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You Know What’s Sexy for 2021? Healthy Masculinity

silhouette of kissing couple

Let’s talk about GOOD MEN!

Drop the religious, socio-cultural and emotional concepts of what makes a man “good” first. Take away the money, his theism or atheism, his physical strength or charming character. What would remain then? What does he embody in his presence, in the way in which he lives his life? That which remains is his “healthy or unhealthy masculinity”.

Yet, for the purpose of this post, and in reflection of my own heterosexual orientation, I speak about the straight man and the healthy space he can hold for a woman to thrive.

I want to talk about men with a healthy masculinity in relation to the feminine woman. In other words, this is about the man who carries himself in a way where a woman is comfortable in her own feminine power around him. Where she does not need to act Dumb, Small or Scared to be liked/loved by him. This is the feminism that I believe in. I speak purely from my own experiences and cognition. Mind you, this has nothing to do with gender stereotypes, and if you cannot fathom the difference between gender stereotypes and masculine/feminine energies, then let me know and I can create a post on that later on.

What do I mean by Healthy Masculine?

A man with a healthy masculinity does NOT need to be perfect. He does not have to be the epitome of pop culture concepts of a strong man which look a lot like following:

  • The strong man doesn’t cry.
  • He shuts out his emotions.
  • He is never afraid and can never be vulnerable.
  • The strong man cannot be hurt, and he is always tough.

The list can go on and on surely, but the point is:

ALL OF THOSE ARE LIES & unhealthy conditions. Those normalized MALFUNCTIONED values ruin most men’s lives, and negatively affect the lives of those who come into their path.

Unfortunately many (most) women also have grown to perceive strong good men to have those qualities. So the flawed value system is propagated both by men and women.

Healthy masculinity is a harmony between strength and vulnerability. Beginning with accepting one’s humanness. In addition to acknowledging one’s ability to grow given the correct mindset and a lot of emotional accountability and maturity. Healthy masculinity, then, is a nod to the beauty, responsibility and power harnessed in the ability to hold seeds of human life.

The Healthy Masculine & The Skill to Embrace

It all begins with practicing self awareness. Healthy masculinity does not shake when contrasted with the healthy feminine, but it thrives. So, one is not intimidated by the self aware and accountable feminine, he does not seek to control or dominate her, neither does he want to destroy and erase her. He is not undermining of a man or woman’s strength or weakness no matter where he/she is on their journey; but he is actively supportive, understanding and enveloping of the other.

When countered with other men, the healthy masculine does not try to peacock, or overcompensate. That’s because the healthy masculine recognizes the shortcomings in himself and others, and tries to go inwards to heal and transform. He recognizes in himself the power and space he can uphold for other men to open up and reveal their true masculine.

The Skill to Walk Away

However, one of the major takeaways of a healthy masculine is recognizing when to walk away. Sometimes knowing when to stop a relationship (no matter its type), and create distance with a person who has unhealthy habits (who is unaware and unwilling to listen) is the best way to treat one’s self with honor and respect.

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Overcoming Fear

visual of walking in spaces

Fear is the biggest obstacle you will ever encounter in life. I speak from experience, not just my own. Talk about fear and everybody cringes. We are wired by it, it tell us how to live. Until it doesn’t. If we want.

Are you afraid of something now? Good. That means you can start there with that single emotion. You can ask yourself: What is it that I am afraid of? What is it that intimidates me into a full stop? Is my fear real or hypothetical? Will my movement into action despite the fear push me towards growth?

Dealing with fear

First sign post is: It’s ok to feel scared. Let the emotion take space. Let it occupy the entire room. Then comes the time to create awareness around that space. Imagine pointing big flashlights onto that space -room- and inspecting everything that the light hits. In that case you will notice that by holding the flashlight in that space, you are stepping away separating yourself from what it holds and acting as the inspector not just the experiencer. You then are not afraid, you are merely inspecting the state of fear. Recognizing this distance between your true self and fear is a big accomplishment, because then you can inspect your ability to overcome that state. In other words, you can determine how to leave that space or room and enter another one. You can equally then let yourself into another space. Let yourself into a space of courage where you can inspect and experience the state of being brave.

What comes before courage?

All our favorite heroes and heroins share one thing in common; bravery to face difficult challenges. They face things, they do not cower. They might hesitate and go back and forth, because all those experiences exist while they are inspecting that state of fear. However, taking action from that state into the next automatically propels them into champions; especially if there is purpose, growth and common good behind the action.

If you can take anything from this perspective let it be this: We must first accept the state we are in right now, and then assess what we need to move out of it.

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How Do We Determine Our Value as Women?

woman in colors

The issue with letting people walk all over you is that you do not truly understand your own value as women.

You grow up hearing many things the top two of which are either you are a smart and strong girl, or you are a beautiful girl. If you heard both, then you were lucky because the system approved of you as a young female. You fit perfectly in the box of useless social recognition. There is nothing more damaging to how we perceive our own value as women as fitting into the box too well.

What does it mean to know your value as women?

Your value as women is born with you.

First accept your value as a human being.We honor the breath inside our body and the heart that continues to beat irrespective of life’s conditions. You are a living being this is your first added value to this earth. Every living breathing being has a place, has a contribution has VALUE.

Your value as a woman is not what others agreed upon only.

We are all so deeply conditioned to be certain people. Parents and friends and the general society you grew up in wanted you to become one or many different things. They transferred value to certain aspects within you and diminished others to shape you into a being that would be accepted and active in the community. People do this out of love. They do it out of ignorance too, and a deep seated fear of having to deal with your difference in a society that generally idolizes sameness. So just because those around value certain things over others, it doesn’t mean that your less acceptable qualities are valueless.

You create value wherever you go.

We are all put in similar containers growing up. Good families or broken ones, schools and jobs that slowly either build our self esteem or obliterate it. We explore romantic relationships that range from subpar and mediocre to perverse and violent ones; depending on our self esteem and our boundaries and our need for love. Life has the capacity to kick us straight in the ass, if we allow it to be a beating it will become one. The alternative however, is to put a damn end to the beating and call for a pause, even if it was an internal one. PAUSE and then assess your position if you could. Are you creating value? Do you feel like your presence matters? Is it crucial or are you filling space?

Make decisions that reflect your value and worth to yourself not just others.

We make decisions about everything. Appearance, lifestyle, personal growth, emotions, thoughts, experiences and diet, to name just a few. Do your choices reflect your value? Do they have the weight of accountability and the lightness of awareness? Essentially are you making choices out of love for yourself or neglect? That is the most profound expression of all.

So my dear, the keyword in letting others walk all over you is this: LETTING THEM. We must cultivate agency in the smallest aspects of our lives and then build up from there. Determining our value as women is simple and difficult at the same time. Will you eat this piece of crap or will you honor your digestive system with something a lot better? Then will you love your body or will you think the worst things about her? Automatically, we become better at noticing our nourishing thoughts and behaviors and the damaging ones.

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Are You Weak or Strong? You Can Be Both

Weakness must be acknowledged but it must not be indulged in. Nobody has it all, and no one has indestructible strength; no body actually should. There remains something about the powerful that cannot be disregarded. Perhaps that is what sets people apart at times.

Some people create strength, they don’t just find it. Some people have the capacity to look weakness straight in the eye and stare it down with compassion and love not with disgust and defeat. Attitude matters, it makes or breaks us in the darkest of times, and the harshest of conditions.

Every time you decide to take back the narrative draped upon you and redefine who you are, you are creating strength and formulating a teachable moment, mostly not just for yourself but for those around you as well.

This all falls under living our best lives while stepping up to becoming our better selves whenever the opportunity arises. The concept is quite rosy and positive; but it is always a lot harder than it seems to be. At different times we want to be weak, we want to wallow in the bellowing miseries that make us the imperfect humans that we are.

Weakness cannot be acknowledged if you were never strong, and strength cannot be perceived if you never once felt powerless. The contrast makes the experience all the more justifiable and magical.

So let’s be weak, irreparable and somber. Let’s dwell on our inconceivable existence and beat our brains with sticks of self doubt and shockwaves of crass talk. Let’s explore our identities and our worst character traits; but let’s always acknowledge the rivers of light that push through those thoughts and actions. Let’s never be shy of dipping our feet and our full bodies into the rivers of self appreciation and passionate living; let’s always keep the lights in sight. It’s like walking the darkest cities knowing that there are lamps waiting to be lit all over and fires to be ignited in chambers created solely for the warmth.

The best of us can be the worst of us any day; everything remains a choice.

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What Happened to Rose Colored Glasses?

What happened to the rose colored glasses? They have become high tech V R spectacles; but we are still the same.

Some questions used to be a lot harder to answer ten years ago, and the thought that 10 years from now the questions I have today will have simpler answers is comforting. It’s funny how time works, looking at days backwards makes us feel a lot more in control, and looking at the days to come makes us feel utterly vulnerable to the unknown. This is enough to say that none of it is true and none of it is real enough to really have much weight in the way in which we choose to live our lives now.

We all seem to operate on a wide spectrum of perception. Some of us dwell in the darker end and make occasional trips into the lighter one; and some of us tend to choose a life on the brighter end traveling to the dark side sometimes. Once you really put that spectrum in front of you and look at it, things become simpler because you realize something insanely important. Things happen in random order, sometimes they happen the way we want them to, the way we are prepared to handle them; but sometimes things go completely off course and we are left with our spectrum of perception. We are expected to react; and that reaction is highly dependent on our perception. Perhaps its even better to refer to the spectrum as the cliched glasses we put on; better yet for the sake of the sophistication of this post let’s consider them spectacles. Those spectacles are also high tech.

You can look at whats happening, from multiple view points. The first and most popular being catastrophe scenario; whereby your spectacles give you the most hellish design to whatever is in front of you. You are laid off, but your hell scenario starts pushing you towards utter self destruction because you have gone and chosen the worst possible way to look at what’s going on.

Other plug-ins include, a huge rug that lands on the thing in front of you and plays Netflix and cartoons and porn, anything really to get your mind off of it. You need to stick to a budget, but you choose to disregard the issue by ignoring it. Simple.

Another option is a Bob the builder -or fixer- vibe to the entire thing and you get to serious work with no doubt that you can fix it. Except, your intense need to fix and control things might get in your way; and then what? What if you can’t fix it Bob?

The point my dearest reader is that, you must stay on topic; you cannot drift into the story you want to tell yourself before you have gone and explored the situation you are in at the moment. This means that sometimes the answers lay in simply being there in that moment and acting accordingly. The answer is to choose a reasonable spot on the perception spectrum, but not forget that you are on that spectrum in the first place. Remember that sometimes all it takes to handle a situation is moving on the spectrum, from a dark zone to a lighter one.

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Over-thinkers Anonymous

Right now I am thinking of me in terms of you.

You read this sentence and you wonder what is she possibly talking about now? Then again you might not be thinking this at all, but that is why I wrote the first sentence, to get it out of the way once and for all.

Right now I still am thinking about you and what you think, not only of me but of many things, however it pains me to say that my conclusion is not always accurate. Why is that? Why aren’t our thoughts accurate about other people’s thoughts? Now that’s a good one.

I catch myself talking to my husband sometimes, and I seem to respond before he even asks or says something. Why? Well, let’s just say I saw it in his eyes. Or that’s what I told myself before I over exaggerated his look and his entire thought process. Do you ever do that? Think on behalf of the other person? Do you find yourself trying to be inside someone’s head? You might have the most noble of reasons, you might even be trying to be considerate or quick. Does it generally work?

I have been training myself lately to think on behalf of others LESS. Let’s just say it’s a really sticky quirk i have. Thinking on behalf of others to figure out how they feel, what they want, or what they might say had at times served me well, but it generally has led to absolutely nothing short of overthinking without resolve.

The good news about learning new things about ourselves is that we can choose to be proactive about them. I just learned that there are other ways that we could learn about what other’s are thinking.

Here’s a one item list that will make your life easier.

1- ASK

Good luck to all of you brilliant over-thinkers. Let’s spend that energy on something else!

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Not All Suffering is Sexy

A Reminder in light of #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

Not everyone who appears to be “handling it”, truly is. Not everyone who “never cries” truly doesn’t. Not everything we think we know as fact, really is. Sometimes, it is important to remember that most of what we actually rely on is our own opinion of situations and people; nothing more.

Don’t be fooled and don’t take for granted that those who are living around you are doing well, because you think so. Don’t for one day think that someone is empty of trouble, that any life without exception is remotely possible without some sense of struggle. There is no shame in that, as there is no hurt in showing weakness and vulnerability.

We live in a society that values strength and rigidity, we live in an age of constructed beauty and magnified perfections and wins. Nobody is subpar, and if one feels so, then there is definitely something wrong with them. Every one is a winner, every one is exceptional and no body loses. THIS IS DESTRUCTIVE.

It’s Ok for us to recognize where we fall short, and where others cannot make a certain cut; we are not all skilled in the same ways or talented in the exact manners. Surely, one must find a way despite fault and learn and become better, but exceptionalism is not a standard. Outstanding beauty is not the norm. We must learn instead to value the quirks and jerks in our movement, in what makes us who we are. You might be the worst in something, and you must know that and let others know that you exist, but also let them know what you are actually good at, what you can do wonders in.

In a time where we are celebrating imperfections, it seems like there is a CERTAIN WAY to do THAT too. This is how you celebrate your stretch marks, and this is how you battle illness, this is how you grieve and this is how you take your therapy…. {The ways in which we must do things have become less transparent and more deceptive as to what really goes into feeling like crap}.

Struggle is made to look glamorous and positive, it is made to appear something it is not. Struggle is not championing over something, it is HARD, and people must not have to hide that painful part and only show the triumphant attitude.

So ask your brave friend what they do when they are feeling like cowards, ask your friend who is dealing with her trauma through therapy if it’s actually making a difference for her. We must remember that what happens behind closed doors, and what we think and say offline is a huge part of life too.

Nobody should have to take their own life because they cannot struggle the “right” way.

So in light of World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s take better care of each other, and let’s accept pain in the form in which it presents itself to us. Nobody suffers alone, except those who feel the need to hide it for whatever reason. Some of us are stronger and more resilient, some people are more flexible, that’s OK! But let’s not set the bar too high. Make struggle an approachable subject, instead of just focusing on the triumph that succeeds it.