This I Believe

Gerald - Long Beach, California
Entered on April 25, 2007

I’ve lived in fear and pretense for the majority of my sixty-six years. As a small child, terrified of my angry, violent older brothers and my distant, cold father, I cowered in fear and wished I’d been born a girl, having no idea at that early age what I was wishing for.

Afraid to reveal the feminine, softer side of myself, I pretended to be ultra-masculine once I got into grade school and saw what it was to be a boy. I learned to be cold and coarse. I suppressed my feelings. In high school I learned that girls were good for one thing only, and it wasn’t sewing. How could we possibly appreciate their inner beauty when we were too one-sided and narrow to admit our own?

I believe that we of the male sex should finally be able to claim our own full masculinity, celebrating our feminine parts instead of denigrating them. By giving up our fear-based weak-kneed, testosterone-driven masculinity, we’d gather the strength necessary to at least admit our feminine sisters into full-fledged humanity, with all the concomitant privileges that we’ve denied them for thousands of years. We’ve beaten them, raged at them, and raped them long enough. Why should we have to keep pretending that the world is flat, that all the planets spin around men?

For too long we’ve shunned our feelings and forced our wide and varied male characteristics onto narrow-gauge tracks that constrict our personalities and give us cardboard characters. Without the leavening influence of our feminine side, we thrust our out-of-balance, weakened selves headlong onto the world stage to wreak havoc, masking our fear with hyper-masculine puffed pretence. So scared of deviance from the narrow, shallow definition we’ve crafted for ourselves, we beat and humiliate homosexuals, who have the courage to take on feminine qualities.

To make up for our inner betrayal of ourselves, we resort to war and conquest to achieve without what we lack within. From the patriarchal period of the Old Testament to the modern patriarchal period, history is littered with the bodies and blood of countless billions, right up to today when our raping of the earth itself threatens irreparable damage to the planet.

I’ve lived half of my life in fear and pretense. The latter half I’ve spent trying to unlearn all the “manliness” mores that permeate our culture, while strengthening the masculine aspects of myself that are positive, that help in forging an intimate relationship with a woman.

In the time of Copernicus, people were threatened with death for saying the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. Men will not easily give up their spot at the cent, their women revolving around them with admiring glances and graceful gratitude. But we’ll be the better for it, able to stand tall, look ourselves in the eye, and like what we see.