Man Enough is all about the real, hard, honest conversations of men. One of the hardest conversations today involves the unique challenges that Black men face in this country every day. This viral TikTok video encompasses many of the unwritten rules that Black men adhere to daily in order to avoid the risk imprisonment and physical danger. Or, in the case of George Floyd: death. These rules are commonly known to the Black community, but perhaps they’re not well-known to you. Now you know.
While many of us take for granted some of the smallest things, most Black men don’t have the same luxury. Something as simple as hanging onto your receipt for a pack of gum can be the difference in how their day goes. Most people would never bother to think twice about something so little. The worst thing they can likely imagine is that they’re wasting paper. But for many Black people, it can lead from suspicion to unnecessary imprisonment in the blink of an eye. The struggle of today is to remove those stigmas for Black people while also educating other races about how unfairly others are treated. Only then can we move ahead.
Support Black lives in your community. Please don’t remain silent anymore.
This month — OK, year — has been an embarrassment of humanity, but that should not stop us from focusing on improving ourselves. In fact, it seems like the best parts of 2020 are yet to come, and it starts with you. Most of us aren’t great at being “man enough” to show our flaws, admit our wrongs or surrender our opinions. No, we’d much rather cram them down deep, let them fester and manifest into toxic little balls we can regurgitate and spit in each other’s faces. But it’d be much better, although not as easy, to own our embarrassments, especially in light of everything happening now.
If perception is reality, then the flaws, flops and failures are what we hide in pursuit of perfection. But the reality therein is a fake, which is why we encourage you to embrace the bad with the good, be comfortable in your faults and use all parts of the buffalo by showing off that you’re man enough to look like an idiot every once in a strawberry full moon wolf eclipse.
Maybe you cross-dressed as Cruella DeVille one Halloween and made your cocker spaniel into a Dalmatian and you’ve spent every moment since then shredding the evidence. But maybe hiding isn’t the answer. Maybe we need to take a good look at our ridiculous attempts to wear fake eyelashes, appreciate what women do in service of their bodies, then have a good laugh at our regrettable decisions, shake it off and move forward.
Our Man Enough challenge to you this week is to own your biggest embarrassments. It doesn’t have to be the biggest skeleton in your walk-in closet of personal horrors, but it should be something outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to go deep, as long as it’s not too offensive or destructive to anyone but yourself (or anything that’ll get you fired or your dog surrendered).
Just be man enough to say, “Hey, this is me when I screwed the pooch. I’m better now.”
The more of us who are willing to come forward in this sharing circle and blow off some steam is not only going to make us feel better about ourselves, we’ll lift each other up and stop sweating the small stuff that weighs us down.
If we are to move forward together as a community, we’re going to have to get our hands dirty by digging up our past. And while we support our women in our collective march for equality both in race and gender, we have to remember that condemning one another will not be a lasting forgiveness. We have to let it go, learn from it and grow together, and there is no better place to start than with DIY haircuts, uncomfortable short jean shorts and that time at the water park when you didn’t realize you had on see-through shorts.
Let the purge of embarrassing riches ensue, we’re right there next to you.