Positive Masculinity Content Writer - Rebekah Wong
I think that no matter where we are in our lives, whether we are at the starting point or reaching the end, we cannot avoid feeling lost at one point or another. From time to time, we find ourselves unable to figure out what to do or where to go. In those moments, a role model who has a piece of wisdom to hand over can feel like a saving grace. Role models can come and go but they will always leave a transcendent impact which may change the way we think or feel.
After speaking to Travis Stock and Chuck Thuss, my mind expanded with the inspiring knowledge they had to offer me. Travis uses his podcast The New Masculine to help masculine identifying people talk about what it’s like to find their authentic self and learn to be comfortable with who they are. Chuck Thuss uses his podcast Warriors Unmasked to give masculine people a space to talk and open up about the difficulties and emotions they experience and deal with. Both Travis and Chuck have broken past boundaries that have been formed by society, and are reforming ideas about how society thinks boys and men ‘should’ be. Instead they encourage men to be free, open themselves up, and connect.
FREEDOM and AUTHENTICITY
Travis Stock displays strong traits of being a male role model because he fights to help masculine identifying people feel comfortable in their own skin. When boys are growing up, they are told to act and be a certain kind of person based on their gender role. Parts of their authentic personality are chipped away until they are formed into what society believes is the ‘right’ kind of man. Travis makes an excellent point that this process of telling boys that parts of themselves are wrong can be traumatic. Being ridiculed about their true nature can cause shame and mental damage for years to come. Hopefully more male role models can help boys and men bloom into people who are not constricted by people’s judgment.
Travis Stock offered an excellent point that to help men find their freedom, they must fight against the stubborn need to be right. Instead, he encourages men to remain curious and be willing to see through someone else's eyes. It is then that everyone can find a sense of freedom and offer others room to be free as well.
I look up to Travis because he acknowledges that everyone goes through specific life circumstances which creates the foundation of the opinions that people have. In that way he can see people eye to eye. He is open minded and knows that someone may disagree with him, but he does not just reject someone because they have a different opinion. Instead, he remains curious. In this way he can share information rather than argue the side that he already agrees with. If there is a practice of open mindedness, more men can find space to grow and develop into the kind of person he knows he is.
Chuck Thuss’ conversation with me was transcendent. He had amazing advice to help free men and boys to be who they are. He pushes them to be vulnerable. Men are told to be closed off. Instead a man can find their freedom by being honest with who they are and opening up emotionally. Chuck pushes men to fight against the fear of what people may say about them. What someone is doing and how they decide to live their life isn’t up to anyone else. Of course finding self confidence is easier said than done, but extraordinary things can occur when a man pushes himself out of his comfort zone and into discomfort. Chuck had to fight to find the ability to live in discomfort for eight years. He learned that pretending to be a certain way to have everyone’s approval is pointless. Because let’s face it, we never have everyone’s approval. Instead he accepted the discomfort of people’s disapproval and eventually found happiness as he found himself free to be who he truly is.
Chuck Thuss has such empowering advice! He is urging other masculine people to be an agent of change. He notes that every man can make a change for the better. One man can cause a ripple effect and create a subtle or gigantic change in the way we think and do things.
If one man has the courage to free himself to be who he really is, it will encourage other men to do the same. Even if you affect just a few people, that's enough,but the first step is self love. Without self acceptance, how can a man open up to new opportunities which may help him figure out the serenity of being who he really is? Change is always uncomfortable. Chuck’s best advice is to seek discomfort, because it is difficult to grow when we stay in a safety net. Trying new things can help us find ourselves and become attuned with our authenticity.
COMMUNITY and CONNECTING
It is important to find like minded people. Optimistically, even though we will always find people who don't accept who we are, we will also find people we connect with. People who help us push past the boundaries that society sets for us. As a fantastic male role model, Travis Stock makes a point that it is vital for men to find people who inspire them and align with the opinions and values they have. It is also important to find men who help them grow and learn. Finding a connection can be difficult, but seeking out a group who gives them a space to be who they are, rather than someone they must be, can be the best kind of medicine.
Even more importantly, Travis points out that there is a crisis with men opening up. If a man cannot find the right people he will stay closed off and maybe never feel the freedom of becoming open. The sooner men open up, the better it is for them to find the ability to be who they are.
Chuck Thuss made an amazing point about how vital it is for him to connect to people as a public speaker. He explains how men avoid being vulnerable, but once Chuck shows the courage to open up, more masculine people are willing to be emotional as well. He notes that it is about the heart to heart connection with people that helps men display their strength to talk about the difficulties they go through. It is undeniably important to find a good community of people to notice that it is okay to be a man and also be a human being. Men may feel that they must always be strong no matter what, but they also need a moment to be open. To talk.
Chuck shows his capabilities of being a male role model through his courage of showing emotion and connecting to those who are starving for connection. He makes an excellent point that people need to be together and connected. Especially when men are told that they must be independent and never seek support.
A positive community will help men find freedom from the constricts which are harmful to mental and physical health. Travis Stock and Chuck Thuss are constantly disrupting what society has told men is right or wrong for them. They are opening new roads and creating a space for men to be free. Travis and Chuck display how vital it is to be proud of the identity you withhold, and to avoid letting society cut down the roots of that identity. The best way to avoid the murder of self acceptance is to find a good community and then slowly learn how to free yourself from the constraints society has built.