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i am a man

As I sit in my classroom, I can hear students lining up outside to get the H1N1 shot at the makeshift clinic they’ve set up in the empty classroom across the hall.

And I hear things like:

“Shoot, I’m not scared of no shot.” And
“If you cry, I’mma laugh at you.” Or
Don’t be a pussy, be a man.”

And it saddens me, because I’m a man and
I haven’t cried since I don’t know when, and
sometimes it’s all I want to do.

I held her hand as my grandmother died
And all in the room, but I,

I see the news on the TV, read it in the paper, hear it on the radio –
Rape, murder, kidnapping, racism,
hatred, disease, plane crashes, car crashes,
natural disasters…
Story after story of death, loss, and heartache.

I want my eyes to water; I will the tears to come.
And they don’t.

But if this is supposed to show that I am a man,
then why do I feel like something is missing!?

I always though that I could be a man by watching football with my boys, grilling steaks, and drinking beer JUST the same as playing dolls with my daughter or singing her to sleep.

That is to say, my future daughter…because I have also always thought that being a man meant being sure I can handle the responsibilities of life before risking taking them upon myself.

See, right now I am more concerned that I won’t cry
When my children are born or my parents die.

Suffering from what I have to call emotional constipation is becoming a burden that I no longer wish to carry. I want to try, tears that show I am a man because I feel and hurt and care; tears that show I am a man because God has called me to help others before myself.

But they just won’t come.

So as far as I’m concerned, when being a man means I’m no longer allowed to cry, or feel pain or emotion…I guess I’m just going to have to find a new way to define myself.

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