The man who got Obama into his garage for an interview answers three questions about masculinity.
I tell men at the end of each episode of my show to “continue living Real, Risky and Raw.”
I am a woman with a men only-podcast show called “Real Time: Real Men Only.” My goal at Podcast Movement Conference 2015 was to find out if Marc Maron was a real man or not.
He interviewed the President, the person with the highest status in the world — so it made Marc Maron a bit fascinating (ok he was very fascinating) when he spoke at Podcast Movement as a Keynote speaker. I knew of Marc before the famous interview, I had watched his autobiography series called Maron on Netflix, and I was intrigued by his story and life.
I had my microphone ready to fire. The long line of people taking selfies with him was a bit intimidating, and I knew the questions I shot at him needed to be good, deep, and quick. He had just finished his talk and people were crowding around him like Jesus, pressing in on him from all sides. I actually felt sorry for him, he really didn’t smile in any of the pictures, but was gracious in how he handled people coming up to him telling them their story and invading his space.
I shook as I held the microphone up to his mouth. I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz as she finally got to Emerald City to ask the Wizard for a wish to be granted.
Due to the nature of my show my first question was, “What do you think constitutes living like a real man?”
That’s a good question, what is a real man? I think it is the capacity to be honest with yourself and others, and realize your limitations, to not be afraid to be vulnerable.
The Lion in the Wizard of Oz went with Dorothy to ask his own question of the Wizard. He cowardly admits to being this powerful beast but lacking the number one character that a lion is “supposed” to have — courage. It takes courage and risk for a man to reach deep into those vulnerable areas in his life. It takes even more courage to be at peace with your own limitations.
I think Marc hit the nail on the head with that one because deep down every man questions his capabilities and if he really has what it takes. The risky part is being honest with your answers, knowing what you are capable of and what your limitations really are — this gives you the courage to be vulnerable.
My second question was, “What does it mean to live from your heart?”
Pain—we are all built to deal with a certain amount of shit, and what you do with heartache is really what determines your character, you can become bitter because your heart broken and then you’re “that guy.”Or you can move towards humility rather than anger.
The answer was so raw that Marc even closed his eyes as he spoke. It was such a ra” moment, I had to back away for a second.
Of course, the Tin Man joined the journey with Dorothy and the Lion. And he too had a request. He was looking for a heart. I ask men all the time, “What does it mean to follow your heart?” Often times they stare at me and say, “I don’t even know what that means,” usually followed by a nervous laugh.
The backstory of the Tin Man was that he was “heartless.” He was in love with a maiden but a witch had cursed his ax. Long story short, he lost all of his limbs as he chopped away building a house for him and his maiden. He was given a final blow to the chest, where he eventually had to replace his flesh with a tin body with no heart. He lost the love that he had for his maiden. Check out Heartless: The Story of Tin Man by Whiteston Motion Pictures.
What Marc says about heartache is so true and raw. So many men have lost heart after being hurt and choose the path of anger and hardness to self protect. They eventually become “that guy” and no one ever really gets “in” to know them because they are constantly protecting and hardening their hearts. They lose their way on the journey and their true voice fades because of the “break” or “ax blow” to the chest.
Maybe it was the death of a parent, the loss of a job, the divorce that ‘took you out’ or something that causes so much exposure. The rawness can leave you feeling as uncooked meat dripping on the cutting board waiting to be chopped into pieces and thrown in the hot oil. Marc revealed the truth when he said, “Life is full of disappointment…but moving towards humility is really where reality of awareness begins.” This is where true healing and the softening of that hardness can take place. Brokeness can cause bitterness — or humility.
My last question to Marc was, “What is your definition of intimacy?”
Most men think it’s about sex. The message is beaten into men; if you are a man, you will win the woman or the lover. Marc’s answer was so real:
Intimacy is tricky because you need to trust and be willing to be vulnerable and men are embarrassed by that … men want to be safe, but if you have been hurt enough, it is hard to feel safe enough to trust.
In an almost boyish confession he shares how hard it is for him to trust, and adds:
It is something you need to consciously work on (the trust thing) if you want intimacy in your life.
You need a brain. The scarecrow (back to the Wizard of Oz) needed to make some conscious choices and could not do it until he got his brain. During the battle with the wicked witch of the west, the Flying Monkeys tear the scarecrow apart and even throw his clothes up in the trees, mocking him. Once he is filled with straw again, he is back to life and eventually gets his brain from the Wizard. The Wizard even appoints the Scarecrow to rule Emerald city in his place.
Trust is a conscious choice, and you will need your brain and wisdom to make that choice. Being married for 18 years, I tell everyone that love is a choice. A daily choice, I choose him and he chooses me. The reason your brain is needed for intimacy (which really means “connection”) is because it’s a choice.
Feelings fade, there are days I feel like dismissing everyone, and I go back to choice. My intimacy requires wisdom on the deepest levels of connection. Marc again nailed it when he said “If it is something you really want (intimacy) then you need to consciously choose to work on it.”
Men are logical and wise, but to choose intimacy is a very conscious and deliberate choice to make while surviving the daily grind of routine living.
Marc is a real man, living real, risky and raw in every way, and it only took three questions for me to come to this conclusion. The risk is in the courage, the rawness is found in the heart, and the realness is found in the choices we make along the journey. May you continue to live real, risky and raw on that yellow brick road that leads you back home.
Listen to the full interview.
Photo courtesy of author.