“I got love for my brother
But we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other
We gotta start makin’ changes
Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers
And that’s how it’s supposed to be
How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me? Uh”
Writing pieces that are topic-specific always gives me a bit of a challenge, especially when I’m not doing anything or thinking about anything that really goes in line with said topic. So this being Men’s Health Month (and with Father’s Day approaching), I needed to rack my brain for content – much like an empty peanut butter jar...lol.
They say we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I’ve always found that to be extremely interesting, because it makes you so much more aware of who and what is around you.
When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced – whether we like it or not – by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem and our decisions. Of course, everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we’re more affected by our environment than we think. (I copy-pasted this from the internet because, well, facts.)
Personally, I don’t have that many men in my circle. Funnily enough, even that is a product of my environment. Growing up, I was always surrounded by women – mom, sisters, nieces, cousins – the ratio was always 16,000,000:1. I guess it’s just how the cookie crumbles.
I like to think that the men I keep around were manly men, though. Ouuu…I know you’re expecting some toxic masculinity, aren’t you? But, no. The men in my circle work hard, take care of their families, love women, respect women, do work for the community, express emotion, and we look out for each other. Consciously and unconsciously, we set the tone for one another and hold each other accountable. Communication can be scarce at times…lol; communication can be off at times; but we make it work for us.
Last night, on someone’s Instagram, I saw a story about the expectations that a man might have of a woman. It made a lot of sense and it’s in line with the theory of the average. A LOT of us grew up with single moms and observed them for years doing everything in the household. We’ve seen them do everything for us and be everything for us, all while never complaining – and while that’s admirable and shows strength, it’s also a level of dysfunction.
Although our mom could do it – and do it well – that’s not how it’s “supposed” to be. She should have a partner; a helper; a teammate. So a lot of us men grow up and expect of our partners and wives, all that we saw our moms do, without really ever having that “ah ha” moment that it wasn’t really the right way of doing things. I guess I’m mentioning that because we MEN receive a lot of “flack” for the things we do, and the things we say.
And while, YES, it is our responsibility to unlearn some of the madness that we’ve learned during our lives, we’re still just products of our environments. And it’s by no means an excuse. Like I said, we’re responsible for what we unlearn. We’re responsible for our decisions – even as products of our environments. I guess it’s always a good time to look around you: See who’s there, and what’s there, and make adjustments as need be.
It’s never too late to switch up the equation and alter the average.
*Yo, Siri, play Changes by 2Pac*