US MEN

I’m a sucker for military movies. Black Hawk Down, Tears of The Sun, Hacksaw Ridge, 13 Hours, Lone Survivor, (someone stop me before I swamp this post with movie titles). The first movie I ever saw back to back was Act of Valor. I watched the movie and watched it again even before the credits were up.

There is something about military movies that rouses my male psyche. I can relate. I think, in my other life, I would be a SEAL. That shit rocks my boat to no end.

That said, interesting enough, I’m not so fond of watching movies and following a series as such. Yes it happens, but on rare occasions. I’d rather read a book instead. I’m the guy who walks into a movie shop only to turn down all the ‘cool’ movie suggestions thrown at me by the movie guy. And then spot a poster surrounded by other posters on the far end of the wall and say to the movie guy, ‘this looks interesting, I’ll take it.’ Only for the poor guy to spend several minutes looking for it because he didn’t think anyone would care to watch such a movie. I’m that guy (hehe).

When I spotted History Channel’s series; Six, I knew it was my type of flick. Now, without being a kill joy, and spoiling it for those who haven’t watched it, here’s a bit of my recollection of thoughts.

Six is an eight episode actioned packed series about Navy SEALs in a unit called White Squadron. They are tasked with a mission to rescue one of their own, a former troop chief. His name is Rip (Richard Taggart). The series also focuses on their personal lives, revealing their strengths and failures. For the purpose of context, I’m not banging about the plot in the series, but rather the lessons I picked up from these men.

You’d be surprised, just how common we are as men. We struggle the same, fight similar demons and quest for a unified greatness. I know this statement is debatable, I wouldn’t speak for women but I know a bit about my kind, us men.

Six, just puts it into great perspective.

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A man is as good as his brothers. You know that saying, ‘show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.’ It’s damn true. A man is largely influenced by his band of brothers. Take a close look and you’ll notice a common code of conduct that runs like an invisible thread, uniting them. But then, there are men who walk alone. Maybe they seek a pride to belong to or they are lost. Whatever the case, a man needs brothers to stand with. Fellow men, who become his blood brothers.

Here’s another saying; ‘Every man needs a woman to die for and brother to die with.’ I couldn’t agree more.

As men, we are conflicted. We walk paths that are ever unclear to us. We doubt ourselves and sometimes doubt the value and potency of what we do. Every man will tell you – if he’s honest enough – that this question has raged in his mind several times; ‘Am I Man Enough?’ It remains a constant echo that questions a man’s identity, value and manhood. The best of times is when we can confidently give a bold yes as the answer. The worst of times, is when we are not sure (because really, no man will ever admit to not being man enough). Some of us keep at it, seeking to better ourselves each day but unfortunately, some give up and fall along the way.

We fail. It’s part of the process and ethos of being a man. Failure teaches us to be humble, to give up when it’s the right thing and the wrong thing to do. We struggle with the role of being a husband, father or simply a friend. We fight sexual demons, money battles, alcohol, drugs, power, insecurity and all those fire balls thrown our way, which some, knock us down to our knees. We fight, but sometimes, we fail.

No man should ever be defined by his failures, he should stand up and keep fighting; never giving up until victory is home.

Our work gets in the way. Is it any wonder that God gave Adam work first, before he gave him a woman? (I heard that from a Pastor somewhere). But really, think about it. We crave purpose. A reason to live and something to pour our hearts into. Some struggle finding it but others stumble upon it. Work can easily be the thing that creates a wedge of separation between the ones who mean the most to us and ourselves. Many men have chosen their work over their families, justifiably. Creating a work life balance eventually becomes a grandiose struggle.

Work isn’t necessary evil because through it, we find ourselves. We find purpose and make a living to fend for our families. It all lies in the balance.

Men stand for something. Whether we realize it or not, we stand for something. It becomes our ethos, the foundation on which our ethics are built upon. The law that runs in our minds. It could be infused from how we were brought up or garnered from our life experiences. Malcom X once said, ‘A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything.’ That doesn’t mean that whatever we stand for is necessarily the right thing, it calls for a whole lot of soul searching. But if we choose to stand, may we stand firm.

There is this guy in Six, Caulder. He definitely stands for justice. At some point he admits to his teenage daughter that his path was being a lawyer, something he regrets never pursuing and ending up as a SEAL. The thing I admire about him is his persistence to stand his ground, but it will cost him. And just like anything worthwhile, it will cost you.

Family makes the backbone of our manhood. We love them, we fight for them, we give our all to better them. But on the flip side, we side-line them, they suffer the aftermath of our decisions. With time they understand, that they can’t help us as much as they’d want to. That we are unredeemable. They come to the realization that we are just men, and that’s who we are. That we do the things we do because we have to.

A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

The beauty of it all is when our family loves us for who we are. Especially our wives. It heals us. It reconciles our imperfections to something near perfect.

With time, we understand that we no longer have to hide from the truth. That we can embrace our manhood and all its brokenness. And sometimes, the only way to find a solution is to fight each other, drink a beer (or whisky; whatever your vice) and leave it alone.

At the very end of things, men fix things. Eventually.

***

In Six the series; Bear is the conflicted one, the leader of the pack with a perfect assemble and an imperfect home. Caulder is the sex addict, a man who’s failed as a family man and the guardian of justice. Rip is the lost one. He later shows great chivalry made of sacrifice for others. Buckler is in doubt, lost in the shackles of mistrust and self-doubt in marriage.

Buddah (my man!) is the model family man, the reality check of the group, the guy who plays his cards right but still craves acceptance from his family. Sending a subtle message that no man can ever be perfect. Chase is the new guy of the team, the man on a quest for purpose. A purpose that defies being under his father’s shadow of greatness, he seeks to create his own. Atta boy. And Fishnet is the uber sniper of the squad. A mysterious man.

Somehow, these men, all fit in.

Check out the series, I’m surely looking out for season two.

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PS: A gentleman called Jack emailed me yesterday, saying he likes the Tuesday reviews (The Muindis At) and suggested adding a price tag to the reviews for those who’d like to visit the same restaurants and places. It’s stuff like this that keeps me writing. I appreciate all your feedback. That said, I apologize for this week’s missing post, reason? I had a hectic start to the week that saw us laying one of our friend to rest on Tuesday, the same day I was meant to do a post here. That said, check out new posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Let’s keep at it, shall we?

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