered all of their misshapen pieces, their perceived flawed parts, and jagged edges and stuck them together with the glue that is compassion and grace.
We need to strip back the constructs of what it is to be a man, and simply learn to be human. Only then can we start to heal the wounds of our society and reduce the division among us. We can heal the social pathology that has become known as masculinity.
Awakened to the ideology that none of us are perfect, but we belong here nonetheless. More than that, we belong to each other.None of us are perfect, but we belong here nonetheless. More than that, we belong to each other. Click To Tweet
And so I share this with you not only to provide support to our community, but for our fathers, brothers, and sons. That we may learn to support them, so that we may contribute to each other’s healing and break the cycle.
Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this video as well as what you’re biggest take away way was.
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Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you in the next video.
Sending you love,
Stay strong warriors.