Friday, August 23, 2013

Healthy Male Models

Friday, August 23, 2013

I did not choose my title for today's entry to advocate models like what you would expect to find at an underwear modeling photo shoot.  Yet I certainly appreciate handsome male models as much as the next gay man.  When I speak of models here I refer to examples of healthy men and healthy masculinity.  I was reminded of my hunger for such examples today when I attended a brief workshop in Uptown.

As seems to happen so very often I was yet again the only man who attended the workshop; I was in a circle surrounded by women.  Those who have known me for a long time and who also know me well know that I worked through my issues of wounding from women in my life many years ago.  What is predominant in my awareness now is my desire for healthy men in my life.  And I am almost always reminded of this hunger when I end up being the only man in a room with a group of women.  Such experiences also just reinforce my opinion that there is indeed a crisis of masculinity in the United States today.  So many men who hold positions of power in this country display little if any moral compass.  Examples of such morally bankrupt men abound in Congress, in industry and so on.  And I for one am fed up with how men are living out their lives in this nation.

While participating in this workshop this morning I could easily feel the deep yearning I have for more authentic men in my life.  And I realize that is a fundamental part of my issue I have with my father; the times he has failed to follow a path of integrity in his own life have caused me disappointment and sadness.  There are many ways sons may feel disappointed by their fathers.  Fathers sometimes deceive their sons.  Mine did.  Fathers in this American culture (and especially those of my father's generation) often do not have much skill in expressing anger and other intense emotions in a healthy way.  Men in this culture still walk around with many wounds due to unhealthy expectations that to be a man means to hide strong feelings.  I've reflected on these issues before.  I have even written about this principle issue of masculinity here on my blog in earlier posts.  It's obviously a seminal issue considering how I come back to it again and again.

Today I also had a deeper realization of what caused my PTSD to be triggered when I came back from Germany in June.  I was feeling grief after visiting my birthmother and learning that she now has a degree of dementia in addition to her schizophrenia.  I felt a desire to share my pain and grief with people who love me as I needed such support to help me stay healthy.  I wanted to be able to discuss it with my father.  But he is too enmeshed in his own issues to offer me much undivided attention.  And thus, just as happened when I was a child, I again feel the frustration of having a father who is not sufficiently emotionally available to meet my basic needs.  This has been a lifelong theme for me.  Despite my desire to break the pattern it seems I will only become enmeshed in it each and every time I interact with my father.  It thus has become clear to me that I need to not expect anything of real substance from him.  And that clarity has caused me additional grief.

It is obvious to me now that I must cultivate my own healthy masculinity without looking to my father for any additional guidance or support.  I can heal and move forward without him.  And yet it saddens me when I consider just how deeply my needs were so often not met in the past.

Men need to learn how to feel and express pain in this culture.  Our national governance may be a mess.  There may be seemingly endless squabbling about federal spending and future government debt.   These are very real crises and must be addressed.  But there is another crisis among so many.  There is the deficit of healthy masculinity in this nation.  It is sad.  And we need to have a national conversation about this issue as well.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!