Embracing a new age of masculinity
I happened across Joey Layton on Twitter. He was sharing lots of uplifting and honest tweets. I wanted to find out a bit more about him and asked him if he would be interested in guest blogging. As a woman it can be difficult sometimes for me to relate to men and their masculinity. I am aware that there are a number of men struggling at this time and Joey shares his thoughts in an open and authentic way about what it means to be a man in 2020.
Us men are beginning to embrace a new age of masculinity after dethroning the original mindset, where for centuries we were only judged on our height, physical strength, and the size of our most valuable possession inside our trousers. My name is Joey. The owner of concealedvoices.com, a blog to help educate, inspire, and motivate men across the world. Here’s my story on men’s mental health and why being honest with my emotions was one of the best, and most rewarding, moments of my life.
I’ve always been the shy lad. I keep my circle small & don’t let many into it. I always preferred it this way because I’m an introvert. Although it stems from my struggles with speaking when I was a child. However, my lack of confidence changed from being shy to suffering anxiety in my mid-20s as my life started to crumble around me from redundancy to the loss of my grandmother. I envisioned ways to commit suicide as I struggled to find balance or answers to life. I felt guilty for everything even though I couldn’t control anything.
I developed anxiety as I walked through the darkest period of my life. I would shiver as I closed the front door behind me knowing I was stepping out into the world. I automatically assumed, I guess subconsciously, that everyone was looking at me. I was deprived of self-confidence; it was wiped away. I’m a shadow of the guy I used to be. Why am I feeling like this? God help me.
My battle with anxiety is a daily internal battle. I go through phases where I hide my face under my cap just to go to the car or to pick up something from the shops. I don’t want people to see me and I get stressed when confronted. I don’t think my behaviour is obvious to people because of my style, swagger and persona but deep down I’m scared of my next move.
I cope with my inner demons and thoughts of doubt by trying to engage myself with positive inner conversations. I might sound insane but I feel there are two people inside my head. I try to encourage and motivate myself that I’m just as important as the other 7 billion people walking our planet. I’m here for a reason.
I kept my feelings hidden because there’s a stigma attached to us men. I guess it feels like dishonour. You can’t mention any form of weakness among a group of guys without being labelled as soft. This was the environment I was raised around but I hope this attitude changes among men over time, as more of us are slowly opening up about our struggles with mental health. We need to acknowledge it’s okay to feel different and nobody should be ashamed about their emotions.
I also like to ignore the world by listening to music. I get hyped – I imagine I’m 7 ft tall and untouchable. I feel I can conquer the world even if in reality I walk with my head down and avoid contact with anybody. I also go to the gym when I find my confidence. Some days are better than others. I know being around people is daunting but the adrenaline & testosterone boost feels amazing after a good workout. We forget how much exercise improves our mental wellbeing but we’re too fixated on what we look like in the mirror!
My mum reminds me to take each day as it comes. Such simple but empowering words. There are days when I want to curl up into a ball, ignore the world, and watch YouTube. And do you know what? That’s totally fine. Why should I feel guilty by having time to myself, and ignoring the outside world, and enjoying the warmth of my home?
I owe nobody anything in this world. My attitude is to live every day like it’s my last. I know it’s a cliché but my view is why should I be scared of any obstacle/challenge (person, challenge, work etc) if I’m not here tomorrow? Screw what you think of me because this is my lane & I do what I want – with respect and curiosity.
To all men, or even women, reading my words. I hope you find happiness and comfort one day. Please understand your value, importance and love to this world. There’s no shame in admitting failures or seeking help with our mental health. People do care about you, honestly. I know it’s hard to vision when you hear defeatist voices in your head but you can (and will) silence them with your actions.
To find out more about Joey you can find him at www.concealedvoices.com
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