When does boy become man?
I am currently 52 years old and by most considerations I am a man. I am a relatively fit and healthy physically mature male person. I don’t have any gender identity issues and enjoy being a male human. I am very glad that I am well past puberty and don’t have to deal with all the confusions of adolescence again.
I have had several serious intimate relationships where I mostly felt like a mature male. I have had my manhood questioned many times and have tried to answer the question as best I could. But, so often I do not feel like a Man. My mind bubbles along like a boy.
Someone told me once to hold on to sixteen as long as I can; maybe I’ve reached my limit.
Someone else told me “gamble everything for love, it will be alright”. That didn’t work out to well, a great ride, lots of fun and a lovely adventure, but no happy ending. And, that’s a story for another time.
Maybe I should stop taking my advice from pop songs.
While I do often feel like a little boy inside some of the time, luckily it is not how I feel all of the time. Being a boy is fine, but makes living as a man difficult at times. Little boys don’t know how to navigate safely in the adult world. Little boys can be wise and strong, but have limited emotional development and poor social skills. My inner child is often frightened too scared to play with others. He sometimes puts on a brave face pops his head up to have a look around and tries to join in, smiles with a cheeky grin. People mistake him for a fool, when all he really wants is to have fun and joke around like he did when he was at school. For some reason I don’t understand some people don’t think this is cool and act quite mean and cruel.
My inner child gets scared and weary flops back into his box feels ashamed and lost.
I don’t always feel like a little boy or some old fashioned toy.
Sometimes I think that my name is Billy not Silly and I’m much to cool to be a fool.
When my inner child gets knocked around too much I withdraw inside myself and tell myself that I need to be stronger, present a friendlier more happy go lucky version of myself, someone smooth and cool. This feels like my inner ‘twenty-something’.
When the young man bounces into life to take control of my personality It’s like being taken on a ride by a blind man who can’t drive, or a unruly immature teenager full of bravado and nonsense; either way I’m bound to crash. It’s all abut the fun, looking out for number one, trying to be friends with everyone, and ends up like a blister in the sun.
The young man inside is always struggling with an internal battle while trying to maintain a certain image and appearance. Appearance is everything my only concern this billy is in play. It’s all about looking good, being cool and being relaxed night and day. All this struggle can make me tense and I often need things to help relief the stress. But, when billy’s got the reigns the trip can go a little too far and end up a horrid mess.
While I do spend a lot of time being led around by boys inside my head.
I can sometimes reach into my heart and find that part of me kind and generous , someone who glad just to be me.
I do actually often feel like a well rounded person with both male and female characteristics and do enjoy displaying my feminine side whenever I get the opportunity, which isn’t that often. I’ve had some fabulous female role models and some strong male role models who know how to be full people and who do not allow themselves to be defined or restricted by their gender or typical gender roles. I do my best to follow their example.
I’ve had a very fortunate life, which doesn’t mean I’ve always found living easy, I haven’t. I was lucky to grow up in a very nice middle class suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I grew up in very safe surroundings in a very secure economic period. I was also very lucky to grow up in a loving home with an extended family. My mother’s parents, my grandparents lived with us for most of my childhood until I was about twenty. They were a great influence on my life and I loved them dearly. My grandfather Tom was my hero and a fabulous male role model. My grandmother Mary was everything you would expect from a loving grandma and she was a fantastic role model for me also. Looking back on it, my gran would be my biggest influence on my life. My grandma, Mary O’Brien, was sweet, caring, reliable, firm when she needed to be, and always showed me unconditional love. My Gran wasn’t mine alone, while obviously she was a beautiful caring mother to her daughters and her other grandchildren, she became Gran to many others. My friends knew her has Gran as did the friends of my cousins. One trait that I know I have formed from my grans influence is her love to socialise, make friends, and to have a chat. My greatest joy is having full and meaningful conversations. I don’t think I will be remembered as fondly as my grandma was and I don’t think my funeral will be as a big affair as gran’s was. At gran’s funeral in true reflection of who she was the chapel was full to over flowing and it included well-wishes from nearly every shopkeeper in her main street, it was an amazing and wonderful event.
In different times with different social morays I think now maybe (with the power of hindsight) would be happy being a house-husband. That term did not exist when I grew up and is only now considered a viable option for a man to pursue. I think I would like to be a kept man looking after the kids and household duties, as long as I had the opportunity to pursue creative pursuits or work options as they arose. Unfortunately i have never had children and haven’t had a stable long-term relationship, so, I haven’t yet discovered if this fantasy would work out in reality.
I still hope to create my own form of family someday soon, this will probably not include my own biological children and probably will not look like a conventional marriage, but, families can be whatever we make them and want them to be.
when I refer to my feminine side I refer to those stereotypical characteristics we have traditionally deemed to be more female than male. traits like being soft and caring, nurturing, expressive and considerate communicators. The notion that only women can and do display these traits is ridiculous. Similarly, men have traditionally been designated stereotypical male characteristics, such as; strength (which many men confuse with being tough), being stoic – keeping feelings to himself, being “capable”, and being the “bread winner”. None of these old fashioned ideas or labels based on nonsensical stereotypes are useful to individual men and women or society as a whole. I know that I have subconsciously absorbed some of these norms and over the years tried to consciously attempted to form my own gender neutral identity while still being a proud man, this hasn’t always been easy .
Through my teenage years and in my twenties, and perhaps still today, I presented as a cool, relaxed laid-back individual, without a care in the world. While at school, and a little beyond I was often bursting with a lot of teenage angst, and a typical rebellious youth – a rebel without a clue. As I got slightly older I began to internalize the angst and toned down the rebellious attitude, I had nothing to rebel against anyway. I think in some ways I have maintained a rebellious attitude, I’m not actually actively rebelling against anything, but, don’t like to see myself as part of the “mainstream” (whatever that may mean), I don’t seam to fit into the 9 to 5 world (not sure if that’s rebellious), I am not overly concerned about collecting lots of pretty possessions and I would much rather deal with and try to resolve societal issues or problems (as I perceive them) from the outer than from within.
I learnt that being an angry young man is fine when you are young and when that anger is displayed appropriately. Like most modern middle class Aussie men, who really don’t have much to be angry about, it seemed that it was only acceptable to display anger on the sports field or when we are drunk; and I was drunk a lot. I did learn eventually that expressing my anger inappropriately could be a dangerous activity, and getting in trouble or beaten up is bad for my health. So, I am no longer an angry young man, and am now a mostly pleasant fellow who tends to be a grumpy old man (even though I am just middle-aged).
For much too long I’ve been angry, and mostly kept it inside, I’d usually only display it home alone or where I thought no-one else could see. I was angry at the world and would try to blame everyone else for my mistakes, mishaps and miseries. After many years of consulting doctors, counsellors, witches and wisemen I’ve learnt that anger is a fine emotion to express, but as a well-rounded person we need to be able to express the full range of emotions including sadness, which most Aussie men are reluctant to try. I think many man bottle up their feelings and because anger seems the only acceptable emotion, especially for those of us who striving to appear strong (tough) and / or cool, anger bursts out whenever it finds a chance.
One of the things I pride myself on is my intellect. I’ve always thought I am quite an intelligent person even though I shunned this as a child, and have never really tested my intelligence or put it to any use or practical worth. I think that I’ve been lucky that I have a strong sense of logic balanced with even-handedness and a keen sense moral sensibility.
I have spent a great deal of time grooming and perfecting a practical and logical lifestyle, not too complicated by foolish emotions.
I am a big Star Trek fan and really appreciate the Vulcan characters, especially the original Mr Spock. I also particularly like the character Data an android in the TV series Star Trek Next Generation. I like these characters because while the Starship Enterprise boldly goes where know Man has gone before characters like Spock and Data are trying to comprehend the complicated illogical behaviours of their colleagues, while exploring the strange contradictions embedded within the Human Condition. The confusing complexities of living as a fully functioning human fascinates me and sometimes flaws me and spins my head till I fall down and can’t get up.
When I grow up I want to be an old man.
I’ve gazed into my navel for hours on end and haven’t yet been able to see my future. I do have grand desires and things I hope to achieve before my time has past. I am not driven by ambition and I am not a goal-orientated person, so, this makes planning a difficult concept for me. It may be slightly foolish, or even childish, when I think of the future I tend to think, `whatever will be, will be`, and let things fall where they may. This does not mean I do not have hopes and dreams for myself as I get older, I just have not worked out a plan on how reach what I want.
My dream has always to be a Grandfather, not necessarily a grandfather in a biological sense, but more like an Elder, community leader or maybe a Chief.
If I was earn the honour finally being considered wise and mature enough to thought of as an Elder I know I would need to be able to fit certain criteria and have certain characteristics that make me outstanding and worthy of being a gracious leader.
The Elder figure I have dreamed up would strong human attributes and be linked with a higher Spirit. As an Elder I would want to be in tune with the spiritual realm, be able to take wisdom and ideas from all sources available and be kind and welcoming to all. If I was an elder or chief I would also like to have a totem to help guide me and helps me see what it is I need to see. My totem would be a Golden Hawk.
The golden hawk, is an exceptional mythical powerful bird, it represents many things;
Gold: – – riches and wealth, power and beauty; –
A valued element sought after and desired by many.
Gold is a pure element, a metal found in rock. This keeps The Chief linked to the Earth and somewhat grounded.
Gold; – has ancient symbolism with it’s power of the shining sun.
My Golden Hawk
The Hawk is strong and powerful and can be a fierce predator as well as a proud defender of it’s territory.
However, despite their fierce reputations, some hawks are quiet and gentle.
A highly intelligent animal who prefers to spend a great deal of time alone and is a solo hunter, often hawks will generally mate for life, and are strongly attached to their nesting territory.
With a graceful freedom, flying high, untouchable, the hawk can go about it’s business with ease, in style.
With such amazingly keen senses led by powerful vision the hawk can see well into the distance with great clarity and focus.
He circles the skies knowing his chance will come to pursue his quest.
The hawk as a spirit animal or totem has several attributes and are sometimes thought to be the messenger of the spirit world.
They use the power of focus enabling them to see clearly into many different realms. The hawk likes to take the lead when the time is right or a suitable invitation offered.
A man who is bestowed the honour of this fantastic creature as his totem is said to be the holder of much wisdom, and spiritual power.
Chief Golden Hawk, is such a man.
He is greatly respected by all that know him. Although rarely seen, Golden Hawk has greater strength, than the mightiest of young warriors.
He has developed a powerful wisdom, enhanced by the spirit of the Earth and his people. Golden Hawks’ potential was realised from a early age, and he was taught the ways of his land and his people, by many wise medicine men and Sharman.
He was taught to respect the Earth and all its occupants. He learnt how to protect himself and his Brothers and Sisters, but to only use physical force to rival a brutal attack.
And yet with all this Golden Hawks’ greatest ability and power is peaceful negotiation
This is who I hope to be when I grow up: A man of true beauty, powerful – simply by being self-assured in my own strength and acknowledging my weaknesses, being able give and receive love and to be able to create space for others to be themselves feeling safe and welcomed.
If I was to become a Man as well rounded as my fictional future persona Chief Golden Hawk I would be accepting and inclusive to all my internal characteristics.
I think a mature man includes and welcomes the youth and the boy into his world, influence his thoughts and his actions; a wise man knows when and how to best utilize their talents and when to ignore their destructive traits.
I think when a man becomes comfortable and secure in being a boy he feels more comfortable in his place or role in society and in turn the community whole view of him. When all is one, one is for all.