I’m a man. Standing at only 5’3″, yet still I’ve always somehow been able to stand taller than most who claim to be “men.”
In lue of all the rape and harassment being brought to the surface across the nation, and hopefully soon across the world, it’s made me reflect long and hard on any and all mistakes I’ve made in terms of the women in my life.
I know, with painful certainty, that at some point or another I’ve caused a young girl or girls to feel uncomfortable and belittled in my youthful ignorance. Just because I admit that, and know that I was indeed young and ignorant, that doesn’t excuse the behavior. To you girls, I’m truly and deeply sorry for not being able to understand early on that we’re all human. I’m sorry for any pain I caused you and worst of all for any doubt I may have caused you to feel about yourself.
I know I’ve made mistakes in terms of relationships. I cheated on one girlfriend, and hated the feeling. I knew I didn’t deserve her as soon as it happened.
Have I ever taken advantage of someone or harassed them sexually or physically? No.
“But Gustavo, won’t bringing this up make you look bad? Don’t you want to at least take an easier route or something?”
It’s not about looking good or looking bad. It’s about truth. And as a man, albeit I’m an ethnic man, I still have somehow drawn into an invisible luck that women in this world haven’t been privy to.
If you call yourself a “man” but still find the thought of taking advantage of a women pleasing, then guess what, you’re not a man. If you think that people who speak up for their rights or speak out against abusers are “weak” or “whinny,” guess what, not a man.
“But…this isn’t stuff we should talk about…”
YES IT IS! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT and it needs to be now, never should it’ve been “never.”
Men and boys, need to be held accountable for their actions and mistakes. This needs to be talked about with everyone. Being a “man” should’ve never been an excuse to be immune to your selfish actions.
Now’s your chance. Take genuine time to think long and hard about anything and everything you’ve ever thought or wanted to do or done to a woman. And instead of finding stupid reasons as to why it “isn’t” your fault; take a long hard look in the mirror, look yourself dead in the eyes and admit the fault you had/have.
Take away that false entitled title of being a “man” and work to understand the constant neglect of your humanity society has blindly afforded you. Women, and anyone else who’ve you’ve been allowed to be considered “beneath” you, are all human beings. That’s the point. We need to destroy the barriers and stereotypes associated with discussing things we consider taboo/forbidden but some still push to get away with behind closed/lock/underground doors.
You don’t get to use the excuse that you “hate yourself” to make someone else feel the same way.
I had a very dark and depressing childhood. I first thought of attempting suicide at the age of 8. Think about that, why is that any way for an 8 year old to feel? Before that, I loved myself. I loved life. But after that, it all changed and I was filled with more neglect, anger, frustration, self-loathing and anything negative you can think of.
I spent much of my youth with “girlfriends” because I thought that giving someone else the love I never got to know would somehow refill that love within me. And I ended up hurting those ladies by breaking their hearts or not knowing how to express myself so I made it into a “them” issue.
After awhile I began to “hate” “them” for my failed plan. I became selfish and in high school, while with one of the sweetest girlfriends I’d had for a while, I made the choice to cheat on her because I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with what I was feeling, or thought I was feeling.
I’m, and I’ve always been, a very open and emotional/sensitive person. But my home life was the opposite. I was TOLD I had to be a certain way and act a certain way and live a certain way. Impossible standards because I didn’t know how to be anyone besides who I was. From age ten on to about 24 the self-hatred and mistrust festered.
And all those mistakes I made, I own up to. Was it easy to do? No. But, I did it. I admitted them to myself. I looked at myself in the mirror, found that lost little boy and made him understand the depth of his mistakes.
It doesn’t at all excuse any of them. But my admitting to mine hopefully grants any cowardly men to admit to their wrongs, not just for their sake but for the sake of any and all victims.
Instead of trying to follow leaders who claim to be “men,” I think it’s well past the time we learn from the example of the many strong women and admit the darkness we’ve undoubtably taken part in with shaping our world.
Here’s a good way to work to change your ignorant ways: If you have a thought that could degrade or hurt a woman, write it down, take it home and tell it to your mom. Still think it’s a good idea to have?
The change that needs to happen starts with all of us.