My sermon today comes from the holy scriptures of Portlandia. I don’t watch TV, because I’m cool and nonconformist like that, but I watch YouTube clips. Anyway, let’s begin with this one about a fire pit:
So this is my parable about men. Or maybe just married or post-married men. Or at least me. – All of the things I will say, by the way, are about me only, but I will speak in general terms because that makes me feel more wise and powerful.
You see, we men have an animal inside us. A Wild Man. A primal, hungry savage. Some men wear that Wild Man on the outside most of the time, and have a little scared, soft, Nice Boy center on the inside. Some men, like me, wear a Nice Boy shell on the outside with the crunchy Wild Man center on the inside. Whichever one we have on the inside, we often repress or deny. Keep it locked away, in a cage at the center of our soul.
But what’s caged needs to see the light of day sometimes. Ideally, the Wild Man and Nice Boy would walk together and share the daylight equally. But that’s usually not the case. One usually lives in the shadows much of the time.
But sometimes, the Wild Man pushes out, pokes his head out of the cage. He wants to run with wild abandon. Scream! Dance. Devour!
We’re usually effective at squishing him back into his cage (unfortunately). Of course, it’s healthiest if we acknowledge him and give him his appropriate time within healthy boundaries. But more often, we keep him repressed until he’s ready to snap. (And sometimes he does.)
Thankfully, I’ve had time to take my Wild Man out for lots of walks in the jungle. Giving him fresh air, letting him eat wild food, and get the nourishment he needs. But he’s still a bit wobbly, like a veal-calf that’s been locked up too long.
See, some men, like me, are working hard at learning how to not live like an egg — to not live by the old paradigm of having a hard shell and a soft center, or a soft shell and a hard center. We’re trying to live more unified with ourselves. But it’s hard. And no one else can do it for us, so we just have to feel it out for ourselves, and stumble around a bit. Like a Wild Man who’s been locked in the basement and has just been brought into the sunlight.
But when we start living in this more unified way, it just feels right. And it seems that people around us notice and respond. Like they notice the energy shift. Like there’s someone different, new, in the room.
It’s great. It’s great to feel like I’m living more unified. But sometimes it just feels like this:
Yeah, when we start living differently, it’s a refreshing change, but like I said, we’re new at this. And sometimes the results are full of let-downs, shit-piles of false starts and failures.
We may look like we’re getting stronger and wilder – and, in fact, we are. But we still have this inexperienced little Nice Boy to contend with. We are still scared, lonely, self-conscious, uncertain, learning. (By the way, women, consider yourself notified: one of the most evil ways to emasculate your man is to ridicule his attempts at change. “Oooh, so you’re trying to be a wild man now, huh? Hah!…you pussy!” Please, please do not do that! It can cause devastating results that impact your world and everyone’s. Please just observe and appreciate the change, and support when possible. It will pay off, for you too.)
So bear with us. We’re still getting the hang of all this. But we are trying to change our world.