I am mind-numbingly flooded by images of iron-pumping, gun-shooting, fast-driving façades of men. Somewhere along the way, lines got blurred. Definitions were skewed. Information was not passed down through generations.
I've cracked open many of these said men's seemingly impenetrable outer shells only to find nothing more than the strength of a newborn kitten.
My definition of man is not measured in weight: the outrageous number you can lift in the gym, the heaviness of your weapon of mass destruction, the bottomless abyss of your wallet, the heftiness of the diamond you slip on some materialistic finger.
Yet, it is measured by your ability to stoically look down the barrel of vulnerability. To adapt to unwanted change with sheer fineness. To master the art of stick-to-itiveness. To remain unmoved by the fear of commitment. To be decisively confident in your decisions -- protecting them, defending them, honoring them. To welcome the raw feelings of love, fear and rejection, pushing back at any inclination to run. To respect the ongoing strength it takes to unconditionally love. Tenacity. Persistence. Willingness. Bleeding cooperation. Gut-wrenching openness. That, in all of its God-like glory, is man.
My son will know what it means to be a man. He will know to never enter into life's cumbersome situations with his eyes or his heart closed. He will understand that a man's ability to achieve emotional maturity will long outweigh his quest for physical perfection. He will realize that superficial distractions will only lead to superficial happiness. He will understand that matters of the heart are never on-the-surface adventures, but rather the deep, infuriating, helpless journey of finding a soul that sings to his. He will recognize that it would be a grave mistake to let past misfortunes seep into future endeavors, creating a dark air of stagnant energy. He will take his role as a man seriously, as he should. Just like a woman should take her role seriously.
Please, for the love of God, put down the weights. Stop Snapchatting, Instagramming, Facebooking the façade, falsely advertising your transparent manly shell. Look inside yourself. Reflect. Battle your emotional demons. Conquer your internal fears. Paint a masterpiece, starting from your inner core. Be quiet enough to listen to what your heart has to say. And then -- and only then -- go into the world and present yourself as a man.