All men feel fear. The worst kind of fear is the image of the difference between where the brother is and where he thinks he ought to be. A simple math application has never been so unnerving. We are just scrambling for answers like the rest of the souls meandering here. Looking for an image of freedom and contentment. But we must just be content. We fear the difference by making additions, and the answers are not coming. No one taught us that we can subtract from this life equation. Or that it is the sum we are chasing. While we are head-down, tails up and ears sharp, sniffing and scurrying away, from suit shopping to pitch meetings, the masses trap us and throw us in a prison. A pit. Pena Duro, the worst kind of penitentiary. The one that breaks your spirit breath by breath. Today, we are in a very dark pit. It was built as a tower during the first industrial revolution. It helped troops endure the World Wars and the plague. It also helped breach walls and brought carnage in communities. Women were not allowed near it. They were meant to be protected from the harsh conditions of the time. The pit, along with other monuments, was the instrument of our civilization. After the wars, men left the pit to be with their families. Time to celebrate! Peace came at a price. Men put the guns down and up went to tie knots. The shiny shoes. The big happy families. High walls of labour. Bioscope. Theatre. It is all a big show.
After all the strides of taking mankind forward, we have moved so far ahead that we left Santa Prisca – the base – chaotic. We are blamed for everything. We are seen incarnated with the smoke of peace-bargaining war. Now, the base has lost its purpose and is trying to fill its empty spaces. Nature appals a vacuum.
Enough with the jibber-jabber. Let us fill the empty spaces. It is now the men’s turn to be swept off their feet. The pit is the trash (can) that all men have been thrown into. How do we escape the pit?
That longwinded intro was necessary, come on. There is nothing more effective in communicating than a parable. Straightforward statements are not classy enough. Also, the longwinded answer to the question is coming.
First, though, let us talk about hope. Is it possible to be disappointed without being hopeful? For instance, is your girlfriend cutting and dying her hair blonde and wearing green contacts, looking like Amber Rose, disappointing? Did you expect her to lean towards a Khloe Kardashian instead? That is what the world feels like today; disappointment galore.
Hope, by definition, is the expectation of positive results. It is that gaping hole that you constantly look at that symbolizes freedom. Not much new will be disappointing you from now on. Just a repetition of assertions made at the kangaroo courts of social media. Hope also needs a place to dwell. A place you can walk, dial, click or log into. Why do you think people go to church? Or go to marvin.co.za?
Imagine if you didn’t constantly look at the hole. Imagine if you studied the pit and how to climb out of it instead. Then, go to your underground cave or cell for hope. This is important because your endeavours in life should exclude hope in their method. Got it? It is possible to attempt climbing out of the pit without hope.
That change brings us to more things you can change as a man. Let us be honest here. A 34 waist, 81 length pair of designer pants is always desirable. Especially, in your thirties. Unless if 31 waist is in your immediate grasp. The coat below size 50 is also worthwhile. My wedding suits included two similar pairs; one with a 52 coat and another was a 48. Yes, I had to buy two similar suits to accommodate my chest and fat thighs. Now, I’m working on buttoning the 48 coat with the 34 pants. Why are you reading this? Well, because those are things you can change. The subtractions you can make. Stepping on a scale, writing down how much you weigh, subtracting a desirable number and (working on) weighing that much is such a delight.
Get rid of the Turkish delights because the outcome needs a certain type of behaviour. That is another changeable attribute. Behaviour is an infectious one. So we need to focus on our individual behaviours. Okay, let us revisit the pit for a moment. There was a story about a mercenary. He was found to have done heinous crimes. When they couldn’t imprison the mercenary, they decided to have other men serve his sentences instead, and were thrown in the pit. The strange thing is that once thrown in, all men look the same inside the pit. This part of the story is so relevant because today, YOU are already guilty of my behavior. The only thing you can do now strives to improve on YOUR behaviour. Making better choices, maintaining restraint and remaining chivalrous should be your conviction.
After making changes in life, let us consider that there are things in life you cannot change. We all want to stretch out our arms and reach the ceiling to change a lightbulb. Or tick the first box of requirements for female attraction. Or push back the driver seat in our sports cars. A black 350Z does suit some more than others. And those are gifted with something that either you or they cannot change. I am 1.8m by the way. Young man, you cannot change how tall you are. You can purely love how tall you are. Your height is something to be proud of because you cannot change it. There are more useful benefits to your height of course, than those I mentioned earlier. How about we explore them. Like, a lower risk for heart disease or dementia, possibly being smarter as a result, more likely to succeed, and infinite possibilities in sports just go without saying.
Another thing you cannot change is YOUR MASCULINITY. These are a combination of traits that are inherent and given to you at birth. These traits are naturally recurring and are not constructed by the environment. Strength. Courage. Protective. And more. Since you cannot change this, it CANNOT BE TOXIC. Sip your double espresso on that. Wipe the foam. Are you growing a moustache? Good. You can never be too tall that it is bad for the world. Just like your height, if you cannot change it, you can purely love how strong, decisive, courageous you are.
Remember, we started with behaviour. This comes in when looking at the use of some of the traits that are natural. The use of your strength constitutes behaviour, but strength as a trait is something to be proud of. At the very least, open the Mayonnaise lid proudly. Invest in a crypto-currency proudly. Introduce a curfew on your teenage daughter without remorse.
The pit is toxic but the prisoners aren’t. The prisoners can escape. There is a rope. You tie it on your waist and it supports you in case you slip and fall back. The rope represents fear. Trying to climb out of the pit while thinking about falling back is as futile as not climbing at all. How do we escape the pit? Do it without the rope. Without fear. Being a man today can be a scary thing. But the fearful always solicit fear, particularly from those whose presence induces fear. And all men feel fear 
Writer: Senzo Buthelezi