Of… (Plastic, Concrete & Metal)

Of plastic
Of plastic
I’m plastic
I’m vulnerable.

When the stories were written, they’ve always stated that a man’s strength lies in his lack of an obvious weakness. A man is a rock, strong and unbendable. A Knight with a bloody armour rescuing princesses from raging monsters. A man, the stories have always said, a man is ever sure in his footing, unmoving and hard (a rock, even in between his legs). The stories say men should carry his burdens alongside everyone else’s and not complain about the weight of it. And when all is done, a man has to shed himself to the barest minimum and hope somehow, that his lost bits are restored to him.

See, all the stories written have always said a man is hard, someone who sheds no tears. A man, it’s been written, has to be made of rock, should be the rock (pun intended), but I’m…

I’m… Plastic. I’m made of plastic. I’m a man, see, but I’m not any close to the things they’ve described men to be. You may be tempted to say plastic in itself is very strong in its own right like in the Altak chairs you sit on or like the plastic cutlery that comes with take-away meals. I’m plastic in it’s weakest form, easily broken, easily manipulated to fit society’s normal picture. In this body, there’s no rock here, there’d no be saving princesses from scary monsters, only trying to save myself from mine. Look, these shoulders are not strong enough for me, how then do you expect I carry yours too? Didn’t they teach you to carry your burdens or if you wanted help, go to someone who was willing and able? Why didn’t the stories tell the world they made men in different ways, that they made some of them plastic too.

My masculinity doesn’t come with the rock hardness neither is it soft and tender like the sisters. I’m plastic in my questioning eyes, in my objectivity, in my carefree carefulness (again, there’d be no saving princesses from monsters). I’m plastic in my inability to sweep anyone off their feet (literally and figuratively), in my. inability to make them laugh their guts out. I am plastic in my stubborn features that is all but a facade. I’m plastic.

A lot of things about me is exactly the opposite of what the stories written have said a man is. Am I not a man then? Or am I not man enough?

Of concrete
Of concrete
I’m solid, not rock but close
I’m man made concrete

When the stories are written about me, I want it to be said that the world tried to mould me into rock, Lord knows they’ve tried. Let it be known, they made me concrete. They took me, juggled me up about, getting sand and granite with some water and cement and mixed me all up (you know how they make concrete, right?).

When the world sees whatever they considered inadequacies, it more often than not works overtime to try and fix those assumed inadequacies. When the world saw me plastic, they cried, “noooo… No man should ever be plastic. You ought to be rock” the world said. And the world went straight to work. I was taught to keep my emotions in check, so whenever I cried, the world said, “Come on, men don’t cry. Suck it up.” I was taught to not feel, no, no, I was taught to mask my feelings no matter how overwhelming except it was anger, if I was going to ever get angry, the world said it had to be loud, disruptive. It said my anger should be explosive, that way I’d gain respect. The world said I should carry weights and build up muscles because no woman wants a man who can’t protect her (Lord knows why they are either princesses in monsters captivity or causing trouble that they need protection). The world said, hail the patriarchy, keep the patriarchal ways alive. Why would you call yourself a feminist?

The world made me concrete. Hard enough to pass as rock, strong enough to hold up a building. And because I was plastic, easily manipulated to fit society’s standard, I caved, I became what they wanted me to be. I became man made concrete, masking my inadequacies and calling them strength. I’m solid in ways the world wants to see, because they’re the ones who wrote, if you can’t beat them, join them.

If I became the man they want to see, does that make me a man?

Of metal
Of metal
I became a two edged sword
I became metal.

The day a man begins to live for himself, he realises he can do a thousand things. So, I became a metal that can break down the status quo. A man should never have to be held down by the rules the world has set for him (neither should a woman, but that’s another story). A two edged sword, why? See, the world would never let you create what you want to see without fighting for itself, without fighting for what it believes is the right, so a two edged sword for when the world comes to ask why, to come fight for it’s believes. A two edged sword because the world would fight hard, because they’d want me to conform. A two edged sword to path a way that has never been walked upon. A two edged sword to be able to shout on top of my voice, “THEY MAKE MEN IN DIFFERENT WAYS, DEAL WITH IT.”

When the stories are written about me, let it be written in clear terms, that I was made plastic, the world made me concrete and in turn I became metal. Let it be written, that whatever form it was, Plastic, Concrete or Metal, I was a man nonetheless. Let it be written, I am a Man.

Oyekunle ‘Fikayo Oyediran.

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