Writing The Self 4: I am a Man

Published by Jerico on

The November wind rustles leaves along the front steps of the school as students trudge along towards the front doors. This morning, just like all the other mornings in Regina, was cold and sent sharp tendrils of frostbite to nip at any exposed skin. All the female students here must have been reluctant to listen to their parents as they wore skirts that either met the ends of their fingertips or slightly higher and tops that struggle to cover their midsections – I was no different. Today, I wore a sundress. The roses were stitched on every empty surface on the cotton fabric and the hem fell just over my knees. Mama gave me a strange glance when I scurried out the front door to avoid any type of scolding. I would have heard the usual “that’s what girls do” lecture she is so intent on giving me. She didn’t need to worry though as I gave myself that lecture numerous times before putting on a dress this morning. I put so much thought into how I look and the impressions I’d make but very little thought had gone into how blue my skin would turn in the fifteen-second march from the car to the front doors. 

My hand grabbed the cold silver door handle and slung it open and warm air rushed out to greet me. I walked through the main commons area with sly confidence and hints of trepidation. It was about fifteen minutes before the first bell would ring – signalling all students to rush with panic to their first class – so there weren’t many students to gaze at me as I strut to my locker. Once I got to my locker, I quickly entered the code to hide my face in the comfort of the coffin-like box. Perhaps a coffin would be more suitable at this moment. Before I could get too comfortable in self-pity, my group of male friends came up to me to get a good look at me and applaud my courage to “wear something a man wouldn’t”.  

I’m sure they were attempting to compliment me, but it came off as a slight and gave me insight into what they thought was masculine. To them, a man would care what others thought of them. To them, a man would confine their clothing to a specific set of items. To them, I was not a man. I try to take no offence to their double-edged compliments, but I know that I won’t measure to their definitions if I wanted to be my truest self. And so, I take solace in the fact that I will be more of a man than any of them would ever be and more of a woman than any of them would ever get. A man does not care about anyone else’s opinion of them. A man does not limit themselves to the boxes that society demands we live in. A man does not define his manhood but lives their own truth. I am a man. 


robin · March 17, 2021 at 4:18 pm

Hi me again, I couldn’t resist. I seriously just want to be your friend so bad like campus needs to open up so I can hang with you, your mindset and vibe is exactly what I need to be surrounded with in my life! You are so mature and thoughtful and intelligent. The description in this is amazing, and the message even better. I couldn’t agree more with all that you said! You reminded me of one of the most iconic men in the world (well, most iconic to me haha) with this story, the one and only Harry Styles who wears the most amazing dresses and skirts and look so natural and bomb doing it- and I know for a fact that’s how you looked at school that day! You’re more of a man than so many men out there in my mind also for all of the reasons you stated. To me as well, the true meaning of masculinity does not come from something as insignificant and minuscule as the pieces of fabric you choose to put on your body- that is so irrelevant and doesn’t define anything other than what a your style is or what clothes you enjoy wearing. I love people who are just authentic and themselves and don’t conform to what society tells them (because society sucks), so whether that’s how they talk, act, post on social media, dress, etc they do what they want to do not what they are “told” to do. Those are the best kinds of people to me, and you are one of them. You’re such a breath of fresh air haha, if only everyone could think the way you do the world would be so peaceful and beautiful, thank you for being you! I could read your work all day.

    Jerico · March 18, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Queen… You have no idea how much your comments have hyped me up!! Thank you so much and I’m happy that you enjoyed reading it because I wasn’t even sure if it was any good. And girl, if you wanna be friends it takes practically nothing to be friends with me lol. My snap is jerico.sampang if you ever wanna talk! Again, thank you so much for being my personal hype man. xoxo queen <3

Riley Knoll · March 23, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Hey Jerico,
Thanks for sharing an extremely difficult story. It truly sucks that you mentally have to prepare yourself for hate comments because of what other people think. Nobody should feel ashamed because of the way they express themselves. If you want to rock that dress, rock it and show everyone else what’s up! Your story had great detail, flowed well and was a great read. I think a quote from the male group, would’ve added more depth to your story. Keep being yourself don’t let others drag you down and continue the great writing!

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