I did what you (elders, family, friends, teachers, employers, church, and so many more) asked of me. . .
You asked me to be a man, and so I learned how to be a man, and became one.
You asked me to go to school and learn my lessons, and so I went to school, and I listened to and accepted most of what was taught to me.
You asked me to work and earn and save, and so I worked since I was 10 years old, learned how to earn money, save, accumulate wealth.
You asked me to be successful, and so I learned how to be successful in different careers, 1st in education and health care and in business, I advanced, was and am respected
And now . . .
I am a good man
I am a good friend
I am a good partner and husband
I am a good father
I am a good provider
I did all you asked of me
I didn’t know, and was certainly never taught, that while I was learning to be a good man, I was also learning to play my role in systems that harm:
White Supremacy and Racism
Patriarchy and Sexism and Heteronormativity
So many more
It’s not like I had a choice,
My lessons started when I was just a boy and couldn’t say no.
No one ever asked me if I wanted any of this.
There was no saying no to any of this.
And my (our) lessons continue to this day, reinforced everywhere and every moment, keeping us in our place, so that we never notice what happens to us, how we cause harm and are being harmed.
And there is a choice we can make that was never offered . . . a beautiful, transformative, and liberating choice.