#realtalk I was literally afraid while drawing this. All sorts of doubts and fears ran through my head. Brought on by years of conditioning on how I should behave as a man from friends, family, and the world at large. You might be like “dude, chill out–it’s a doodle…” I’m not saying all this in some exasperated fashion. I am saying matter-of-factly that I’ve been conditioned to act like the man that I am by those who surround me/I’ve surrounded myself with…sometimes that results in positive behaviors and habits and sometimes not.

I was worried about perception. Questions like this were bouncing around in my brain:

  • Which words should I use so I don’t risk looking weak or damaging my own masculinity in the eyes of others?
  • How do I prevent someone (who is actually afraid of talking about the shit they feel, and may not even know it) from seeing this and immediately blocking it out, making fun of it in his head to protect himself from feeling, and/or totally miss the message?
  • Maybe I should draw some little funny emoji shit to make it more palatable?

Our stifled sense of muted manliness on full display here. As men we are able (or think we are able) to withstand some of the most atrocious events without blinking an eye, shedding a tear, or really talking about it in a meaningful way at all.

This attitude of manliness, “cool”ness, and “strength” isn’t helping us…it’s hurting us. Stick with me here. It aids in our misunderstanding of other people’s opinions, experiences, and POVs. When we can’t fully feel (or articulate) this shit going on with us, it makes the intellect override our empathy and reinforces all of our cognitive biases. You can be afraid to feel, just remember feelings aren’t facts and talking about them could change the world.