I am a Boy

In all the cities in modern times, have
births and death rates inclined.
I was born in this ridiculous time,
as for being special – I was just fine.

I was born in the evening
of a crisp winter day.
With some folks looking down, smiling,
while I cried and bawled away.

I was told by everyone since then –
That I was born to take care of them all,
when I couldn’t even speak,
it was demanded that I stand tall.

When I learned to walk,
it was celebrated by all.
And I was asked to carry,
heavy books every winter, summer & fall.

It was for my own good,
that’s what I was told.
Because I have to be prepared
for a world so ruthless & bold.

I ran and played outside,
various games with other boys.
And when I came back inside,
I had video games and toys.

When I fell down and was hurt,
I wanted to cry from the pain –
so new on my fragile skin,
“Don’t be such a girl”, they said and so I was trained.

When I grew up a little more,
and had my heart broken for the very first time,
it was other kind of pain that I felt,
in this fragile heart of mine.

I wanted to yell and cry even then,
to unburden myself of this lament.
But people said to shut up & lie.
To BE A MAN, and “Men don’t cry”!

I married and had a home,
and silently I worked –
to provide for my parents & wife,
unappreciated, every day from then – in my life.

When I toiled through the day,
bearing insults & remarks that were snide,
I came home eventually,
to listen to more demands & about women’s rights.

I found myself once watching funeral rites,
stoically I stood my ground with other men.
While the dear one was lost,
and all the women cried.

We were told that men are heartless,
because women can but men don’t cry.
And we listen, smile and nod,
and again go to work in order to provide –
all the while smiling yet crying a river inside.

“Women’s life is difficult” or so it’s said,
and I do not dispute that one bit.
But I also wish to say about what above is said –
it’s also not so easy – to be a MAN instead.

And that is my life,
from the day I am born.
I am asked to be brave, sensitive, witty even coy,
because the world reasons – I am a boy.

4 thoughts on “I am a Boy”

  1. Well written verse.

    I sometimes wonder whether general male violence, philandering, sexism and controlling behavior toward girls/women is related to the same constraining societal idealization of the ‘real man’ (albeit perhaps more subtly than in the past)?: He is stiff-upper-lip physically and emotionally strong, financially successful, confidently fights and wins, assertively solves problems, and exemplifies sexual prowess.

    Perhaps we need to be careful what we wish for. After all, I recall that, shortly after Donald Trump was sworn-in as president, a 2016 survey of American women — conducted not long after his abundant misogyny was exposed to the world — revealed that a majority of the respondents nonetheless found attractive his alpha-male great financial success and confidence. …

    As a teen, I knew two of the toughest, testosterone-laden and, like myself, straight guys around (whom I always tried to emulate), who also cherished their pet cats, though privately. Given the tough-guy environment of that place and time, however, no male would have dared openly express his cat enthusiasm to his large peer group, lest he seriously risk having his reputation permanently besmirched as ‘a wuss’. Even today, three and a half decades later, that ‘real man’ masculinity mentality may not have diminished much. Perhaps revelatory is the June 24, 2020, Toronto Now article headlined “Keep Cats Out of Your Dating Profile, Ridiculous Study Suggests” and sub-headlined “Men were deemed less masculine and less attractive when they held up cats in their dating pics, according to researchers”. A bit too sensitive for the ladies?

    The author of The Highly Sensitive Man writes (pg.13 & 14): “So it seems everyone is talking about a ‘crisis in masculinity.’ It is a crisis marked by men’s insecurity about their role in society, their identity, their values, their sexuality, their careers, and their relationships. At the same time, academics are telling us that ‘we know far less about the psychological and physical health of men than of women.’ Why is this? Michael Addis, a professor of psychology and a leading researcher into male identity and psychological health, has highlighted a deficit in our knowledge about men suffering from depression and argues that this has cultural, social, and historical roots.
    If we look at whether gender affects how people experience depression, how they express it, and how it’s treated, it quickly becomes clear that gender has for a long time referred to women and not to men. According to Addis, this is because, socially and historically, men have be en seen as the dominant group and thus representative of normal psychological health. Women have thus been understood as the nondominant group, which deviated from the norm, and they have been examined and understood from this perspective. One of the countless problems of this approach is that the experiences and specific challenges of the ‘dominant group,’ in this case men, have remained hidden. …”

    Like

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