For the majority of my life, my relationship with the Masculine was disempowered. The way I related to the Masculine was that it was aggressive, dangerous, arrogant, rude, uncaring, callous, and overbearing.
I grew up hyper-vigilant. After changing schools in eighth grade and seeing people being bullied, I was terrified. I managed to avoid being bullied myself by internalizing the bully. I became hyper-aware of all of the possible flaws that could be exploited and picked on, and then meticulously made a point of ensuring I had none of those flaws exposed. The external bully had little to grab a hold of as I put this armour together — but I’d brought him inside. I was constantly berating myself for my perceived weaknesses each time I caught a new one.
My hyper-vigilance extended to my budding sexuality and my growing relationship with the Feminine. I watched men check women out brazenly, and then overhead them being made fun of by other women for their lack of subtlety. I heard people getting critiqued for being shallow because they didn’t find someone physically attractive (“Is all you care about how someone looks?”).
And I heard endless jokes about men having sex and then rolling over and falling asleep, selfishly.
Through my observations, I constructed a straw man that represented men in general, and then equated that to the Masculine energy as a whole.
In short, I made the Masculine wrong, and concluded that I didn’t want to be that. I loved and revered women. I wanted the Feminine’s approval, and so I set about quelling and gelding the parts of myself that fit with this shitty mould I’d put the Masculine into.
I had become a successful approximation of what I thought society, and the Feminine, wanted — a man, without all of that Masculine stuff that gets derided and made fun of. I layered a snazzy sense of style, decent looks, intelligent conversation, and a good sense of humour on top of all of that, and I went out into the world.
The Feminine approved of me, because I didn’t bring anything that challenged her. I played nice, and I did right.
I was often told I was cute, because that’s what I was. Cute in the same way a young boy, or a small puppy is cute. Not dangerous. Not potent. Not someone that makes you weak in the knees. I was a pony, safe and well-groomed, rather than the wild mustang you might long to feel between your legs as it whisks you across the countryside.
Who I am is a man of with a lot of access and depth of Masculine energy. But who I had learned to be was a function of my own rejection. I was a man with a large capacity for the Masculine, cut off almost entirely from the Masculine. I had made who I was wrong, based on my observations of the world around me, and had sewn up an almost perfect game.
It didn’t work.
My sex-life was a perfect manifestation of the war I was fighting within. I would put all of my attention on the woman I was with to ensure I met the requirements of being “a good man” (the woman orgams, she feels loved, I don’t turn around and immediately fall asleep, etc.), and then sneaking off into the night to masturbate to porn so I could meet the wilder, more aggressive side of who I was.
It should be no surprise that most of my relationships ended because the intimacy fell away.
Over time, I’ve been taking on the work to heal and re-empower my relationship to the Masculine, and in doing so, to heal and re-empower my relationship to myself.
We’re all fighting wars internally. Parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned, shut away and deemed unacceptable. Sometimes we shut these parts of ourselves away because we wanted to do better and fit in. Other times, like in the context of the cultural racism we’re collectively addressing, it’s because society at large has actively (and passively) told us these parts of ourselves are wrong.
I don’t have a clean way to transition here. What I’m hoping to elicit is the fact that we’re all fighting wars with ourselves. If you can start to see your own internal battle, it can open the door to more empathy when you see someone else fighting theirs.
What I’m not sure how to do cleanly, is to address the fact that this post might occur like I’m equating my own internal battle with something much deeper and more insidious like systemic racism, and then be taken like I’m saying “Hey, I totally get it guys! We’re all struggling. All lives matter, right?” That’s not my intention.
So, I hope you can read these words as they’re intended, and if not, let me know so I can clean up any mess.
Be gentle and kind.
We’ve got healing to do.
This post was written in collaboration with my friend Toku. We began from the perspective of writing about some kind of intersection between two different parts of our identity.
Are you interested in collaborating with me? I love writing with people. It makes it more fun and less lonely. If you’d like to join me, send me a message, or drop a comment below ❤️🔥.