As a man, you’re not expected to cry, or talk about your feelings with anyone. The only day a man is legally allowed to cry is the day he was born. You’re expected to bottle it up and keep it a secret. After all, no one is going to look after you other than you.
Even that day when Mr. Lawal, the mathematics teacher, beat everyone in class for making noise. He gave the boys 7 strokes of cane, and gave the girls 4. You cried so loud because the cane hurt your behind. Mr. Lawal told you to stop crying , because men don’t cry. But you couldn’t stop, so he beat you some more.
Now you’re in the university. You have younger siblings to take care of, a girlfriend to love and provide for irregardless of whether you’re fine financially(emotionally) or not.
You sacrifice your childhood early just so you can learn a trade and start a small business. You run a side hustle, while trying to balance your academic life, because books don’t pay the bills yet and your parents expects you to be able to take care of yourself.
Your girlfriend that you spend most of your little income on breaks your heart, more than once. You caught her cheating on you with your best friend, the one that has more money than you. You remember that day when you had only N3,000 in your account. You had been soaking garri for the past 2weeks and wanted to use the money to buy ingredients for soup. You later sent the entire N3,000 to your girlfriend as her monthly subscription. You want to cry. You bottle up your tears and hide your heartbreak.
You have to stay strong. Men are always strong
Your side hustle isn’t doing as well as expected anymore. You can’t rant or complain to anyone because no one truly cares. You’re broke most of the time. You borrow money from friends and sometimes have to sleep by the road when you can’t afford to pay rent.
You wish to learn new skills, to help you become better professionally. But there are no male advocacy organizations that provide “free training” for “men only”. The ones you’ve been seeing are for “women only”. You don’t allow this to bother you, after all you’re a man and no one is going to be there for you, except you.
You have to stay strong. Men are always strong.
You try to cool off on social media, just to get a couple of laughs at funny memes, but all you see everywhere is #MenAreScum. You don’t understand. You’re a decent man, and you haven’t hurt any woman before. Then you think about your girlfriend, the cheating one. You think maybe only men can be scum, but women can’t.
You graduate. Hearty Cheers. You’re in the job market now, desperately searching for opportunities. You have bills to pay and what not. But some of the best opportunities you found in the newspaper have a caveat; Strictly for women.
It’s been 6years now and you still haven’t been able to secure “gainful” employment. You’re obviously frustrated and depressed. You tell your male friends about it, but they don’t want to hear of it. “Men don’t get depressed”, they say. Rather they introduce you to Sikiru, their weed, codeine & tramadol supplier.
You try to drown your depression with codeine, but it turns out it can swim, and maybe even starts to fly. You’re tired. You’ve tried. You take the N500 change you got from the last batch of weed you bought from Sikiru. You head down to the Igbo boy’s pharmacy down the street and buy yourself a brand new nicely packaged bottle of Sniper.
Not all men are as strong as society needs them to be, and that should be Okay. According to statistics, death by suicide occurs twice more often among males than among females. Recent cases of suicide reported across tertiary institutions in Nigeria further buttress this. This is because society has placed too much expectation on the male child, while exposing him to neglect on both physical, mental and emotional levels.
Men also have the higher tendency to engage in drug abuse and crime. That’s why most cyber criminals, cultists and rapists are male.
We really should create an advocacy that protects the rights of men too, rather than focus only on helping the girl child. Society should reduce the level of pressure and expectation it places on the male child. Men shouldn’t be the ones to always foot the bills. Men shouldn’t be the ones to always provide. Men should not be sidelined for opportunities based on their gender. Men are human beings too. Men have feelings too!
You should also check out:
Join The GOOD FIGHT.
Volunteer to help reduce the rate of Depression and suicide amongst youths in Nigeria.