An excerpt from our friend Carlos Andrés Gómez’s blog Carlos Live exploring the hurricanes of emotions men conceal in their chest.
“Today is a heavy day – mere hours removed from a scary shooting outside the Empire State Building and news just now coming in of another one just south of Mexico City where my sister lives. Having lost my grandmother less than three weeks ago, it has been a heavy month. Grappling with all of the aforementioned has had me thinking a lot about how men are taught to manage grief and the extreme alienation so many feel as a result. It’s something I unfortunately know all too well.
I’ve been forced to confront a lot of grief in my life. Before I’d graduated high school, I had already lost close friends and family to gun violence, suicide, car accidents, and cancer. On most of those occasions, upon hearing the unexpected and devastating news, my focus quickly shifted from being crushed by the overwhelming grief of losing someone I loved to hastily compartmentalizing that pain and then immediately squelching how I expressed it.
I was fifteen when I heard about my closest childhood friend being killed in a car accident, and I will never forget this tremendous burden I felt to “stay strong” and “tough my way through it.” I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was hurting. I didn’t want to ask for help. I accepted it as a given that I would bottle up all of my emotions and deal with them alone. I took great pride (at the time) in the fact that I excused myself from the table to cry alone in the bathroom after my father told me the news. I never shed one tear in front of my sister and dad, and it somehow felt like undeniable proof that I was finally ready to be a man. I quietly celebrated that moment of shutting myself down emotionally, as though it were an accomplishment. I wore it like a badge of honor that I could conceal the hurricane of emotions in my chest.
Now if only I could not cry at ALL, I thought to myself, Wow, now that would be a real man.”
To read the rest of Men & Grief: Staring Down the Eye of the Storm
by Carlos Andrés Gómez click below
Watch our video with Carlos on how men and boys worldwide are speaking to one another in a language of violence…
Let’s Start Something.
Carlos Andrés Gómez
Award-winning poet, actor, and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez is a gifted storyteller with a captivating voice whose power resonates equally on the live stage and on the page. In one of his most moving spoken-word poems ‘How To Fight’ , Gómez recounts a confrontation he once had after accidentally bumping into another man at a club. Just as they were about to fight, Gómez experienced an unexplainable surge of emotion that made his eyes well up with tears. Everyone at the scene jumped back, as if his crying and showing vulnerability was as if he pulled out a grenade. Like many men in our society, Gómez grew up believing that he had to be ready to fight at all times, treat women as objects, and close off his emotional self. It wasn’t until he discovered acting that he began to see the true cost of squelching one’s emotions—and how aggression dominates everything that young males are taught. Watch Carlos’s TEDx talk ‘Man Up: The Gift of Fear’
Inspired by the award-winning poet and actor’s acclaimed one-man play, Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood is Carlos’ powerful coming-of-age memoir that redefines masculinity for the twenty-first-century male.
Now available for Pre-Order: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/man-up-carlos-andres-gomez/1110779150
Video by Dennis Lieu
Higher Unlearning is an online space for us to discuss how ideas of manhood & masculinity affect us in everyday situations and scenarios. Founded by Jeff Perera of the White Ribbon Campaign. Higher Unlearning allows for folks from all walks of life to contribute interactive articles, stories, testimonials, essays, photo essays and videos on how ideas of gender limit and impact us all in a variety of ways. Watch Jeff’s TEDx talk ‘Words Speak Louder Than Actions’.
Coming Soon: Behind The Masc with Carlos Andrés Gómez