Men need to know....

As an artist my feelings and emotions are job requirements.

To produce work that hopefully resonates with my audience it has to resonate with me first.

My feelings and emotions allow me to find a vibe and then use that feeling in my art as a catalyst and conduit to connect to my audience with.

I grew up in a world where men having, and expressing, emotions wasn't allowed. Ever.

Emotions were equated with weakness and "being soft" and God forbid no male in their right mind wants to be accused of those things. (Outside of anger - Anger. Expressing white hot range and lashing out were always a fine and appropriate reaction to almost any situation.)

In my world growing up what was celebrated and rewarded are the exact and polar opposite of the kind of man and person that I am.

You can imagine the core dissonance and conflict that I had to simultaneously hold in my heart as a youth as I tried to resolve what I know I am to what I was shown a man should act and be. 

It was, and is, exhausting and debilitating.

I am in therapy right now to further unravel those experiences with the hope of moving through the shame and pain of being taught that who I am is bad and not valid to a more peace centered and authentic place.

It's challenging, but needed, work and, at 53, I'm really tired of servicing and wearing that emotional armor that I built all those years ago to protect myself and to just survive with that perspective in that crazy world. 

And...if you are experiencing challenges with your own mental health then please seek out professional help in your area. There are many options and ways for you to get the help you need. Please don't suffer by yourself and in silence. There are solutions and people that want to help you get better.