‘Man up’

‘Man up’ – what a stupid phrase. Not only is it sexist, it’s impractical. What does it mean to man up? For me it means the following: no crying, no whining, no emotions. Real men have to be a rock. Well no, quite frankly, fuck that.

I’m a man. I may not act like one, I may not sound like one, but I am one. Yet I cry, I whine and I’m an emotional (albeit hairy) little beast. By definition, nothing about me, aside from my anatomy, screams ‘man up’.

Look, I get it, during the war (settle down Uncle Albert) men, and women, had to be tough. Emotion was weakness. Everyone had a job to do and morale had to be high. But this is 2017. Arguably, the world is more fucked up than it’s ever been! But we (in Western society) have been lucky enough to grow up in a safe(ish) environment. So why should I be able to bare my soul for all to see in the 21st Century? What gives me that right? It’s called progress.

Remember that time you saw your Dad cry? Yeah, me neither. I think I’ve seen it once. Aside from that time I kicked him in the nuts, but I digress. That’s because he grew up in a society where, again, emotion was weakness. That’s no longer the case. Being open, honest and true to your own emotions is real strength. It’s what ‘men’ do.

I have suffered with anxiety in the past year. I don’t, and won’t ever hide that fact. Friends, family and medical professionals have helped me through that. I’m not 100% even as I write this now, but I’ve sailed through choppy waters and I’m still here. Why? Because I was honest with myself. I was anxious and stressed about every aspect of my life at the time. The emotions I felt were all consuming, and incredibly scary. What would the Aaron of 40+ years ago have done? Probably bottled it all up. Who knows where I would have, if I would have, been back then.

So, don’t listen to Piers Morgan. That’s just good advice by the way. Never EVER listen to Piers Morgan. Even if he tells you a black pen is black, it’s probably blue. But in particular, his recent rants on mental health and telling people to ‘man up’ are ludicrous.

Never feel the need to ‘man up’. Man down.

Talk to someone. You’re never alone.

K

If you’re worried about your own mental health or the mental health of a friend or a loved one, visit: http://www.mind.org.uk/ 

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