Fellas, Let’s Cut The S***

Earlier in my corporate career, I worked at a multinational corporation where you could not enter one of many checkpoints without a badge or the approval of a security officer.

One of those security officers was a guy I’ll call “Bennett”.

Bennett was a 6’2, 250lbs, muscular man. He was the guy whose very presence moved double-parked vehicles from the property instantly. He was also the guy that employees and visitors addressed in a softer, deferential tone. The man had a strong presence along with a face that said, Don’t even think about it.

Sadly, the company announced Bennett died unexpectedly. If I’m remembering correctly, he had some sort of an infected cavity in one of his molars. The infection worsened, poisoned Bennett’s heart and this father of two died.

I’ve seen different versions of this story in my life — Masculine men that push doctor visits and regular health checkups down on their list of priorities, promising their mates that they’ll get it done later.

From an early age, men are socialized to be strong through difficult circumstances, which I agree with in some cases. The problem is that we misapply these teachings to our own detriment.

This is where the dangers of untreated violent trauma come into play. Scores of men around our nation and I suspect the world carry the untreated trauma of child abuse, warfare, and school violence for decades. As a person raised in a home with domestic and street violence, I was one of those men for many years.

I’ve written about my experiences, learnings, and victories with violent trauma in other editorials so, I can share my own challenges along with those of other men I know.

The tragedy of Bennett’s death is representative of a call to action we men must face for several critical reasons.

What Does Untreated Trauma Do To Us?

According to science, untreated trauma in men leads to difficulties in maintaining solid physical and emotional health.

Think this is soft, leftist, liberal bullshit?

Studies show that untreated trauma in men leads to higher rates of drug and alcohol addiction. Data also point to higher rates of hypertension and unhealthy diets.

The Product That Is You

You may think you’re great and doing just fine with your life. Before 2016, I had the same self-image until a defining moment (a near-street altercation) revealed that I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was.

I discovered unresolved, violent trauma and in the five years that followed, I actively worked to disrupt it.

Let me tell you — I’m a much better version of myself for it. People are getting the best product I can offer.

Disrupting Your Trauma Makes You More Masculine

There’s a perception in parts of the manosphere that paints men who verbalize their feelings and show emotion and vulnerability as weak. I don’t agree with that sentiment, but I get it.

We must broadcast authentic leadership, strength, and courage as community leaders, family men, and protectors. The survival of our communities and nation depends on it.

However, in Bennett’s case, nature and science demonstrated that they don’t give two f**** about our reputations and self-image. Neurological and emotional damage will continue harming us until there is an intervention.

Bennett badly needed a dental intervention. That never happened. He then required a cardiovascular intervention. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. See where I’m going with this?

Men seeking emotional help may not be the sexy, popular route. We fear that the world’s opinion of us may suffer.

Here’s where I stand on the risk of men sharing their vulnerability and actively addressing trauma — It’s one of the most masculine acts a man can take.

Some of us deliberately avoid going down that emotional rabbit hole. I did for years until I realized that I had a severe problem. I then looked at my trauma as a crime scene and did the detective work to fully process what was limiting me. This was by no means a comfortable exercise.

I’d argue that the byproduct (several years later) made me noticeably happier, higher functioning, less stressed and overall, more of a pleasure to be around.

I’m now much more in the business of engaging in the activities and people that should be in my life. While I’m not 100% “over” the effects of violent trauma, I’ve said goodbye to a big chunk of it and some of the people tied to that past. This is something an act older self will be grateful to my younger self for.

Fellas, I’m not so special that you can’t do the same thing. Many of you are solid, respectable, standup men. I’d like you to be better.

Frankly, I’d argue that your mates, children, and loved ones will get an improved version of you.

Use your imagination. Imagine the “You 2.0” — The shinier, healthier version of yourself that draws second looks prompting them to say, “What’s going on with you? You seem different.”

Can you see how this improved version of you could add days, months, or years to your life?

I’ll leave you a quote I learned in grad school — “Doing nothing is doing something.”

If you are truly traumatized through violence and you consciously decide against treatment, you are enabling its existence.

You don’t have to have all the answers to the hows and the when’s of your treatment.

Start somewhere. Make a journal entry. Schedule one appointment with a therapist. Pull your spiritual leader aside for a few minutes. After that first step, repeat and rinse. Go to the second round of action, then a third until the “plan” beings to take shape in your head.

The world needs you.

Imani Kaliid is a Los Angeles native, host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power” (Roku TV, Amazon Fire), author of “There Was Violence” and advocate for victims of violent trauma. Follow him on Twitter: @SurvivorImaniK

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Author of “There Was Violence”, Host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power”, survivor and advocate for victims of violent trauma.

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Imani Kaliid

Author of “There Was Violence”, Host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power”, survivor and advocate for victims of violent trauma.