[New Masculinity] • Writing about the new masculine is going to be a wild ride. It’s a big role to play and I feel called to fully invest myself. My nature is to recognize synchronicities. Already, my universe seems to be conspiring to hit me with questions and lessons for exploration in this forum.
I spent the past weekend at a Re-Evaluation Counseling workshop with more than fifty crying men of all ages, races, classes, sexualities and levels of ability. A bunch of guys playing and crying together, using RC counseling techniques to dismantle the oppression of being shoe-horned by society into playing the agents of oppression. RC is a powerful practice and I consider it, or something like it which addresses foundational grief, to be an integral part of any balanced spiritual diet. If we don’t cry together regularly we just get stupid.
The entirely friendly experience of the weekend workshop was a profound contradiction to events in my weekday life which have been reinforcing the old masculine archetype of warring isolation. I’ve been working with a band from Boston on a project that is near and dear to me. The week before the workshop the band decided to screw me over. Kicked me out of my own show and stopped speaking to me, claiming the show as their own and removing my name from the website. All this after the promotional materials had been distributed in my family’s hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The reasons for my ouster are convoluted and strange. It’s either because I’m incompetent, or because I’m an asshole, or because they put their manager in charge of the production and he couldn’t work with me. It’s all been humiliating, and frustrating and exhausting. I’ve been left to wonder if it’s worth taking out a loan to hire a lawyer to try and stop them from doing the show or just to walk away. I need to protect my turf, right? But do I want to wallow in the muck of battle? It’s the sort of thing which might bring out the furious turf-warrior in any of us and, I must admit, I still flirt with fantasies of orchestrating their annihilation. But, as a wise friend once said to me, nursing fantasies like these is like taking poison and hoping for someone else to die.
It’s amazing what two and a half days of crying will do for you. I’m still determined to protect my interests but I don’t feel so much like a revenge machine craving blood. I have a little bit more room to make a choice about how I want to respond. I have a little bit more intelligence to recognize what is going on, and figure out how to play it, and dance with it. I can turn it into art. I can fight with the band from Boston, and enjoy it. If I enjoy it I’m less likely to be scared, and if I’m not scared I’m more likely to fight with honor. The band is, after all, a bunch of men who are also wounded. In the context of this conflict, it may turn out that the crucial difference between us is that I have cried my way to a stronger position from which to compete with them. I will neither accept exile, nor will I lose my sense of humor, and that’s because I did a lot of crying this weekend.
How cool is that? A fer-cryin’-out-loud samurai!
Perhaps we need each other to cry and rage with before we can stride calmly into battle unconfused about what and who we are meeting. Mutual vulnerability among men might be a primary aspect of the new masculine. It could also be a source of the sort of power which the old masculine sought to achieve by other means; that thought is profoundly comforting to me.
Please take a moment to check out the latest Shmushkin demo of a song I wrote for this article. You can download it below. The song is a very short selection from a larger work-in-progress called The Ego $tole The Oracle.Tweet