To be THE MAN by @Al_Patron
The answer to my own question should be simple: everybody but the answer is himself. Some may see that as a detriment, I relish in the fact. I’ve been learning the difference between burden & responsibility lately. A burden is some shit that you have to take care of that you’d rather not but it won’t go away until you do. A responsibility is some shit you have to take care of that you want to take care of because you care about it so much that you would rather take care of it before it goes away.
Everybody thinks they want to be the man until they realize what the man goes thru to be considered THE MAN.
My grandfather left my family behind in Haiti to come to America in search of a better life for them. Essentially he told them, “I’ll send for you when I get my money up & shit situated.” And that’s exactly what he did without complaining or ever saying how hard it was. He didn’t look at his responsibility as a burden and that is what it means to be THE MAN.
I would make every responsibility a burden, my own & especially if it concerned others because my head was so far up my own ass that the only shit I cared about was my own. I want to be the person people rely upon to help point them in the right direction with their issues, whether they think they want to cuz I’ve NEEDED help in my life more than just about anyone I know, so I know how to recognize who needs it. I want to be there for them cuz I know how embarrassing and helpless it feels to think nobody is there for you. That’s a responsibility I’m choosing, not a burden I’m neglecting because I’m THE MAN.
I’ve been thru so much shit in my life, that I can “handle” (I’m not a farm animal) anything that comes my way. Whereas someone might touch a stove and burn their hand, I’d tell them to fall back while I take the brunt of that burn for them cuz I know I can deal with it. I don’t want to be a superhero but I want to be someone people believe in because we all need that. Growing up how I grew up, I wasn’t built to ask for help because we would create what we lacked. Ingenuity is birthed from poverty; we had our own meals, games, slang and everything. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve applied this attitude to everything, including people and that’s fucked up. That’s not how the world works with feelings & human sensibilities. Learning to respect and understand that is what is making me THE MAN.
This weird space that I’m in makes me wonder out loud A LOT but it’s not complaining, this transition of awareness and evolving shouldn’t be easy but it damn sure is uncomfortable. I feel off-balance trying to find my footing in this newfound level of life enlightenment and happiness but it makes me wonder if I’m actually on point & balanced? I’ve lived my life off-balance so much, that being balanced is throwing me off and that’s why I feel weird? I don’t know but this is how I feel and I can admit that to anyone because I am THE MAN.
We, (myself included and especially) need to stand behind our women more, our women being women of color. When our women take issue with something, we tend to compound it, instead of riding out for them; we shouldn’t 2nd guess our women, ever. Understand that our women’s issues are our issues because they are our women. Sounds simple enough, right? The fact that society feels that they have free reign towards our women is our fault. As men, we’re at the front line of the bullshit & our women shouldn’t be vulnerable to anything of any form from any group or faction on this planet. We need to respect ours instead of dismissing them cuz if outsiders see we aren’t standing firm with our women’s principle need for respect, they’ll continue to attack & treat our women like they’re the bottom of the totem pole. We created that dynamic by not holding ours up high on a pedestal. We sit there and praise black men all day, every day but here’s the most remedial math equation ever; take away black women & what happens to black me? We become nonexistent but it shouldn’t take that basic extreme for us to respect & protect ours. I can call for this action because I am THE MAN.
Imagine an entire crowd heckling you and telling you that you ain’t shit based on their perception of you. Everyone assuming that you can’t and you won’t because that’s just what they’re used to & put that bullshit expectation on you before you even start. Instead of reacting, you nod your head, smile and let everyone know that the heckling doesn’t mean shit because they have no idea what you have inside of you. Everyone is rooting for you to fail and fall flat on your face but you don’t hear them because you’re too busy working to concern yourself with opinions of people who don’t have the balls to chase their own dreams, so they try to make yours a nightmare for you. Whatever field you’re in, guess what you should be? THE MAN.
Society has a weird fascination with emasculating men. Whatever your plight may be, just because we don’t share it doesn’t mean we’re hiding or masking anything. My machismo seems to offend people to the point they feel as if his can’t be who I am. Surprise, this is exactly who I am & refuse to be anything else. You won’t catch me on Instagram in a wig for people to type “lol” at me on a screen. You won’t see me wearing a dress acting like a woman because society somehow finds entertainment in drag. If I use sarcasm, it’s not “sassiness” it’s fucking sarcasm. I don’t judge anybody for how they choose to live their life at all (besides their chicken choices) but seriously, why push any agenda on someone? When I walk into a room, the first thing people see is that I’m a black man, my sexual proclivity doesn’t announce it’s arrival, my skin color does. Why compare race to sexual preference? I love women, when I walk into a room, I don’t scream it to the high heavens, I just act accordingly. And I completely get that folks may struggle with being comfortable because bigots exist, I get it but again, why does society feel the need to erase what it means to be a man? That’s not about tradition or an idea, it’s about the one thing men do better than anyone else, and that’s be men how the fuck they feel like being men. I never needed permission to be a man because that’s what I am, THE MAN.
Throwing folks under the bus has never been my thing. Working with different individuals is cool because I love to watch people create; it’s inspiring. Being in charge is rough because when all falls down, it comes on your shoulders. When a part of the team has an issue, you have to adjust shit & make sure it doesn’t throw off any other part of the team. At the end of it all, you’re alone with praise or criticism and you have to eat it. I love being the leader, dealing & problem solving is a thrill for me while we work towards a common goal. Nights you spend cold, broke, hungry, water for breakfast, all because you’re the one they believe in to get you to the finish line. That’s THE MAN.
People ask me, “Why are you so adamant on being the best?” The answer is simple, because I was told I wasn’t ever going to amount to anything. Why am I so boisterous? Because my whole life I was told to shut up and my opinion didn’t matter. Kanye has the line, “They used to feel invisible, now they know they invincible…” That’s what I want the people from where I’m from to feel like & know. I don’t have a point to prove to you, I’m showing them how far you can go if you believe in yourself and don’t let anyone ever silence your dream. That’s my responsibility as THE MAN.
“To be THE MAN, you have to beat THE MAN.”
Beating the man I was or wasn’t by becoming the man that I am now and the man I will continue to grow & become. The man is sincere, the man is genuine, the man loves, the man feels, the man cares, the man is honest, the man hurts, the man smiles, the man is happy; Alain is THE MAN.