I thought I had my fair share of the battle of living in a navy blue society while looking pretty in pink, but all I can say is for the few decades I have been on this earth, I have seen how it is tough being a man in these streets. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their fair share of struggles.
In our society , women are socialised to be emotional, nurturing, weak and to be helpers. Men on the other hand are socialised to be strong, courageous , fixers, providers and they can never be seen as weak and we can not even start with the idea of them crying. Crying is a sign of weakness in these streets.
Because of all these ideologies, men often find themselves always trying to figure out things and this is usually done by one bottling every single thing inside and they do not even share with even their own friends. This is because every man is out here trying to be the fixer, problem solver , provider and be the “man”.
I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts how the high numbers of men committing suicide in Zimbabwe is alarming. Yet what we say when they are gone is that they were selfish , were cowards and were not man enough. This ideal of a man never being allowed to not have a solution or to never show emotion and weakness has led to the world having a broken generation of men who seem strong outside but are broken inside.
In one week in April this year, PADARE had to counsel five men who wanted to take their own lives. Four of these men couldn’t take the fact that their wives were cheating and thought taking their own lives would ease the pain. They were not ready for the stigma and living with the pain of the love of your life breaking your heart.
But what if men often talked about their problems and would allow themselves to feel. What if crying was just something anyone can do and it didn’t matter who is crying and it wouldn’t have to be a sign of weakness.
What if we let everyone just be human and emotional. What if we would create a safe space and normalize men opening up more and share their experiences, stories and experiences. What if we never gave out a blueprint which states that a man can show weakness. The pressure of being a man is enough , now add being a son, a father, a provider , a protector among other things.
Mental health issues affect anyone, as they know no race , sex or geography. Did you know that round 1 in 10 men experience paternal postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of a child. We understand the struggle of the woman before and after child birth. However, people seem to overlook the fact that even the man also has to adjust to the changes as the woman’s emotional well being also has an effect on them.
Even after the baby comes he also has to adjust and no one was born a dad, so this means he also can stress about being a parent and being the best dad. I just hope one day the world gives these men a break and allow them to just be human and feel. I don’t care and I don’t know what they told you or what you think but yes real men cry and talk about their problems, we are just not allowing them to.