From the moment a baby boy is born he is only after one thing. Maybe his parents will cradle him in their arms and hold him to their chests, appreciating his delicateness and warmth. Maybe he will be safe and loved, honoured in his perfect imperfection, or perhaps he will be left to cry alone, born addicted to drugs or into a million other less than desirable scenarios: it won’t change what he is after though, because he’s only after one thing.
Within days he might be given his first football jersey, if not it’s almost certain that he will be dressed in blue. If he’s lucky it might be a year or two before someone tells him to ‘man up’ and stop crying. He will learn to wipe away his tears and soon enough he will learn to hold it all inside. He will do what he needs to do because he’s only after one thing.
He might hold on to his sensitivity for a while. You will see it when he caresses a newborn baby’s face, tenderly tucks his teddy bear in or cries when his favourite cartoon character faces a tough moment. If he does manage to hold onto his sensitivity it won’t be long before he starts being asked to change. He will hear the words ‘mummy’s boy,’ ‘baby,’ ‘soft’ and ‘sensitive,’ and because he is so sensitive he will know that none of these words is a compliment. He will look to the men in his life to find out how to be in this world because he only wants one thing.
When he goes to school he will learn to play the class clown, the good student, the sportsman or the troublemaker. When he shows his sensitive side he might hear new words; words like ‘gay,’ ‘sissy,’ ‘pussy,’ ‘wuss.’ He won’t even need his sensitivity to know that these words mean trouble this time. If he’s smart he will start calling other boys these names – the openly sensitive ones may even find their faces in contact with his fists. Either way, he will find a way through because he’s only after one thing.
Puberty arrives. His voice breaks, it is time to “be a man.” Girls are interesting again for a whole new host of reasons. Pornography is old news as it is more than likely that he has seen it all before. If he feels attracted to women he may find the world of sex and stimulation exciting and if he has already sensed that ‘gay’ is not a slur but a label for his natural way of expressing in relationship he may struggle to come to terms with it all. Either way he is only after one thing.
He or his partner might struggle with body image. He may look to sports’ stars or celebrities to inform him of his worth and standing. Life is a competition that he is subconsciously choosing to win or lose. He will stoically face the stresses of everyday life, arguments, jobs, money, family. If he cracks he will try to keep it on the down low. If things get really bad he will end it all rather than open up and talk about it. The world has already made it clear that his natural sensitivity is something to be ashamed of and after all, he’s only after one thing.
The more I get to know men and boys, the more I see how deeply tender and sensitive they are. I have spent much of my life despairing over the fact that men seemed to be “after only one thing”… until I began to realise that men are after the same thing that every woman is after.
I now have men in my life that have reconnected to their divine essence. These men respect their natural sensitivity; they cry when they feel sad and they express how they feel. They have shown me what a true man is.
The presence of these men in my life has been deeply healing and eye opening to say the least. As the realisation of the true sensitivity of men comes to light, the horror of the competition, war, greed and violence that is very much a part of our false construction of modern masculinity is exposed for the lie that it is. It is time we started to appreciate the true power of men who can express their great love and sensitivity because in truth, we all want only one thing.
To live truly free to express the love that we are.
By Leonne Sharkey, Melbourne