I’m a man. Expectations of who I should be are not necessarily realistic expectations of any man. Sure, I can open a jar, I can lift that heavy furniture you need moving, I drink beer and I eat hot curries, but there are other things people should expect me to be as a man as well. I want to cry at sad films, I want to show people my emotions, I get hurt by things that are said and by events that happen in life.
Men should be allowed to show their ‘weaker’ side, and when this weaker side is shown they need the support any person needs when they feel a bit knocked back. Since I was a child I’ve always been made to feel like I have a responsibility to be the strongest emotionally, and that I have to look after all others above myself, this isn’t realistic and is part of the reason I suffer with mental health issues today. When my parents divorced many moons ago I was only seven. I was told at this age that I had become the ‘man of the house’ and that I needed to look after my mum and my sisters. I took these comments seriously as a seven year old, I believed I had a responsibility as the only male in the house, to take care of everyone, it was hard on me.
Soon after this I developed my mental health issues, these troubled me all through my teenage years because I knew I wasn’t the strong arrogant male figure that most of my friends wanted to be. I tried to fit in, putting on the stereotypical male persona through childhood and into adulthood. I still, sometimes, wear this persona now, pretending to be the manly man that people may expect of me. Inside I am withdrawn, I am a shaking dog, scared that something will go wrong at any second, thoughts of ‘will I say the wrong thing’ or ‘what if I represent myself badly’ stirring in my head, mixed in with a plethora of other thoughts similar to these. For years i haven’t been able to show everything about me because I felt it wasn’t acceptable in society, but by writing I’ve been able to show people who i am, I’ve been able to open up about how and what i feel, and its give me my quiet, but helpful door to expression.