The best thing about blogging on WordPress is the opportunity it brings to interact with people of different sorts – different regions, different backgrounds, different philosophies, different behaviors; it’s rare that I bump into a person who is a whole lot like myself. Different as we are, we remain mixed together in this big, digital WordPress bowl with our muddled words bumping against each other, and everyone seems to get along quite nicely, perhaps because we are loosely united in our common quest to see and be seen.
The “different from me” phenomenon is no better exemplified than in the comparison between myself and the magnificent™ Le Clown. I know what everyone is thinking – is there really anybody quite like Le Clown? He’s one of a kind, true enough, but I dare say he and I are differenter™ than most (my new trademarked word, Mr. Clown). He’s a brash, liberal, bilingual Canadian with a broken potty mouth filter. I’m a conservative, slilingual (English with some Spanglish) American who still tends to rethink and edit blog posts that people stopped reading six months ago. Despite our various differences, I manage to feel a sort of kinship with Le Clown, as many do. Interesting – I don’t believe it’s primarily his humor or his creativity or his frequent F-Bombs that explain his extensive following; I think all those things attract views, but none of it does much to maintain faithful readers the way he does. The feature of Le Clown’s writing that keeps me following him is the way he writes with genuine honesty, particularly when it comes to the trials he has overcome and continues to deal with. Beneath it all, Le Clown is a caring person, exemplified by his Bloggers For Movember campaign.
Raising money for prostate cancer research is nothing new, but Le Clown put a twist on it. He and several other amazing bloggers are raising money and awareness for both prostate health and men’s mental health, and it’s the mental health part that captured my heart. Men’s mental health is an issue that is largely overlooked, and I believe the reason is due to our insane propensity to “suck it up.” Go rub some dirt on it, son, and get back out there. Now, I know most men are natural fighters, so a mentality of toughing things out is unavoidable, but as men, we have become so tight lipped, closed off, isolated; it’s killing us, sometimes literally. Most know about the tragedy with Le Clown’s father. My own father drank himself to death.
Friends, we are losing our men. Women are great; women are capable, but there are certain things we need men for, and I mean for more than opening the stubborn lid of a peanut butter jar. If you are a man reading this (I think I have at least three male readers), and you are struggling with physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual anguish, I hope you will seek help. Go to the doctor, go to therapy, go to friends, go to church. Don’t go to a bottle or a needle or a crazy overdose of media consumption.
Many of you know about my recent struggles with acute anxiety. All my life, I have been able to keep a level head in any situation. While everybody else is running around frantic, I am cool. For reasons I haven’t yet discovered, I’ve lost my cool. I made a decision months ago that I would not medicate this problem with unhealthy habits, no matter how bad it becomes, and it’s gotten really bad at times. I’m getting help. That’s not easy for me to admit, because as are many men, I am terribly insecure; I have succumbed to the “tough it out” mentality for most of my adult life. Ok, so I’m not so tough. May we all find a place, at least one place, where we can safely be not so tough.
I’d like to thank the magnificent™ Le Clown for his openness, his transparency, and for spearheading this campaign.
Much love to you, brother.