A Letter to Toxic Masculinity
Dear Toxic Masculinity,
I see you in the breath between the words of the men I work with. Their identity hung by your clothes pegs. I see it in the way they challenge me, move away from me, guard themselves from me when I ask them how they feel. When I ask them to explore their sadness, their anger, their hurt.
I see it in the lines of their histories. Convictions built on beliefs you have installed in them, crimes that showcase your values. I see it in the way they justify their actions. Their words protecting you, guarding you, building you up.
I see you in their relationships; with other men, with the enemy, with their loved ones.
I see you; one piece of the puzzle that makes this man sitting in front of me. I see what you have done.
And I see you crumble.
When these men let themselves cry in front of me. When they challenge their beliefs you have so desperately tried to chain to them. When they can tell me something different than “I’m fine”.
And I believe there is a chink in your armour. These men who are working so hard to escape your grip. Then I walk the streets in town. I take the elevator at work. I work out at the gym. And I see you again. In the breath between the words of the men outside. Their histories don’t list the same convictions, but you have grown up with them all the same.
You stop men asking for help, you tell them to be strong, to suck it up.
These men walk around with unsaid conversations stuck in their head, so desperate to be heard, but so scared of judgement.
These men walk around trying to be the biggest, the strongest, the leader, the pimp, the alpha. And when they fail, you kick them where it hurts and tell them to get back up.
The road ahead to strangle you out of existence is indefinite, unclear and unforgiving. But someday you will no longer be hidden. Slowly and surely these men will pull back your cloak. They will look you in the eyes and say no more.
I look forward to the fight.