There’s a short script and we’re playing with an image of men running – of movement. Yesterday’s rehearsal was hilarious. Five men getting together, unknown to each other, all facing a deep uncertainty about performing – and we had a great time.
— This is article #90 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
At school, my first memories of break-time were of a battleground, a jungle of wild lawlessness and personal insecurity. Perhaps we were either bullied or were the bullies – I’ll always remember that aggressive energy seeping up through the concrete. I felt very, very alone then. Women, rather than the male elders we longed for, shuffled us into lines – and the boys were always slower than the girls. Our line generally took longer to form, and it was messier.
What was your experience?
A few years ago I would NEVER have gone to any evening social event where there weren’t women. What’s the point? – No women?
I learnt something important from a man a few years ago – “Duncan” he said. “You’re needy – take that to the men.” Now, I no longer dump everything, all my thoughts and pent-up feelings, at the feet of my partner, girlfriend, wife, sister, mother… She no longer has to carry all that. Women really have been carrying enough.
Beneath the surface of my cultural mask of masculinity – which teaches me to compete against, to distrust, and to see other men as threats – lies a man looking for his brother. Of course I still feel it, at times, my resistance to stepping up and affirming another man.
‘My brother’s got my back’
I still resent his ‘success’. It takes me a long time to trust him. And why trust him when I can make my own stand against the world? Isn’t it all about what’s in it for me? Or is it about my service to others?
Am I really that important?
We men are playful, natural creatures of movement and direction and we have a great sense of humour. We like being together but we find it difficult to say that, and we love the commonality of grounded laughter at something we don’t even need to say. I love the ease we men have.
Alone, we perpetuate a mask of masculinity that encourages an outmoded idea – that vulnerability is something feminine, or weak; yet together we dance the surface of a deep, often unspoken, trust – that my brother has got my back, that these other men are actually on my team.
I’m moved by the courage that these men are showing, the trust they have in me, and am excited by how we can make things happen when we step forward and get together.
We don’t need to do it on our own.
Duncan Alldridge runs the Deep Diving Men theatre project which offers men and boys the opportunity to physically explore a sense of their masculinity and place on the male path.
To find out more about Deep Diving Men’s theatre pop-ups that will be taking place around London Waterloo on International Men’s Day, see the Deep Diving Men website and follow them on Twitter @deepdivingmen
– Picture credit:Deep Diving Men
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
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