I don’t like going to the gym because I don’t like people staring at me. I’d rather not force myself to sweat in front of people who actually seem to know what they’re doing. More importantly though, I don’t go to the gym because it makes me feel less of a man.
I can always feel eyes on me, watching my every decision. Whether I’m adjusting weight or grabbing a towel, I constantly wonder how I look to other people. I want to look confident. I want people to mimic me. I want to fit in.
I’m tired of the pressure that comes with being a man, and I’m tired of people not recognizing it. There are too many unsaid rules on manhood. The masculine traditions we’ve been handed by previous generations are all bullshit, and we all know them, too.
Act tough at all times. Avoid the word “love.” Keep things to yourself — no one wants to hear it. And whatever you do, don’t cry.
Pop culture is constantly selling us the idea that men should reserve our emotions. We’re taught that it’s the man’s responsibility to step up when things go wrong. Men don’t need support — we are the support.
I’ve never been a big kid. At 140 lbs., I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. Yet even though I’m at my best, I’m always worried it might not be enough. See, in order to throw like a man, or to simply act like one, I need to stand tall and show no weakness.
Knowing that you’re not who others expect you to be is crippling.
Although it wasn’t easy, I’ve come to realize that none of it really matters. Ryan from the gym may think I’m scrawny (which is true), but it’s not like he’s thinking the same thing hours later. And if that’s the case, then Ryan has a problem.
It’s unfortunate that more people can’t look past gender stereotypes, but we can be the ones to change that. Let’s put an end to the act. Let’s be the people we want to be rather than the people we think we should be.