What does it really mean to say “I am a MAN!”?
There have been many times in my life where I have been asked to describe myself and at no point did it ever occur to me to write, speak or answer, starting with the words “I am a man.”
I wonder what other people would think if I had uttered those words. What kind of message would I be sending by declaring something that, until writing this, I would presume others would already know and therefore would not have to be told? It’s a prerequisite, right?
Apart from the physicality – what does make a man? If I say I am one, what type of man am I declaring to be? What adjectives would I need to clarify this specific type of noun?
You might think it would be an easy question to ask yourself but I found myself dissatisfied by using the obvious: I’m an average looking man. I’m a gay man. I’m a depressed man. Taking these into account – a not so great man at all.
In order to truly portray myself in a significant way that any ‘type’ of man can relate to, I wrote down the word in front of me…I stared at it. I shut off from everything around me and immersed my whole consciousness and being into what I had written. I became that word. I became Man.
The following words emerged in my head: Mortal. Aspire. Nurture.
I have acquired these new words and I feel, confident, that they do me justice and a provision for which I can elaborate an accurate description of me and what it means, to me, to be a man.
Mortal – I am mortal. I am a living human being who will not be around forever. After birth – death is imminent. Time passes which means each day I am closer to dying. In my life I have tried to choose my own end of time cutting life shorter than expected.
Aspire – the key to life is to aspire to something. To have a purpose and desire no matter how big or how small. This is something that I have struggled with. Feeling inadequate and not good enough made me tired, uninterested in life. With nothing to aspire to comes great sadness and emptiness. Aspiration is something that anyone, at any point in their lives, can have. Can achieve.
Nurture – Everything around us, including ourselves can and is growing. The way in which we and they grow, is up to us. We do not have to be parents or teachers in order to nurture. By doing the right and good things – we demonstrate to others and that itself can ignite other people to aspire to do and be these wonderful things. At 33 years old I have realised that I can still learn, develop and grow. I can nurture and be nurtured too.
What it means to be a man?
I will tell them: being a man is a responsibility to ourselves, to other men and women too. It is important to remember we are not here forever to make the most of what we have. To try and achieve something, it is never too late to try and we can lead by example leaving a legacy for others to follow. We can be and will be remembered for any little or great things we have done.
So, from now on when people ask me who I am I will say I am a man living each day, trying to achieve something, anything and helping myself and others be happy.
Photo courtesy of the author.