At about ten years old, I started working out. Do any other men remember the hulk hogan workout set? Why? Because I grew up worried that I wasn't in shape enough, that I didn't have big enough muscles or abs, and that made me less of a man. And what did it cost me? It took my attention away from the kid and teenage things, fun, playing, and enjoying my childhood. The adolescent years had me focused constantly on what I looked like, whether I could work out more, eat differently, and constantly feeling not good enough because I didn't look like athletes or actors. I missed so much joy and fun and just being unable to be myself.
Somewhere around 12-14 years old, I started to believe it was a man's job to be good in bed. To ensure a woman was taken care of, it was my job to perform well. That if I didn't, I was less of a man. So I did what I could to learn to perform. What did this cost me? Intimacy, fun, and connection. I actually couldn't connect or be intimate, I could pretend, but I couldn't deeply be with someone.
I grew up thinking men dominated things, ate excessive amounts of food and drank excessive alcohol, had big muscles, could f*ck well, didn't show weakness or their feelings, made a lot of money, and were tough. So again, I tried my best to be better than most at those things and ignored how I felt. Often it didn't feel good doing all the things I thought men were supposed to do.
I grew up thinking successful men wanted to make a lot of money. So I wanted to make a lot of money. And while I did okay and tried for most of my life, I didn't make much money. So I felt less than. I felt like the second tier. I felt like a disappointment, and again I had to compensate.
Cool & charismatic is a great way to compensate for anything. If you're cool & charismatic, you can fit in anywhere, get attention, get the girl, the job, often simply by acting and performing a certain way. But is it authentic? Real or just a show?
There is a cost to cool.
A toll of sorts to not taking off the mask.
A fee to not feeling my feelings.
A price to pay to feel less than, constantly worried about what I looked like while pretending it could compensate for everything I lacked: the biggest muscles, the best abs, the hottest girl, the fanciest job or car, the most money.
The cost of cool is a toll. It cost me potential friends, depth with friends I had, the ability to be authentic, experience and enjoy situations, and fear of always being found out. I missed great times, joy, connection, peace, and intimacy with partners.
While I don't regret it now because I'm proud of myself for how far I have come, and I love myself and my life now, I missed out on a lot.
Talking to men, I know many of you hide from and/or struggle with similar issues. Some from your past and some still in your present. The cost of trying to achieve or be a man is evident in our working hard, hustling, grinding, and desire for wealth, power, and women. While it might not be the cost of cool for you, it might be the cost of always looking perfect or needing to make a lot of money. Maybe you need to take specific types of vacations, maybe that you can't afford. Or perhaps it's having the perfect relationship, the best job, trying to do and execute everything flawlessly, having a big house, and keeping up with all the cool cars, toys, and electronics your friends and neighbors have.
This takes its toll. Men, this steals our joy, peace, fun, great sex, and passion in our relationships. It robs us of deep connection with other men. It takes the ability to enjoy all the success you worked so hard on. It's robbing you of the great life you earned and deserve.
If any of this resonates with you, I'd love to discuss it.