And Why Blog About It?
I’m a total wuss. I’m soft as cotton. I don’t do manly things. I don’t like getting dirty. I don’t hunt and fish. I don’t do things with my hands like fix things and build things.
My parents divorced when I was seven years old, when I should have been learning how to become a man. We visited my father on and off for a few years and then he totally disappeared. Instead of having a man teach me things, I grew up with a mom and a sister. To make ends meet and to get us off of government assisted living (we lived in section 8 housing and ate with food stamps), my mother went to cosmetology school and became a hair dresser. I was one of her guinea pigs. She literally practiced perms on my head. So yeah, when I should have been learning how to kill things and use tools, I was getting my hair permed.
My mother eventually remarried but my stepfather and I didn’t get along well. He was a man’s man and by then I was more interested in going to Star Trek conventions. I didn’t appreciate his blue collar ways at all. In hindsight, I realize he could have been the biggest asset in my life and I was just a little friggin’ punk. He later died of a brain tumor.
Now I have two boys and it’s my turn to teach them how to be men in a nation I fundamentally believe is going soft. The art of manhood is dying. Strength is no longer seen as an asset. In fact, strength is even vilified by many while men becoming women is acceptable. Being a man isn’t as important as it once was, despite the fact that manhood and strength are the foundations of this nation. We didn’t become the best country in the world by being soft. We fought and worked our way here. We got dirty. We got hurt. We became badass.
The only way to teach my boys how to be men is to become a man. I’ve spent the better part of the last three years doing just that. I had the foundation. I’m one of the most mentally tough dudes you’ll meet. That happens when you watch your mother get beat to a pulp, scratch and claw your way through welfare and build a career and businesses with absolutely nothing ever handed to you.
I just didn’t realize until I started this journey that my brain is calloused. Just as your hands can be calloused through hard work and pain, the brain can become calloused too. I was ready. I just had to become comfortable with being physically uncomfortable.
A few weeks ago at a Bible study my friend Cannoli (his F3 name) asked me “why do you keep doing all this? Where’s it coming from? What’s the motivation?” Here’s the answer—I’m putting myself through as much training as I can, as much pain as I can, across as many finish lines as I can to harden my body, my soul and my spirit. I will become a man to teach my boys that manhood and strength are not just assets, but necessary traits to succeed, to protect our community and to build our nation. I won’t just tell them. I’ll show them what they can do.
I’m no longer the wuss that I was just a few years ago. I still can’t build or fix things. I’ve stabbed a few hogs in the heart, endured a lot of pain through GORUCK events and next weekend I’ll cross my fourth marathon finish line. I’m not where I want to be yet, but at least I’ve done some things to set a good example for my boys.
Thank you for following me on my journey. I hope my blogging eventually motivates you to step out of your comfort zone and to change the things you don’t like about yourself too.