Writer’s block can be the worst thing. And for a person like me, who cannot begin writing until sufficiently inspired (read “utterly bored with the rut of life”), it can mean the death sentence for an already existing writing career.
So yes, I’ve taken a rather long break. I’ve been on a literary sabbatical, so to speak. Except that I don’t get paid. Nor was the break planned or intentional. But that’s the beauty with long, unexplained silences. They give a lot of room and time to ponder. The way your mind hop-skips-and-trots during silence is the universe telling you to think of things that you normally would be too busy to think about. Think of the things that never made sense. Think of all the little twiddledeedums that make you smile, and think of why they do so. Think of what drives people to do the things they do. Think of atoms and attraction and alcohol.
And when you’re done thinking outside the rather rigid rucksack that we call our own “comfort zone”, take a deep breath and think about the kind of rigid rucksacks other people have knit around themselves. The key here is to not focus on what they’re comfortable with, but instead, to look at why they are that way.
I’ll give you perspective as to why I’m suddenly feeling all preachy and philosophical. Flashback to a month ago, when a certain friend of mine belittled a certain achievement of mine because I had it easier than she did. And she drove her point into my extremely fragile (and by then, shattered) sense of self-esteem with a hitman’s precision, when she said:
“Of course, you had it easy. You’re a man in a man’s world.”
Now normally, arguments like these are my thing. My tongue would be doing chin-ups against the roof of my mouth for the carnage that was ready to be spewed on that poor unsuspecting soul. Armed with pages of carefully curated research and some extremely pretentious filler words like “First of all” and “Umm, Newsflash” thrown in for good measure, just so I don’t seem like an uneducated zealot.
But instead, what she said, for some reason, made me think. Not about the atoms and the attraction and the alcohol. To be honest, it wasn’t even the words that she used, but rather the dead-pan tastelessness with which she delivered the phrase. This wasn’t a person trying to win an argument. This wasn’t somebody looking down upon my hard work. This wasn’t a woman trying to hurt me or put me down. This was a woman who was so used to getting put down; it didn’t even matter to her anymore.
I’m pretty sure that all of you reading this right now have definitely been on either side of this conversation; either the man or the (woe)man in a man’s world. And yes, I’m also pretty sure that a tonne of you are contemplating going back to your newsfeed and scrolling mindlessly down infinite pages of Unilad and 9Gag and Tasty Videos (Nobody cooks like that. Cooking is messy, tiresome and more often than not, disastrous. But hey, yes, choose to live in your vile virtual world where sprinkles fall cleaner than photoshopped confetti.), because this post just took a feminist turn.
You know what, it’s okay. It’s okay because we, as men, are almost never taught to listen. Or understand. Or care. It’s always wham-bam-paisa-banao-scam with us. It’s only ironical that I’m trying to tell you how wrong our mindset is when it comes to men and money, especially when it’s set against the backdrop of domestic abusing, drunk driving alpha men playing hopscotch in and out of jail. I know it’s unconvincing. People like them tell us that a man with money is the most powerful thing there is, and so we quite often lose sight of the people walking beside us and conveniently forget what they have to say.
And that is simply not okay.
That’s why it has been easier for me to go ahead with what I wanted. It probably will be much easier for me to get further in life. I fully understand that. And while knowing said fact, I also admit, maybe I’ll exploit that as well. Not on purpose, but I’m pretty sure I have played my cards unknowingly, to elbow a very deserving woman out of my way.
It’s easier for me. Because as a man in a man’s world, nobody will judge my character by the words I use, by the songs I listen to, by the clothes I wear or by the brand of cigarettes I smoke.
Nobody will dare to put a label on me unless that’s a label identifying me as inferior. And more often than not, that label will have something to do with “being a girl”.
Nobody will look at me with utter skepticism after I deliver a ground-breaking idea. Nobody will question my capability to make decisions that aren’t clouded by emotion. Nobody will ever shrug or smirk while saying “(S)He’s good, but ultimately he thinks like a (wo)man.”
And god bless, nobody (most likely) will ever ask me to sleep with them to get a job or a promotion (For a moment, we will conveniently not address the fact that this is because I’m not the most good looking man on earth).
Nobody will call me a slut, a skank or a whore, except for my friends—who can call me anything they want. And honestly, that’s the only time it should be okay for people to call you names because they are friends and not strangers putting price tags on your self-worth due to the cut of your pants or the number of buttons you’ve left open on your shirt.
Discussions on feminism always tend to take a rather bleak and hopeless turn. That’s because when the girls are doing the talking, it’s always “angsty” and “triggered” and “hormonal” even though they are, in fact, talking perfect sense, about the difficulties they face every single day of their waking lives. When boys do the talking, it’s often gross misinterpretation, slight paranoia mixed with a hell lot of attempts at diverting the attention back to themselves.
As a man in a man’s world, I don’t understand feminism. I try very hard, but there are so many nuances and niches to understanding and deconstructing the way our society thinks, all of which I, as a man, try very hard to comprehend and contribute towards.
And yet, nobody is going to question my authority on this topic, because apparently only men are allowed to have an opinion worth listening to.