Movember for those of you don’t know is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of Men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers; and associated charities.
Doing it a Little Differently
Health, if you think about it, is ephemeral in part because of its multifacetedness. If you are physically healthy but psychologically and emotionally unbalanced you are not healthy. If you are drowned in bills, not laughing, not hanging out with your friends , chances are you aren’t healthy.
With that being said I’m going to kick Movember up a couple of fuggin’ notches.
What Qualifies Me to Do this
Most importantly I have a sense of humour.
Having a sense of humor is even more important than having a pair – yes that pair. Plus I’m battle tested. I live with Sickle Cell disease and I try to be as healthy as possible because it prevents the onset of agonizing crippling pain. I’ve seen my fair share of shit. Not only am I here, I’m doing well for myself and in a good place. I got a lady. I got 3 jobs and am not Jamaican (I’m Haitian). I have found ways to cope with stress and those involve redefining very stringent definitions of health, in particular men’s. Also I’m a paradox:
Race Paradox In Mental Health
It’s a long-standing mystery in public health: despite the inarguably vast number of psychological and sociological stresses they face in the U.S., African Americans are mentally healthier than white people. The phenomenon is formally described as the “race paradox in mental health”. The paradox became apparent in the mid-1990s. Since then, an overwhelming majority of research has confirmed lower rates of most major psychiatric disorders, including depression, panic disorder, anxiety, and alcohol dependence.
O.K. Back to Business
I’m gonna give you 10 posts that will steer you towards enjoying better health. Today I am going to start with something really important: your network.
Networking now in age of economic recession and LinkedIn has so many meaning and insinuation. However what I mean to say when I talk about network are the people in your life that ground you the same way a network of roots ground the tallest and largest of trees.
Societally the last century has seen amazing new discoveries in science that has spawned this technological age. One result from this has been an increase in communication between cultures internationally, and subcultures domestically the plight of a few is can now be heard and seen. Of course it’s only logical then that as cultures change its views on many things will change. One of the views or perception which has and is under going change is the perception of masculinity and its expression societally.
In the late twentieth century we face a crisis in masculine identity of vast proportion. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary science – sociologist, anthropologists, and depth psychologists – are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole. Why is there so much gender confusion today, at least in the United States and Western Europe? it seems increasingly difficult to point to anything like either a masculine or a feminine essence.
As can be expected this, crisis of identity can lead to many problems. One way of dealing with this problems I feel is to have a network of male friends, of a variety of ages. Having that has helped me, it has grounded me but most importantly it has allowed me to benefit from the experiences of many men. Rather than rely on the media and bullshit over priced movies and someone with a graduate degree that works with ideas locked away in an ivory tower, I have my own experience put into the context of the experience of many of the men I know.
I believe that the patriarchal institutions in our present day are enforcing a version of patriarchy that is harmful to both men and women (and I could get into that if you want in another post if you dudes want), I think having a network of dudes in your life does something amazing for your psychology. For centuries before the industrial revolution men used to work together in many facets of life. Now I find personally we are cut off from one another. I think a network restore that fraternal, masculine environment that allows us (guys) to continue growing.
How do you Network ?
You’d be surprised that living in or around NYC a city with about 9 million people living in it alone and a few million people who travel in to work, it’s hard to make friends. I have found that I have met and met many friends through my hobbies. Here are some of my hobbies for example:
I think the processes of finding out what activities make you happy is a superbly important one. It has great ramifications for your well-being mentally and physically etc. I think activities also help to expose you to many like-minded individuals.
I think it is important to be grounded in who you are. I think it is also important to be in a ambiance that allows you to be able to share and talk as freely as you can without fear of recrimination. Also As I have seen, I am not the first to deal with the problems I am tackling. You’d be surprise how much insight you can get from another dude !
Give it a try!
I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who had six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family.
They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty is was, or handsome.
Wouldn’t you have loved to be that baby?
I sure wish I could wave a wand, and give every one of you an extended family – make you an Ibo or a Navaho – or a Kennedy.
Here’s A Quote from Kurt Vonnegut
… that gives an interesting take on having a network for both men and women and its ramifications
OK, now let’s have some fun. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about women. Freud said he didn’t know what women wanted. I know what women want. They want a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything.
What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn’t get so mad at them.
Why are so many people getting divorced today? It’s because most of us don’t have extended families any more. It used to be that when a man and women got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.
A few Americans, but very few, still have extended families. The Navahos. The Kennedys.
But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man.
When a couple has an argument nowadays, they may think it’s about money or power or sex, not how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this:
”You are not enough people!”
- Movember: Belfast Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir becomes a Mo Bro, seeks moustache tips (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Movember: Life Beyond Prostate Cancer (1011now.com)
- It’s Movember: Do You Have Your Mustache On? (stilettocity.com)
- Movember encourages men to talk about their health (theprovince.com)