|I just can’t keep living this way… So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage|

If I’ve ever wanted something, I very rarely let it be known. I’m definitely more of the “let-it-happen-and-adjust-accordingly” mindframe. Unbeknownst to me (until now, duh) , I’ve been minimalizing all of my feels since I was a young kid. I’m definitely a victim of feeling like giving into feelings was a weakness, unless I was mad. Anger was the only acceptable feeling to show regularly. Not that it was ok to act out in that anger, because that anger was seen as strength. It was ok to be mad, because it showed focus on something and supposedly made you more dangerous, or made people take you serious while you were in such a state. Ahh, the subtle joys of being conditioned as a young male in the American cultural tradition. Prove yourself through your own mettle and be either indifferent or upset at the world. There is no in-between, right? Anything else would make you a moody or sensitive dude, which of course is not manly at all. Of course, because I’m black, I have to also have a chip on my shoulder, because that’s also acceptable.

I mostly bought into the mentality of not being too happy or too sad about anything as a self defense mechanism. If you’re not expecting very much, then it won’t hurt as much when you’re disappointed. If you expect to be disappointed, then nothing should really bother you. You just end up being right all the time when things inevitably go wrong. Curiously, I kept myself from being happy and feeling happy things. I also ended up self fulfilling my own prophecies by seeking the hitch in people’s best laid plans (“where’s the poop, Robin?”). It gives me some kind of small, fleeting satisfaction to be correct a lot of the time, but I’m operating under the wrong pretenses, wouldn’t you agree? If you’re not doing something because you like it, then why be wasting your time?! Seems counter-intuitive to me, but that was exactly the headspace that I found myself examining and being quite surprised by.

Why is it so hard to vocalize what we want? I should re-phrase that. Why is it so hard to vocalize what I want? A self-taught lesson that I’ve realized in my life is the philosophy that if I don’t let people in on what I’m actually passionate about, then they cannot use those things against me. I’m instantly reminded of my elementary school years, where I would regularly keep a journal (not a diary, I was a boy, sheesh). That regularly updated journal was regularly terrorized by my sister and she, in turn, would bring up little snippets of some entry that she’d read recently, in the worst of circumstances.OF course, this taught me to just keep things close to my chest (except I have a proven track record of relaying my innermost thoughts through public mediums like blogs. Interesting, really), in hopes that I could steel myself against invasions of privacy. Or maybe I fancied myself a 13 year old version of Poppa Doc in 8 mile (yes, I know he’s not the hero in that movie, just go with it). I could keep all my secrets to myself and craft an aura for myself that would only include what I wanted people to know about me. Actually, that’s quite possibly the premise for any social media account…

Unlike Clarence (whose parents, I hope still have a real good marriage), I cover my tracks nicely, by never starting beef with anyone. Of course, I do have some choice people that I definitely try to stay away from, but generally, you won’t be catching any revelations about my life from someone trying to freestyle battle me in a dark club (sucks to be you). I’ve always said that I dislike eye contact, because I have never wanted someone to be able to read me and ask about whatever secrets I’m hiding. I have conditioned myself to always hold back from people. I used to be pretty good at being super interested in people (to throw them off my trail). Now I think it’s more about being genuine with my intentions. I have been spending lots of time alone, which keeps me thinking (way too much) about things like interpersonal interactions and the real effects of how I act/how my actions affect relationships of many sorts.

Having hope in a thing or in a person is one of the joys of being alive. I don’t want to live such a life of insulation. That was ok with me for a while (while trying to get my life together), but it’s no longer a sustainable or reasonable way to attack this one life that I get. I keep listening to people who are asking questions about men and how/when we’re going to be able to move past old hurts. Not only moving past them, but really doing the work of introspection and fleshing out our feelings about things/coping methods that are helpful and do not leave us depending on our partners for resolution. This is me trying to recognize that I want to have stuff to look forward to, or get excited about and I don’t care who knows it. I don’t have to have a facade of unaffected existence (that’s ridiculous). I am allowed the space to be a real person, through and through. Real people have ups and downs, real people need others, real people know to ask for what they need.

So, as is so often for me, I’m writing this down to document the truth in these sentiments. I want good things for myself. The first step to getting those things, is to admit them, then set goals towards them. The growing pains are going to be uncomfortable. This is how I get to be a better me. Time to start living, instead of just existing.

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