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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lions and Boys

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I seek to recenter myself. Always a good idea, reflection on one's life should be ongoing and with clear goals in mind. My moral and ethical "yardstick"is the Bible and I am a Christian man. All this being said I have a wealth of experiences, mostly failures, to draw from. I am far from perfect, really tiptoeing the line on "good guy," but I think I have a descent grasp on my reality. Here's what I think about myself, my life, and maybe men in general.

Men in the Biblical sense are to subdue the Earth, be fruitful, and multiply. From the biological perspective, boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Through the lens of emotions, I am cold and callous compared to most of the women in my life. Physically I am 230 lbs, 6 ft 4 inches, energetic, and tough as nails. I kill things, eat raw red meat, love to be dirty, and bench 325 lbs on good days. I jump out of planes, swim with sharks, love mixed martial arts, and can be very dangerous at times. I am a man.

Here is my problem then. I am a man. I am expected to be something else, though. I am expected to be sensitive, sit calmly in classrooms, not get "fired up" about guy-stuff, sports, and traffic.  I often were a tie, slacks, and gel my hair when I would much rather be shirtless and playing outside. I am not allowed to hit anyone, wrestle, and drive fast. Gentle, meek, safe, and even feminine, this is what I am told to be.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Fight Club, and yes the book is great, too, but the movie gives you the visual I enjoy so very much. In the movie, there is a scene with Tyler (Brad Pitt) and The Narrator (Edward Norton) in a grungy bathroom spitting out teeth. Tyler say to The Narrator, "If you could fight anyone in the world, who would it be?" The conversation goes on to uncover a wish to fight his (their) father. Tyler goes on to describe what is wrong with society and specifically men:

  • Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering... an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s**t we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Tyler describes men today as a boys raised by their mothers, and I agree. Politeness not power, dainty not dangerous, this is how I describe my upbringing. I am not a child, though, nor feminine. I am the masterpiece of my Creator and modeled after him. C. S. Lewis put it best when describing Aslan (God), "Safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he is good."

I am not safe. I am a lion.

I am wild, dangerous, and quick to anger at times. I am violent in my heart, though rarely permitted by my peers to express it. I am strong and daring. I am to be feared and I do indeed fear myself. I am not safe. But I will be good.