What makes a ‘Man’?

Today’s blog was actually inspired by a dream from last night:

I’m in a two-storey cafe, sitting at the head of a table, Pipes is sitting next to me.  The room is full of actors as we’re filming something in the area and we have all invaded this cafe run by my In laws.
  Sitting at the table beyond ours is a man, he is short and stocky, in his late 40s and has short black hair that is going white at the roots.  He is wearing a white sports top and blue shorts.  He looks a little like Mr Toad.
  In between actors walking between our tables, Pipes is trying to explain to this man why it is wrong for him to have loaned some tables to my In Laws and demanding them back despite the fact her Mum and Dad bought them off him.  In short, he wanted both the money and the tables.  Looking into his newspaper, he states out aloud: “I don’t understand this, why isn’t he arguing for you? He is less a man than he is a warrior!”
  Everyone stops and gasps… he was talking about me! Gob smacked, I just sit there in silence as the man gets up, looks at me then leaves…

I’d quite forgotten all about it until I followed a memory trail that revealed the dream I had.

I told Pipes as I remembered it and she asked if I knew why I dreamt of that.

Thinking on this has revealed something that I actually keep secret, even from myself…

I feel I have failed.

The man in the dream was obviously my Shadow (for those unfamiliar with Jungian archetypes, a subconscious manifestation of the bits of our identity we don’t want to acknowledge, often parts of ourselves we’re afraid of).    This time, the Shadow has personified itself in the things negative about Men in general: he was arrogant, sexist, greedy, selfish, single-minded and uncompromising.  In the dream I also got a sense of what he was like in his life: wealthy, the top of his game, runs his own company, a success, whence the arrogance… all the things I’m not.  Besides our sex and gender we had one thing in common: honesty. In the dream I didn’t defend my Wife, she, as my feminine side was speaking for me, this was a masculine Shadow directly challenging my own masculine self.  In the dream I simply let him walk away because I couldn’t argue back.  In my dreaming mind he was right.

This for me, presented a mind-fuck.

This morning I flipped between sadness, anger and then conviction.

I present a friendly, witty and laid back demeanor, yet underneath hide my own issues which is to do with the fact I feel I have failed.  How so? Let’s look at the stereotypical image of what we in the early 21st Century take a ‘Man’ to be:
Muscular, strong, stoic, rich, handsome, successful, determined, authoritive.

Once ‘Man’ and ‘male’ were synonymously linked.  Nowadays its a concept when you consider transgender or transsexual people.

Looking at the above list: I’m no pussy, but I’m no beefcake either.  I have strength in my beliefs, but not always in myself.  Stoic? No. I’m definitely not rich, both me and Pipes live on my wage in a job I am, at the minute undergoing confidence issues with (I kept fucking things up in September and now doubt myself there).  However, I have a wealth of Celtic History and the old tales.  I have Pipes, my cat and our rented home.  Handsome? I don’t like to brag. ;D determined? Not as much as I’d like.  I’ve been happy to follow and let others take charge, especially where I’m not an expert.  Authoritive? Sometimes, I know I can be in certain situations, but not all of them (work for example, I’m not an industrial person, I just pretend to be).

So, on to the biggie: Successful.  Here’s the crux.  We assume that to be successful we must be rich and have plenty of money to be happy.  That’s not really my problem, I know a couple who have the money, two cars a house and its driving them insane.  So I know and understand that money isn’t everything.  So why do I feel I have failed?  Because, in my mind, a Man has focus in his life be it his trade, his calling, his beliefs.  I feel I have failed because I have not attained “success”.  By that, I mean a contribution to Humanity.  To be able to turn around and say “Yeah, I did good there, I’m proud of that.”  I feel that in sacrificing my acting career (before it really begun) I squandered the ‘gift’ I was given, therefore creating a hole within myself of confusion and fear. 
  On the other hand, If it wasn’t for my sacrifice, my Wife would never have been able to get Pagan Pride up and running or begin her music career.

  This writing has been very cathartic for me and if you’ve read it this far, thank you.  I’ve even answered my own question “How do I be a man?”

Y’see, Druidic tradition teaches us the Shadow is represented by the wolf in the Druid Animal Oracle.  Wolf teaches that the Shadow is not to be feared or attacked, it is to be learned from.  Once that is done we can work on ourselves and transcend the barriers we place on ourselves.  The modern ‘Man’ is material in his ‘wealth’ and distractions, however he has no honour and no courage.

The answer to my question is: I can be a ‘Man’ by having the courage to do that what I am afraid of and stop whining about feeling lost and confused… especially when I actually know what must be done.  There are too many people who think they aren’t worth it in this world… I’m one of them and I don’t want to be anymore.
As Dian Cecht told me: “Love Yourself” and I’ll only start doing that by doing what really makes a man: Bravery.

image

Photo by locksley2010

Here’s me, a man with long hair enjoying a glass of wine, cheers!

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6 thoughts on “What makes a ‘Man’?”

  1. Awesome post, bruv! So on the money in several places. And you’re dead right, it’s rooted in courage. Which you have already showed by posting this.

    1. Sweavo, thanks a lot for commenting. I’d say there is such a depiction of what men are “supposed” to be like that we generally don’t talk about this kind of thing. To admit weakness is in fact a strength in itself. Thanks again and stay brave.

  2. You are a Good Man. Supportive, aware that life takes requires compromise and partnership to achieve the good stuff (which is also often the simple stuff), not dominance over others, or machismo. All power to that drinkers elbow!

    1. Thank you Kate, I’m actually glad I’m not one of those Machismo bullies, that’s not what I see what being a man is about. Its about honour, courage and, like you say, compromise. The day I start pushing others around and thinking I’m better than everybody else- shoot me! Thank you very much for commenting.

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