Every Monday I’l drop some sort of content that will hit on my journey of becoming a man. To kick it off, I’ll showcase the broken lens that I’m writing from to set up the backdrop.
Particular people groups around the world have clear cut initiations into manhood. In these groups, defining moments exist where a task is laid upon a boy who is brave enough to venture out of the comfort of his upbringing. In the movie 300, ( because what’s stereotypical masculinity without a reference to a violent movie filled with blood and gore?) a young Leonidas is sent into the unknown of the wilderness for days, given the challenge to slay a wolf. If he returns with the pelt, he is welcomed home as a man. If he doesn’t return…well he dies I guess? Simple, right? Sign me up! I’ve never hunted before in my life, so with my name being Hunter and all, this is too much of a golden opportunity to pass up on.
When I was researching for this blog post, I found out that Leonidas’ task was completely made up for the movie and did not accurately reflect the initiation young Spartans succumbed to in order to be viewed as men in Spartan society. Welp, scratch that plan. This curve ball of a fact happens to be a phenomenal foreshadow of how I grapple with entering manhood today; believing I am checking all the right boxes, only to find out all of my toiling has been a farce I was seduced by.
With America being a complex entanglement of different cultures, I don’t have to go far to hear from an assortment of unique perspectives about what it means to be a man and showcase my worthiness as a man. When I played football, being a man was growing a beard and drinking a 30 rack of Bud Light with a side of marijuana to deal with the soreness. The college culture preached their masculinity truth as the message of weekday all nighters in the library, followed by weekend all nighters in the bedroom while juking any real signs of intimacy or genuine feelings. Mainstream Hip-Hop and Rap feeds me the gratifying entree that to be a man is to obtain as much material wealth as possible, then flaunt it as much as possible because screw financial responsibility. American Christianity tells me to read my Bible, don’t have sex until I’m married, and provide for my wife and family when I get married or less I’m a failure. I’m embarrassed to say all these empty wells, alongside with countless others, have burned me and the scars are still healing, at least when I let them. My auto-pilot is to seek comfort even when I know it is fleeting, rather choosing to remain in the discomfort of searching for what is real and lasting.
I like destinations. Journeys are exhausting and take too much time. So every Monday I’ll bring another step of this journey to the light, sharing what I’m learning and unlearning. I’ve spent 30 minutes trying to perfect this ending because my performance driven nerves won’t stop blaring in my head until it’s spectacular. I’ll expose the insecurity and go eat some tacos instead. S/O to my mom for the prepackaged meal from home. Blessings.