The recent days were ones where an experience, a song, a movie, or just a poignant story could bring a few tears to my eyes, not from sadness, but just in that vulnerable, life-connected stream I experience from time to time. I’ve always been an extra-emotional human, but at some point the past five years, I found myself feeling all the more emotive and more like to shed a few tears and doing so with little concern for the critical thoughts of those around me.
As a male in America, crying is an act of shame. I’ve never felt connected to the philosophies of masculinity, but the more I experience, the more I see how masculinity is really just a toxin in our culture, a guard meant to preserve ideas old and flawed. For those interested in the subject, I encourage reading the article, Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box, and listening to the ongoing series, MEN, from Scene on Radio. We’re alive in a time where the relevance of confronting the masculinity problem is more important than ever and long overdue.
I’ve never found much reward in the times that I’ve given in to the masculinity complex. I’ve found much more in the times I’ve felt, experienced, and empathized. I now welcome the times where my heart feels raw, where I’ve caught myself halted in action to listen to a song, where something as simple as a television show brings a tear.
Something that Lifted Me Up, Inspired, Empowered: I had the honor last night of serving as the MC and DJ for the wedding ceremony and reception for two members of one of my regular trivia night teams. The entire evening was a blast, but I’ll long remember the image of the groomsmen just prior to the ceremony in what was much closer to a group hug than a huddle.
In My Ears: The newest EP from The Hold Steady and the surprise album from Eminem have received their share of focused listening, but I find myself again and again turning to the same three albums (much in relation to the above subject, I imagine): I Hope You Don't Mind Me Writing from Lucy Spraggan, By The Way, I Forgive You by Brandi Carlile, and the latest release from Sons of Bill, Oh God, Ma’am. These are albums for the soul, for quiet Sunday mornings, and for shedding a tear.
Watched: I’m finally getting around to diving into the television series, Orphan Black, which is very satisfying. Honorable mention to the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, for reminding me how much we need a few more Fred Rogers in the world.
Action Item: I’m not quite ready to dive heavily into the political here, but I had a conversation recently with someone who had lived their adult life up until this point with little interest or concern for that world of complications and ugliness, perceived and real. What participation they’d contributed seemed passing and idealistic, an uninformed act before looking back to the parts of the world that seemed more relevant. The past few years have been a wake up for them, with the realization “oh shit, what I do matters.” They expressed a desire to act and I hope I helped encourage them to follow through.
We have a lot of battles before us, with the fights as ugly as the opponents.
If you’re one of the folks who desire a world of more compassion and goodness, that population good but silent, then I ask you to join up and act. Jason Isbell’s line is one of hope and, I pray, truth: “there can't be more of them than us.”
Act on that goodness. First step, register to vote. In Michigan, you have 30 days before the election. You can get in now: Michigan: Register to Vote