I Woke Up Like This

For Anyone Who Doesn't Love Who They Are

I Woke Up Like This #48: Cry more, talk less, and listen more.

This guy is a pal of mine I met through Shakespeare in the park. Off the bat; I recognized the he was aware of his masculinity and confident in his interests. He also has strong roots in his Italian culture and ideals. He is a true mixture of how gender is represented and I love that about him. I think we need more male identified people pushing back at the expectations of masculinity. While I spend much of my time fighting for womens rights, I also pay very close attention to the expectations of males as well. It's always interested me. In high school, I found out that most mass shooters are male. An alarming amount. As I grew older, I researched why. In sociology books, in books I could get my hands on from the library, my gender studies book.

Men are seen as weak if they display passive emotional responses to challenging mental stimuli. They learn to repress their emotions in ways that harm them, just to conform. As do women, as we often play passive to survive. These rigid expectations are one of my focuses with this project as much as it is about body diversity. I want to display, via research and photographs, that your gender doesn't have define you. That gender is not only assigned, but that the roles we are shuffled into as a result can be damaging. We cannot all fit in a one size fits all mold that society expects us to conform to. 

And with that, I challenge you to think about your gender identity. Cis (not trans) or trans. Think about how it defines who you are. Ask yourself is this me or expectation and would I be happier doing something else? Would I be more free?

Be free. Be kind to one another. And enjoy this bit about my theatre pal.

Love,
Jillian

How would you rate your self-esteem 1-10?
7

How do you define self-esteem?
To me, self esteem isn't as much about liking who you are as a person. It's more about feeling like a moral person that has qualities desirable to someone else. 

What parts of your body do you like and dislike?
I feel like my head is too small. I'm also balding way to early. My hands dry out pretty bad in winter. Like, they turn red and crack and bleed. I'm a super tactile person. Touch is probably my favorite sense out of the five so I get worked up being afraid of someone touching my hands and them being scaly. I just really want people to feel comfortable and my mind tells me that it would make someone uncomfortable. 

I like my arms they have good shape and they are long. I'm all about practicality. Long arms means more opportunities to get things and reach weird places. I just feel empowered realizing all the stuff they can do and they look pretty good (to me anyway) while doing it. I also just like my face a lot in general. I act in my spare time, so I spend a lot of time in mirrors making faces. My eyebrows are expressive and my facial hair comes in fairly nice. My eyes are probably my most versatile feature there. I know how to look at some one lovingly, in a sincere way or a creepy way, or sardonically, and thats just one look! I work on many looks for each character.

What parts of your body do you like and dislike?
I feel like my head is too small. I'm also balding way to early. My hands dry out pretty bad in winter. Like, they turn red and crack and bleed. I'm a super tactile person. Touch is probably my favorite sense out of the five so I get worked up being afraid of someone touching my hands and them being scaly. I just really want people to feel comfortable and my mind tells me that it would make someone uncomfortable. 

I like my arms they have good shape and they are long. I'm all about practicality. Long arms means more opportunities to get things and reach weird places. I just feel empowered realizing all the stuff they can do and they look pretty good (to me anyway) while doing it. I also just like my face a lot in general. I act in my spare time, so I spend a lot of time in mirrors making faces. My eyebrows are expressive and my facial hair comes in fairly nice. My eyes are probably my most versatile feature there. I know how to look at some one lovingly, in a sincere way or a creepy way, or sardonically, and thats just one look! I work on many looks for each character.

How are you impacted by gender norms?
I should explain the culture I grew up in shapes my opinions in a less conventional sort of way. My grandparents are off the boat Italians and I'm the only male in my generation. I don't know if you know anything about Roman Catholicism, especially in an Italian family, but since the day I was born there was the assumption that if my father or aunt were not around; it would be on me to take care of my family. Provided that I was at an age to work. On top of that, everything goes to me in the will because I'm the only one that can pass on the family name (in their eyes at least). And from there I'd have to distribute that to the others.

I grew up surrounded by women. From my five foot nothing Nonna to my no-nonsense mother. Then there is my lovely sister. My sister is my prettier best friend. I learned that I'd have to work hard and eventually raise and provide for a family. As my Nonna likes to say, "find a nice Italian girl".  My father? Well, we just butt heads on everything. He wasn't as close to his sister as I am to mine. To be honest, from an early age, I've never really like how my dad talks to women or children or me or really anyone. Maybe its the generation gap...but I always thought he sounded rude or entitled. I don't mean to talk shit about the guy! Yes, he is my Dad. But. I am 25 years old and I don't really feel like my dad has thought that anything I say or do as particularly meaningful or competent. I can think of a bunch of times he has made me feel inferior. I hate how much I bask when I get even a backhanded complement from him. I don't know...I just don't think I should go out of my way to love and to respect a person when they have done only the bare minimum of societies expectations to love. My father was my example growing up. I saw someone who cared about his feelings more than others and I decided that I won't be that. I feel like I see so many men like that and I pity them in a way. I just don't think true happiness ever exist for people who have a narrow worldview. You can be so certain of something that you never notice the things that can make you the happiest or healthiest could be just one culture or conversation or book away. 

Which of those ways is the most damaging to male identified people?
Spoiled men children who think its their God given right to whine and complain about stuff that makes them unhappy. Who then laugh it off when someone expresses to them, "Hey! That's not fucking ok!". It's amazing how we treat those below or outside of our station. I can describe watching men who think less of women. It's like a guy who drinks beer after spending all day in the desert. Fellas I implore you take women seriously. They are the single greatest untapped well of labor and brain power on the planet. I think the job of anybody alive is leave it nicer than you found it. EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE AND NO ONE SHOULD ARGUE OTHERWISE.

How do you feel about masculinity? As an expectation for all men? 
I think its unrealistic. Not every boy wants to grow up to be a sole provider for the house. I think, in every sense, you and your partner should play to your strengths. You should work together to shore up your position. A lot men grow up thinking they are going to be in charge by default. This leads to entitlement and controlling behavior. I see that as a waste. I want a partner who CHALLENGES ME and I challenge her and we do our best together to sort out the issues whether it social, fiscal, or emotional. Men need to stop assuming you they are suffering more then anyone else. You have your own personal understanding of suffering and no one should demean that for anybody. Cry more, talk less, and listen more.

Are there any parts of you that don't seem to match up with societies expectations as a man? I don't like sports, cars, or being in authority. 

Are you a feminist?
Yassssss!