I spent a good part of my life acting like I had all my shit together. Every look, every action, everything was driven by a desire to look like I was powerful, strong and invincible.

The truth is, I’m not.

I’m tender, I’m weak and I’m needy. That’s right, I said the “N” word. I’m needy. And I’m not just saying I have needs. Sometimes I feel like a small boy and I want to be taken care of.

Most men live on a very narrow part of the spectrum of what it means to live the full expression of manhood. Men have been handed a set of beliefs and told this is what it means to be a man. They come from society, family, friends and media. It’s depicted in movies and TV programs. Shit! It’s everywhere.

As a child, I remember being sensitive. I remember having deep feelings and crying. Not for being beat, which I probably deserved, but because I had emotions and I hurt for what was going on around me. See, as a child I had yet to have that boxed up and put away somewhere. I did learn though that “boys don’t cry”. “Never let them see you sweat.” You get it. You know of other things conveyed to diminish male vulnerability. I locked that shit away and threw away the key. Better yet, I stored it in a room in my psyche and told someone to guard the door and never let me in there. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WAS I TO BE LET BACK IN THAT ROOM!

Here’s the deal…without vulnerability there’s no intimacy. And without intimacy we don’t get to experience deeper levels of connection. We are programmed neurologically to connect. It’s one of those basic things we need. This might be why you feel like you’re not living as “fully” as you know you can.

“Authenticity” is a great buzz word that has become popular. What does it mean? And what happens when we’re not authentic? We don’t want to hear peoples fake ass stories driven by ego and meant to massage our perception of one another. We want to experience the humanity in humans. We want “real”.

And we couldn’t talk about authenticity without talking about shame. Ah…shame. Nobody gets through life without a nice helping of shame. BrenĂ© Brown states that shame is the belief that if people know certain things about us that they will deem us unworthy of connection.

The moral of the story is…break societal norms, be authentic and lean into shame. Shame might actually be an opportunity to share a deeper truth about ourselves.