To the Rev. Janglebones –
May this find you well. Your post of 15th August (“Redefine, Man..”) was refreshing and much appreciated.
In response to your invitation for comment about masculinity and being a man:
I am grateful you shared your experiences of being a boy and growing to manhood. I can relate to much, especially that sort of discomfort with whether it’s worthwhile to even “be a man”. I want to honor your courage to be seen and known. There is a fierceness in vulnerability, surrender, and giveaway.
I agree with you that it’s not a one person job nor even a single generation job. Already the ancestors are with us, with their illnesses and their wellnesses. I think, how am I treating the grandfathers? Do I remember them, attend to them? Who are living elders that show me how it looks to “be a man” well? What kind of ancestor am I to those who are yet-to-come, our descendents? How am I doing as a father and uncle?
I think we make the “man story” different by each of us living authentically as a man. What wants to live through us. as men? What archetypes have us acting out? Some chauvinist Anglophone stereotype? Some family trait, a painful memory or feeling, media tropes, an ancient folktale plot, all of the above?
We have to love those parts of ourselves, too. All the archetypes are here for a reason. I love the consideration of Walter Wink, the “myth of redemptive violence”, that we have learned to project our shadows onto the “bad guys”. We get to enjoy their evil desires for the majority of the tale’s telling, only to reach climax, wipe out the troubling evil glee, and all the bad people who desired such things are gone forever. “If only we can cancel all the bad men, then we will for certain be the good men!”
That’s the kind of shadow work I feel called to do as a man, to redeem manhood not as a heroic savior, but so I can live my own authentic life.
It’s scary, replete with shame, to own all the parts of one self. I am inspired to do this kind of men’s work by seeing what feminists have done, and what trans & genderful people do, in order to claim their identity. The power I have seen friends step into as they access their wellspring is awesome, and I want it, too, through the fierceness of vulnerability. I don’t need to to focus on how other people are and try to change them, but I do need to find others with whom to share as we change how we imagine ourselves.
Wizardly yours / in brotherhood,
ouijantenna / jacob