The human soul is like a bird that is born in a cage. Nothing can deprive it of its natural longing, or obliterate the mysterious remembrance of its heritage – Epes Sargent
I have spent many years of my life struggling to fit in. My father taught me how to be a man, alongside those to whom he entrusted my care. A man should be bold, daring, and resolute. He should demonstrate tenacity of spirit, and be of virtuous character. He should be ready, and willing, to fight when called to do so…
And yet, as I grew, society told me a different story. I heard of the concept of toxic masculinity, and at one point, when I told my therapist who I idolized and why, was told I “suffer from” hyper masculinity. I saw, constantly, that men were these lummoxes, these useless things that women suffer to have around, if for no more than petty amusement.
It seems that society can find no room at its diverse table for one such as I. And yet, here I am. By standing a man, I often find myself standing alone. While society has done a good job of trying to reduce those aspects of masculinity I most pride myself on to relics of a bygone era, they yet remain. And it often confuses even myself. Life would be so much easier were I to simply accept that I shouldn’t be who I am. I know this for a fact. If I was more effeminate, and less outspoken on the matters I deem to have righteous cause, I would have an easy life.
But as I touched on in my piece on integrity, the easy path is not one I wish to travel. And when trying to understand how such a large part of my soul refuses to acclimate to the society I find myself living in, the quote at the top of this piece seemed particularly relevant. While I had grown up in a country where my manhood itself was deemed a threat, it remained, with my resolve to hold myself to manly virtue only strengthened by the attempts of others to remove it.
Where has this passion for all things manly come from? I believe it is part of all men. Some may have buried it, others may have tried to wipe it out entirely, but it is there. Like a bird born in a cage, we may not know why a masculine life calls to us, but call it does. A primal, ferocious manhood appeals to all of us, in varying degrees. For many men out there, it is the north point on your compass. You may try to ignore it. You may try to reason with yourself as to why you need to put your head down and walk with the sheep. But your True North is calling. Your soul needs more than what it has been fed its whole life.
Go North. Your true heritage, and the natural state of being a man are things you should not deprive yourself of.