Anima: The feminine part of a man’s personality. The part of a man’s psyche that is directed inward, in touch with the subconscious.
Man up. Be a real man. Boys don’t cry. These instructions have been encoded in our very flesh as young boys. We learn quite early to bury our more compassionate, feeling, and sensitive natures beneath layers of bodily postures, attitudes, and exaggerated personalities that emphasize and augment the characteristics that will win as approval as men. We create personas that dominate our lives, a mixture of fantasy and flesh, built overtop of our incredibly delicate vulnerabilities. We offer these personas to our sex partners, exchanging them in the form of pictures, and brute dialogues on dating apps. We fuck as if these personas are, indeed, who we are. The problem lies not in our personas, themselves. Truly, we may contain some of the very attributes of maleness that are highly prized: stature, strength, a stern ability to remain calm under pressure, a gruff exterior that is fun to desire. The real problem lies in what we are not allowing to be felt within our depths--the characteristics that might reveal our fixed personas to be a charade, a bulwark against the delicate little boys that live within us.
In moderate scenarios, we conveniently project these characteristics onto women. They are more emotional. They are weaker and unpredictable. They are icky, possessing strange genitalia. We divide ourselves into men who are “gold stars,” men who have not sullied their gay identities with modest and curious exploration with women. In worst case scenarios, we project these qualities onto men who we wish to denigrate; they are shamed for being bottoms, having willowy frames, speaking in higher pitches. These projections are often desperate attempts for men to validate themselves and enroll others into a toxic game that favors their inadvertent, yet insidious, denial.
The spiritual experience of gender is one in which we collapse our notions of opposites, cradling our wounds in one hand and our treasures in the other. We never have to decide which hand to toss. If we dare, we may carry our polarity boldly, making space in our outward presentations for flexibility, fun, bending of gender expression when desired, and healing our relationships with the women in our lives and the archetypal woman inside our own psyches. Whether or not we admit it, she is always within us watching, waiting for the healing that is deserved by us all.
Video concept by Finn Deerhart: http://www.finndeerhart.com