When I was a child it seemed so simple: I wanted to become my father. But then he was torn away and I was left alone, abruptly bereft of guidance on a road where people expected me to know my way. I fumbled around, thinking violence and bravado were the answer to what I sought, but I was a fool, and then I believed respect would earn my passage, but that too fell short.
Perhaps the true goal of becoming a man is to sire children, to see them grow up proud and strong, to hold grandchildren on your knee and have them touch your wrinkles, learning from all you know. For this to be true would mean my father failed, as have so many others along the way. It must be more.
My father had large hands, powerful from the work he did all day, and his temper was as mighty as my own. And yet I cannot remember a single instance of him raising a hand against me, nor ever fearing his wrath. Did this make him a man? Did he feel satisfied? When his final moment arrived was he able to look at what he had become and smile?
On the other end of the spectrum I recall a man, the son of my mother’s friend, who built up a family: a wife, daughter and son. Their life was idyllic to all who saw it from the outside, and yet he killed himself, stringing his body from the rafters of their home so his wife and children walked in to see it still twitching. Did he feel a failure as a man, or was his selfishness so complete as to counter all other sensation? All I know is he became the compass-point I shunned, the lifestyle antithesis of all I wanted, and as such his death held a purpose for me, an indicator of what I shouldn’t succumb to.
Not that my life has been easy in my search to become a man, and deep inside my insecurities still scream like a lonely child, and yet I’m here despite experiencing the same desolation of self I’m sure that man did, and I feel stronger every day as a result. Does this make me a man; to have faced down my own shortcomings and failures and pushed beyond them? I honestly don’t know, but the journey still feels incomplete, and so I march on.
Some believe money is the answer; a fiscal indicator of life’s worth. If that is so I must have failed, for I care nothing for money, much as I would prefer it otherwise. How else do you explain a man with my capabilities doing the work I have done for so long? Stupidity cannot be ruled out, I guess….
No, I’ve come to believe the real measure of a man is not one single thing, not a destination or status where you know you are there. Rather it is a journey seeking an answer. Those who think they know are wrong, those who stand confused are right and the contradiction of our lives goes on.
When I grow up, I wanna be special, to stand out from the crowd, but in order to do that I need to learn from those who came before me and grow up just the right way.
I need to remember that this kid:
Ended up being this dude:
And this seemingly innocent baby:
Tragically resulted in this adult:
But not all adult issues begin in the crib. For instance, this kid was just beginning to mature when this happened:
Imagine the issues he’ll have in later life.
Bad parenting is also a huge determining factor in how any kid will end up in later life:
But that’s all stuff therapists can work on in later life. Some things can’t be changed, though. Sexual orientation, for instance, is decided much earlier than many people would have us believe:
Neither is wrong, but either will dramatically dictate a guy’s life. Another thing which will affect adulthood will be a violent nature. Violence in early life may seem harmless, but could point to issues which will manifest more devastatingly in later life. Simple things like this:
May result in one of the most feared adult conditions of all time:
But such a thing is rare. More common criminal activities can also be picked up at an early age:
Thankfully things aren’t the same for a kid today the way they were years ago:
No, I think what I need to do is train hard:
Study my butt off to become as smart as possible:
Work on my style:
And only then will I achieve my goal of becoming the man I want to be when I grow up: