Sex Positivity

A Personal Story about Navigating Sex Positivity and Rejecting Toxic Masculinity by Armando Cabba

A Personal Story about Navigating Sex Positivity and Rejecting Toxic Masculinity by Armando Cabba

If you would’ve asked me 10 years ago what being sex-positive meant or even what toxic masculinity is, I’d probably say “I’m totally sex-positive, bro. I live to fuck” and ask for a high-five while being wrong and proving I was affected by it at the same time. Most of you know me for who I am now which is completely different from who I was in the past. This is a story of unlearning and analysis of myself along with the world around me. I can’t start this story without talking about how I grew up as someone oblivious to the fact that my gender perception/identity functioned as a prison.


Let’s hop into that time machine and go back to where I grew up in a predominately white all-boys private school. It was a breeding ground for problematic individuals to say the least. We’d all laugh when we read the word “breasts” in our very heteronormative abstinence-based Sex Education class. 98% of our humour was sexist, homophobic, and racist at times due to being in our echo chamber of ignorant privilege. Everyone played some sort of sport which felt like religion to most and to be considered intelligent meant having good grades in science and math as opposed to art and music. 


No one kept us in line or told us we were wrong. We had this pack mentality and no one dared to be too different at risk of ridicule. People would laugh when someone cried. Feelings meant you could be a target for jokes and harassment. This is what it meant to all of us to be boys. I’m giving you a summary and already this is one hell of a venomous recipe for disaster. 


My narrative was different from the rest of my classmates. My upbringing at home wasn’t peaceful. My mom was abusive to me for 7 years to the point social services intervened and I was put into therapy at age 13. I never spoke about it with my friends nor did I even register it as something that saved my life. I kept all my pain and feelings to myself until I graduated. There was never any bullying and I was well-liked by everyone, yet I was dragging around this emotional weight. 


Things did get better when I was 16. I discovered art and I even fell in love with a girl. We ended up together for close to 5 years. My god, I even joined a robotics team to see her for 2 days at some random competition. We see science worked out well with me. The boys made fun of me because I sent her a massive bouquet to her school one random Wednesday afternoon, but I was happy. For the first time at 17 years old I felt love in all that toxic chaos I grew up in.  


Once I graduated and got accepted into art school, that’s when everything started to change and I began to learn who I was. My girlfriend and I had our sexual debut and I was awkward as hell. 3.5 seconds, baby. Despite being sexually active, we never really had that talk about what we enjoyed. We kind of followed what we saw on TV and on the big screens. There was no social media or easy-to-access resources if any of us had questions. It wasn’t like we weren’t happy or didn’t enjoy each other, but we never communicated our desires and interests regarding physical intimacy. Sex positivity wasn’t even a concept yet in my brain. 

Now I find that incredibly odd and wouldn’t be with someone if we weren’t able to speak about it properly.


Fine arts is where I met the real world. I was the minority meaning I was one of the only guys there. Meeting people from different backgrounds and sexualities was a shock for me. My colleagues talking about casual hookups and multiple partners was insane to me in a good way. They’re real people like you and me and not these caricatures we see in mainstream media. Most importantly this new environment was open and nurturing. No ridicule or judgement. People were expressing and discovering themselves at the same time. Listening to everyone talk allowed me to be more self-aware. It planted the little seeds of understanding that I came from a hyper-privileged place. I caught on and began to open up too and ask myself questions about who I am and who I wanted to be. Elements of high school began to be clear that it was toxic and wrong. 


All of a sudden, I had confidence. It’s a small step, but I even was trying new clothing. I was trying to find my voice and testing things out. I had no idea what I was doing if you look back at old pictures of myself, but it was all part of the process of growing up. Being two years into all of this, I still was making mistakes. My ability to express myself did improve, but I would still hold things back and shut off. My girlfriend couldn’t get to me and I’d push her away because I thought I was being strong. I didn’t want to cry and I didn’t want to see crying. My therapist had to help me get through this because, by shutting off and shutting down my sensitive side, I was harming myself and the people around me. That took time and it was an error I repeated more than once. 


University began and I had my first break-up. Holy shit, was I a mess, to say the least. We grew into different people. I was more the wild one and she was more stable and calm. I had big dreams to be an artist that will go down in history and she knew. She didn’t want to get in the way of that and we broke up. Took me years to understand so I could rid my anger and sadness of it. I refused to process it healthily. I felt weak again, but I didn’t go the whole way to being macho about it. 


Although I did distract myself through sex and alcohol, I did have my best friend who was going through a break-up like me. We’d meet at my place every Saturday and learn to cook and talk about how we felt. It was the first time at 21 that I’m speaking with another man about feelings. It was the first time I told a male friend I loved him. I still do even when we call each other up on the phone it’s a lot of “I love you and miss you” Being nurturing isn’t limited to one gender. We allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and found strength in that. Toxic masculinity makes you believe you can’t express/feel love. You’re allowed to feel good and make others feel good. “Suck it up and keep going” as they say. Cherish the people around you and drop the whole lone wolf nonsense. You’re capable of love and being loved. Now with all my group calls with my guy friends it’s become normal to ask how everyone is emotional, to complement each other, say we miss each other and end the phone call with an “I love you” I know it sounds very small at the end of the day, but it makes a huge difference.


Now let’s chat about all the sex because there was a lot of it. There was Cassanova but now Cabbanova was in full swing. Being single after a long-term relationship with one person made me want to try all the flavours. I was everywhere doing everything from going to bars and clubs to even using craigslist to hook up way before tinder was a thing. You’ve probably heard me tell these stories on different podcasts and I’m grateful to have lived each one. Guys, stop using the term kill/body count. The “notch on the old belt” nonsense. It makes it sound like war and asserts this need to be a superior idea through vocabulary. That’s very harmful and fuels toxic ideas and behaviours. I prefer to say I had many adventures. Some short, some long, and some with multiple people. Each one was a fun journey with lessons learned. It’s a team activity where everyone should benefit. 


I began to learn a lot about sexuality and myself during these times. Every partner had a different perspective on sex itself. Of course, I was anxious and uncomfortable at times and I would be straight forward saying I never did X before and I’d try it. There was never a time when I was open about being inexperienced or new to something that someone would make me feel bad. It was always met with positivity and made the whole thing much better. Sex moved from being an action to a celebration for the two of us even if it was for one night, one week, or one month. It took time and self-reflection to understand this all and of course, there were hiccups along the way. The times either I or my partner would get hurt would be due to a lack of communication. Not expressing our feelings and trying to swallow pride led to faults in me and them during certain adventures. You’ve got to talk and be clear. Never assume you know the answer to how someone is feeling. That’s the golden rule I learned through that. 


At the same time, this is where I discovered Tumblr. I’d post stupid things and asses, but articles with feminist ideas started to make their way into my feed. I read more and started to challenge my ideas. It felt like rewiring a computer. Due to high school and such, the bar was set on the floor. I followed more and more feminist blogs and people of colour. My mind had a hunger to be more diverse and I felt this was important to hear other voices outside my bubble. I can’t say it was fun being proven wrong and knowing what you believed in was the product of a broken system. It was important to acknowledge and unlearn it, even though it was painful - but that’s what learning is all about, baby.


I then met my second girlfriend. My lifestyle was still all over the place and I met her because of it. We weren’t perfect at all and it didn’t last long. It was like gasoline and fire mixed with explosives. Looking back, I wasn’t ready for something serious. She also left a guy to be with me. I was still hanging on to old feelings and I got into this for the wrong reasons without talking about it to anyone. That ignorant thought of “Oh it’ll work itself out” was way too loud. I still didn’t understand how to communicate my feelings and emotions. We fought a lot. We were both immature and I bottled it up more to the point I said some mean things that hurt her. That’s probably the one period of my life I didn’t recognize myself. It wasn’t fair. I was still so selfish with my emotions that it did more harm. I fucked up. It ended as it should have and I made this the main point to work on with my therapist. I understood actions have consequences at 21 years old because boys never are held accountable. Isn’t that wild? 


I’ve seen men blame toxic masculinity to excuse their actions, but it doesn’t work like that. That’s like saying “Everyone knows I’m rude, get over it” You admit it but are you going to do something about it? You can’t change what you’ve done, but you can change the future for the better. I wish I understood that back then. Near the end of this relationship and well after, I fell into a weird headspace of wanting to change myself to the point it was a disorder. It was like I had to rebel against all the work I’ve done on myself to be back in control. This idea of being vulnerable and open all the time needed balance in my bizarre logic so I did what most guys did and continue to do. I hit the gym. 


Body image has been an insecurity of mine for a while. We talk about it more now which is great, but we need to have a dialogue concerning men’s body issues. I used to look like Theodore from Alvin in the Chipmunks before people called me Daddy. There’s nothing wrong with being deliciously plump at all, but I felt it I had no worth regarding my appearance. I fell into the trap of believing men needed six-packs and no hair on their bodies to be real men. “Let your feelings out in the gym” horseshit got me. I started to box and I was obsessed with my weight. 1 hour of running before 1 hour of boxing/crossfit which was followed by another hour of running around the mountain in Montreal every single day. There were many times I’d walk home from a bar for over an hour instead of taking the bus to burn more calories. I weighed myself 3 times a day. My meals were small and planned like clockwork. That wasn’t living. It was like I was punishing myself and trying to make up for something. I wish I saw more plus-size models. More stretch marks, more hair, more different forms of masculine beauty. My lowest weight was 153lbs (69.3 kg, 10.9 stone). 


The thing is no one noticed due to diet culture and society’s portrayal of masculinity. I was punishing my body as opposed to celebrating it. Even when it came down to sex, I saw myself as not attractive and put on this false ego to hide it. I treated myself like meat and it was unfair. We need to make it clear all bodies are gorgeous and that includes men. I’d have anxiety if I ate something too sugary or with fat. This gave me a sense of control but I paid the price in many other ways. I got over it when I got to Europe and decided to live. To enjoy myself and being in the company of others. That took a lot of work and acceptance to feel beautiful. Your body changes and that’s normal. I can’t hear the negative comments over my 90’s pop playlist as I run on the treadmill like a hamster. You have the right to feel good about your body. Celebrate it. 


The biggest moment in terms of my understanding of my sexuality and desires happened with my next relationship. She created such a safe space that helped me shape the man who you see today. For the first time, I was able to communicate with someone about sex. Like truly speak about what I was into and what she was into with 0 judgement. I owe her so much because I discovered so much about myself by being with her. I tried tons of things and our love for each other grew. The first time I ever went sex toy shopping was with her. There were no limits or any shame and I realized this was vital. I opened up more. I could run into the room and yell a crazy idea and she’d reply “That’s nasty as hell. Go get the moose antlers and car battery and meet me in the bedroom” That’s called a Canadian Generator if anyone wants to know. Seriously, there was such a passionate form of beauty in being in a relationship where both of you could explore each other. 


Another thing about her is that she was a sex worker. First time meeting someone in that profession in my whole life. Society tries to demonize this group beyond comprehension making you believe they lack worth and morals. Movies make it seem you have to have a saviour complex to help them, but it’s all bullshit. When I found out I didn’t love her any less. She showed me that world and the reality of it. It’s not Liam Neeson movie plots and human trafficking. I respected what she did and what she still does. She’s an artist at the end of the day like every sex worker. If you say you’re sex-positive but you don’t support sex work, I have some bad news for you. 


My outlook on pornography changed during this time. Before I’d just open up PornHub and type in “Big Ass” and not even think twice about anything. Dick out and brain off. I began to ask questions about where the content was coming from. Who are the people making it? What’s their story? Is this stolen or posted without the consent of the people involved? Does this represent a healthy form and practice of X activity? There’s no shame in enjoying porn, but you should ask these questions. I feel men in particular have issues with this subject because they see porn as a tool strictly for their satisfaction. Everything automatically gets objectified. Individuals involved are dehumanized and looked down upon. That’s why you get guys trying to leak content from sex workers or out them on social media because they’re upset they don’t have complete access to them. Your “denied” pleasure outweighs the well-being of the people creating the content you enjoy, so destruction is the answer? That is a dangerous frame of mind to have and not address. 


Unfortunately, some good things come to an end and we broke up. Not because someone did something to hurt the other. No fights or anything like that. We just crumbled and it made it even more heartbreaking for the both of us. We went from long-distance to her moving to Italy and it didn’t work. Before it all ended, she was always supportive and knew how to challenge my way of thinking to be a better person. I was learning to be an independent artist and growing into myself, but I wasn’t the form of myself you see today. I had a very big divide on who I portrayed myself to be in public vs with my friends and loved ones. My stage persona was very arrogant and she addressed me about it. She didn’t like it and told me in a letter “Be the compassionate true self that you are. The world deserves to fall in love with you the way I did.” She was right. Despite all the work I did on myself up until that point, I still believed vanity meant strength as opposed to kindness and vulnerability. With her goodbye, she introduced me to the person I didn’t know I was going to be yet.


There was no anger from that relationship. We got back into contact and we’re still friends. We support each other’s dreams and are grateful we had our moment together. I don’t like guys who say “my ex is crazy” or say insulting jokes about people you had feelings for. It pushes this harmful idea of perfection and that everyone else is at fault but yourself. No matter how a relationship ended, both of you played a role. You have to understand what transpired and make peace with it for yourself. That doesn’t mean you’re obliged to keep in contact or be best friends. Don’t disrespect you and your ex by putting a classic label to avoid accountability on your end. Communication doesn’t just mean with others, but with yourself. Practice being introspective. I’ve been in some wild relationships, flings, romances, etc., but no one is “crazy” Some people have things to work out and sometimes it doesn’t mix well when you’re together. Ever since then I’ve wished every single ex the best no matter how bad it turned out. The best meaning is that they sort out whatever they need to because none of us is perfect. I can sit here and say I wish every single one so much happiness and joy even if I’m not in the picture. 


I spent time on myself and didn’t rush into a new long-term relationship. Making art in Florence was therapeutic for me. I grew to understand myself more with each painting. This was a time in my life I wasn’t running from something. It was a healing and growing period. My media intake changed as well. Stopped following accounts that make me feel bad about myself. Of course, I still was having casual hookups and being more responsible about it. STD/STI testing and that conversation became normalized and not this aggressive degrading accusation. It’s important to be open and get checked regularly. Doesn’t mean you’re up to no good or your partner is. It means you’re being responsible. If you are diagnosed with something it doesn’t mean you're less lovable or your sex life is dead.


My ideas for what I wanted in a partner changed entirely. Being around the friends I made in Italy, I let go of the anxiety of labelling things and having to have a universal definition for my relationships that everyone understood. I moved away from monogamy and didn’t believe or support the idea of being with someone “pure” or the virgin complex men have.  This intimidation around women who have had multiple partners makes no sense, but I understood where this idea was coming from. Movies were a big one that display an almost childlike ignorance in a Eurocentric beauty lead actress. The male lead is there to show them how the world works and of course, has a romance with them. Tron Legacy is an example along with The Fifth Element. It becomes normalized again through mass media. It’s absolutely creepy the more you think about it. The message is “be with someone who knows nothing that way you don’t have to improve because they can’t measure it to anything else” It’s manipulation and men tend to see it as guidelines. You can watch some interesting video essays on YouTube from Pop Culture Detective. 


After adjusting to my life in Europe, I met my next long-term partner. We were together for 2 years. Both artists met at some old palazzo party one weekend. I was more aware of how I’d grown at this point and all that progression allowed me to be happier. All those things I realized that I desired from a relationship were being met and I didn’t deny myself of it. We didn’t feel we were sacrificing parts of each other for the sake of preserving this idea of a “perfect” relationship. It takes work and a whole lot of communication. Our time together really matched the atmosphere of our surroundings. Italy and all the people I met there felt like one never-ending party. As fun as those years were and that I met one of my lifelong best friends there, I knew I had to move on to grow. Paris was calling for me. Those endless nights staying up till dawn and living like a rock star were great, but I needed to do something more. I began to understand I was going to have to say goodbye for my future’s sake. The next thing I knew I was on that train out from the birthplace of the renaissance heading towards my new home. 


I know I’ve mentioned this on podcasts and Instagram, but the whole “Fat Cock Spirit” thing isn’t about boasting penis size. You do realize there is more to your body that can be enjoyed during sex. Also, we have brothers out there who don’t have a penis and that doesn’t change the fact their men. We tend to forget the way we look at someone, how we speak, the way we use our hands, etc it all has an impact. Big dicks don’t equal amazing lovers. The only way I’ll be jealous of another person’s penis is if it’s so large they can swing it and take off like a helicopter. Can you imagine the money you’d save on travelling? Penetration isn’t the end all be all and some people don’t orgasm from penetration alone. Don’t ignore foreplay. Did you ever stop to think about what your partner might enjoy? Even better, have you spoken about it? For those of you who might be insecure about your size, in my time of going around more than Covid-19 no one has ever pulled out a measuring tape. I’ve never heard stories of rulers being used, but the only stories I’ve heard are of lazy and inconsiderate lovers. Fat Cock Spirit is a philosophy that anyone from any background or identity can adopt. Think of it like Buddhism. 


Talking about sex became normalized at this point and I realized the polarizing differences when speaking about it with men vs any other gender. There’s always been this talk with guys of sex being penetration only. It did evolve to “Rough play” in terms of answering the question “What are you into?” I believe it’s an answer that holds onto the desire to be dominant while giving the illusion you’re sex-positive. You can be into rough sex, BDSM, role play, whatever but have you researched into it? Do you know how to safely practise it or are you basing it off of generic porn you saw and refuse to be vulnerable in an intimate space? You’re allowed to be into other things and that’s wonderful. Your pleasure matters and sex would be so boring if you just see it as just going in and out.  I love hot make-outs and dirty talk. The feeling of mutual excitement to please each other fires me up like you wouldn’t believe it. Sex isn’t just penetration and there are so many forms of intimacy to embrace. 


There was an adjustment period getting into Paris. Anxiety and excitement with a large helping of growing pains. As much as I was open about a lot of things and unlearned a lot of bad habits, I still wasn’t allowing myself to be vulnerable in other areas. There was still this idea that I had to be strong in the relationship due to being a man rather than admitting I wasn’t okay and I could count on my partner for help. She was there for me. Despite our relationship shifting and leaving Florence, we did our best with what was given. As I began to get my footing and things fell into place, our relationship began to drift apart. Not due to lack of love, but because of how our lives grew apart. I was wrestling with trying to return to what we had in Florence, but this was a new chapter.  We both didn’t want to accept it and I couldn’t bear having someone following me. That’s not fair to give up your dreams to be with someone. Everyone has their own story and life to lead. Doesn’t matter who you are. We came to a close and as hard as it was, I made sure to keep painting about my feelings. You got to sit with them at some point. Drinking beers and chasing casual hookups will distract you, but it won’t heal you. 


My next point is this whole idea pain makes you stronger. That macho Spartan crap I had in my head once upon a time like a lot of guys. Being passionate about your work is important but don’t let it consume you. Sure, it’s a hilarious saying “can’t spell painting without pain” but that can glorify mental illness and make you believe you need to suffer to be important or have talent. Your mental health matters, fellas. Don’t adopt grind culture thinking it’s a balance or justification to ignore what’s happening in your head. There’s no strength in disregarding your well-being. True success is working on yourself as opposed to the work you create. No matter how many paintings I produce, it’s not done to fill some void or justify the hurt. Being perpetually heartbroken doesn’t make you more talented. You want to express it and learn what happened to further improve yourself as a person and better your future relationships of all natures. You deserve to be happy and there’s no shame in wanting that. 


Paris began to be a solid fit and I found my new family of friends. 5 years later now it still feels right and the excitement of being here remains. I allowed myself to not hold on to pressures and enjoy moments more. Rejecting the idea of having a set-in-stone end goal by replacing it with the idea to take pleasure in how it naturally evolves. This applied to my romances since being here. Too many questions and fears of being hurt from loss weren't going to hold me back. This didn’t mean wasting people’s time by hiding my agenda. It meant being clear and experiencing different times of intimacy by communicating with my partners. It’s a team effort here and you have to be mindful of the wants/needs of whoever you’re with. It’s not just about “me” it’s about “us”


Of course, there were amazing times of having romantic weekends, weeks, or even months. There were also a few moments it didn’t work and I still fell flat on my face. We’re constantly learning and discovering ourselves each at our own pace. I found myself in moments where I lived double standard scenarios where people didn’t know how to react or brushed it off. I learnt to say no because as a guy you’re brought up to believe you have to want sex all the time. “Your body, your choices” applies to you. Not wanting sex doesn’t make you less of a man. Your sex drive shifts due to so many reasons and that’s completely normal. Not every date has to end in the bedroom. Sleeping with as many people as possible for the sake of it doesn’t put you on some masculine scoreboard for the world to see. You can just enjoy each other’s company. There isn’t a set-in-stone love language. 


A couple of years went by and good old cupid came back to town and hit me hard. Man, did I fall hard for this woman when we met. We matched on tinder and honestly just based on Instagram and whatever profiles we shared, she was perfect. A French creative with a Canadian painter in Paris. It felt like a movie and I went all in. I was so mesmerized by her and I felt ready again in terms of being a long-term partner. Hell, I even thought about marriage and planned how I was going to propose at one point. All those stories I’ve told you came to the front of my head and I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes. I gave it my all with her, but I paid the price in the end. Symptoms of the patriarchy entered the relationship again and it wasn’t from me. The only way to describe this feeling was like an American football game. The classic scene where it’s the last few seconds and they need to make a giant pass to win it all. A ball gets thrown in the air, but instead of missing the shot or the other team giving it their all, a pigeon flew into the ball mid-air and fucked it all up. You just can’t help but sit there and ask yourself “What the actual fuck just happened??” So, let me explain how this unfolded. 


Things were great when we dated. We literally were the bohemian couple going to museums, brunches, and all that noise. A moment came up when I wasn’t feeling affection and I wanted to talk to her about it. Not an argument but a means to figure out what she thought. Everyone has their love language. We sat down and I explained how I felt only to be met with “You’re too needy”. I took it and thought I was being demanding by wanting to feel wanted or in a relationship, but it came up again along with other issues. Our sex life felt like clockwork and she was very much into fitness. I remember being chastised in front of my friend for eating too many chips at a get-together. At every party she invited me to, I felt I was being paraded around like a trophy based on my work as opposed to being her boyfriend. I have no issue with being with someone who flirts. Let it be noted we never had a moment to even talk about how we saw our sexualities. The more I tried to express how I felt and find a solution I was met with “I’m tired of your little chats and wanting to communicate. Can’t you just be a man and yell for a change instead of talking about emotions?” Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel. Part of me believed there was a moment it would pass or if it was a weird game. Thoughts lingered in my mind that this was my fault. The only time I received affection was when I accomplished something in my career or she was responding to one of my compliments.


The “stage persona” never left. The show was constantly on and I remembered how I made sure to be my true self way back in Florence. She never let her guard down. Always had to be strong and command the attention. This is where I understood how toxic masculinity has an impact on all genders. Wanting to meet halfway and explaining how I felt wasn’t viewed as a male trait. The vulnerability was seen only as weakness and never spoken about. The confusion and sadness felt like torture to my soul. The moment came we broke up and it happened when one of my little dogs passed away. I was truly broken during this period of my life. My best friend from Florence came to visit to stay with me. He was there to hold me when I got his ashes back. She wasn’t there for me, unfortunately. I felt thrown away because I was sad. Since I wasn’t the good time guy, it felt like I had no use in the relationship and this bizarre idea of a couple having to be perfect all the time was constantly in play.


I wrote a lot about this moment in my life because I feel it would have been easy to regress into harmful behaviour. Forget “feel” because it’s more I know.  To not care anymore and close myself off from emotion as a way of avoiding pain. Having all those emotions go unacknowledged would have led to me letting out my frustrations on others over a long period. No way in hell I was going to close my heart as much as I was hurting. There aren’t any bad feelings between her and I. Just like most people in my life where things go sour, I don’t hold on to anger. It’s been years and everyone changes. I just remember a version of them the same way they know a version of me. I admit I wasn’t well and my self-confidence plummeted that summer but I picked myself back up with the help of people around me. By allowing myself to sit with my emotions and asking for help, I healed.  


I’ve been ranting for a while and the rest of my story can wait until the movie of my life comes out. I’m grateful for this wild n rough journey and I know I’ll make mistakes again. Life isn’t a steady arrow going in one solid direction. It dips and rises at random times. You’ll make mistakes and that’s okay. I’ve owned up to my errors and accepted accountability for the times I’ve dropped the ball. Hell, I’m sure I’ll make mistakes again because I’m human. Maybe you think it’s too cringe to look back, but that’s a good sign. That means you’ve grown. I can’t wait to read this thing in a few years and realize more about myself. The beauty of learning is that we never really stop. I have no idea what you’re going to take away from this or if I answered any questions you had. My hopes are you apply something from my story to yours even if it’s deciding how you don’t want to be. 


Your progress counts regardless of the speed. This story I shared happened over a decade. This isn’t the “How to be a man” manuscript. These are my experiences. To the men out there, I have so much love and hope for you all to be the best versions of yourselves. If a kid from Montreal can grow out of these bad habits and relearn what it means to live and not view masculinity as a prison, I know for sure you can too. It’s okay to be unsure and ask questions. I want to see your version of what it means to be a man in your words. There are so many types of masculinity where each is beautiful in its way. Remember, you can love cars, going to the gym, beer, etc but just because someone else isn’t into those things doesn’t make them less of a man than you. Who the hell made it a competition and that we shouldn’t admire each other? Oh yeah, it was the patriarchy. Almost forgot

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