Persistent conflicts among thinking humans, inevitably can be traced to a disagreement, recognized or not, about whether to proceed with the definition of details, and they are between one side with an interest in concealing these definitions and the other side which relies on recognizing them.
The side that is invested in concealing detail, will start conflict to derail the discussions, because that is their mode of thinking and this leaves them with no other choice.
Then, they will blame the other side for starting this conflict.
After Josh Zeolla graduated from high school, he moved in with his girlfriend. He studied audio engineering at a community college and woke each morning at 2 a.m. to make donuts at a bakery. She ran her own photography business and paid their bills.
“I dated someone who ran circles around me,” he said. “I didn’t have the ability to help her. I panicked. I put down certain things she was doing because I was supposed to be the man.”
Zeolla, now 26, said the insecurity sparked a break-up, then a downward slide. He wanted to be the provider, but he wasn’t. He didn’t look like the muscular, confident men on television. He was afraid to express the feelings that tore him up.
When his car broke down one day at the grocery store, Zeolla couldn’t afford to fix it or retrieve it from the impound lot. He wouldn’t ask anyone for money. So, he dropped out of school, lost his job and landed on a friend’s couch.
“I was paralyzed by this definition of what I had to be in my head,” he said. “I just couldn’t see how I’d ever get there.”
I found Zeolla, who lives in Rhode Island, after posting a journalistic call-out on Facebook: “Millennial guys! Would love to hear how you define masculinity.”
The whole article is sloppy. The premises are sloppy, the contemplation upon them is sloppy, so they never get re-thought, by the writer or by the interview subjects. “I was paralyzed by this definition of what I had to be.” Also, “He was afraid to express the feelings that tore him up.”
Not only does that end with a dangling preposition, it’s entirely irrelevant. I know this personally. I’ve been in this situation; is there anyone who hasn’t? If the name of the game is to keep those feelings expressed, I’m sure I did a shitty job of it. Probably did a shitty job hiding them too.
But eventually, I solved the problem and expression of feelings didn’t have anything to do with it whatsoever. Hey…we’re looking for the “stark difference between millennials and their dads”? Think we found it!
But whoosh…the point goes sailing right over everyone’s heads. Revisiting the story of this main subject, whose surname-spelling has mysteriously changed…
Zoella…recalls running out of money and food after he lost his income. He subsisted mostly on peanut butter and water, he said, because meals at homeless shelters were for, in his mind, “disadvantaged women and children, people with real problems.”
One day, he applied for a job at a customer-support call center, one near a bus route. He interviewed, got the gig and, after two years of making $10 an hour, was promoted to a director role. His anguish started to fade, he said, after he realized he was in control of his life.
“Realizing I was responsible for my opportunities,” Zoella said, “that was the point everything started turning around.”
He began to think often about social pressure, how it crushes both men and women. He realized others had harshly judged themselves, too. He calls this “his enlightenment.”
Zoella will soon join his uncle’s plumbing business. He wants to expand it with his recently acquired management skills. He’s also dating someone new.
And then…the tragic ending…for now…
“I think masculinity, for me, is about balance,” he said. “The ability to show your heart to someone and at the same time be a protector, which is what I always wanted to be to someone.”
When you think about it, this is alarming. This person’s been to the bottom rung, and back up again, deserves probably more credit than he’s managed to give himself. And learned nothing. What, according to him, did he do to solve the problem? Answering the ad, being a good employee for two years, must have had something to do with it; somehow these items managed to go without being mentioned, except as asides. And that’s a serious oversight. This is where he — as a representative of an entire generation — exerted some control.
Perhaps, with a little bit more diligent attention paid to the events and the related issues…and the spelling…all involved in the article’s publication might come to realize a jarring truth: Masculinity is not a balance. It’s a direction, as extreme as any other direction, in time or in space: Get it done, and if you don’t know how to get it done, find out how.
Do it as effectively and as efficiently as you can, because life, no doubt, has other challenges in store for you after you manage to clear this current problem. From observations like this one, come all the gifts we enjoy in life — discounting the purely natural ones, like air to breathe, and sunrises. This is where humans manage to do good stuff. And the expression of feelings is not within scope.