Yesterday I felt angry.
Anger is an emotion I’ve been told is not healthy for me.
I was talking with one of my best friends yesterday about something that really mattered to me.
I felt this anger.
Not at my friend, but at men in general.
At injustice and privilege and entitlement. At assumptions about whose job it is to take care of people (Yes, I understand that I am a man, that I was partly angry at myself).
I nearly skipped over it. I nearly closed it down.
But because my mate is so awesome I didn’t.
I stopped for a moment and listened to it.
I felt angry.
And then, I was able to articulate more clearly (after a bit of inarticulate rambling) what was so upsetting to me about the way some men behave.
It was a relief.
I realised that this feeling I sometimes get that is cold and nothing and blank is an anger at how men have treated me. A wall I have put up to stop them being able to hurt me.
Once upon a time I was too little to be able to stand up properly to the injustice of it all.
So, I shut down.
Men are being entitled, privileged shits all the time. Worse still, they mostly don’t see that they are acting in these ways, they don’t see their great privilege. They can feel hurt and offended and upset when it is pointed out. They ask for it to be done in a kinder, gentler way. They ask the people they have oppressed (unconsciously or not) to make it easier for them not to oppress them anymore.
Are you fucking serious?
And I only know this because, even though I am a man, I committed some crimes against masculinity.
I was a creative child. I liked to sew, climb trees, draw, build fires, swim, knit, swing on the monkey bars, wear dresses, do cartwheels, run, read, dance, act and sing.
Some of these things were acceptable to the people around me and some were not. Those 'unacceptable things' were my crimes, my misdemeanours against the norms of being a man.
And some people let me know, very clearly, that this made me less.
And, because I have all the privileges that come with being a man, I don’t even see the half of it. Women have put up with so much worse than I can imagine.
I’m not little anymore.
And I’m angry.
I realised, whilst talking to my friend, that I wasn’t angry with men for their past behaviour. I realised I was angry that many of them are still not listening. I am angry at not being heard now, today, here, by men who still carry all the benefits and privileges that they acquire at the expense of others.
It felt right to have my male friend listen, really listen, to me.
I felt heard.
And I realised that, as a man, it’s time for me to listen.
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