Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but gets the point across. I digress, it is confession time:
Having One’s upbringing stem from the roots of jock culture, an individual can choose to go one of two ways. They can remain willfully ignorant to the toxicity they have contributed and will continue to do so, or reality can eventually set in and the person must then deal with the effects of their actions in their own way. Part of my upbringing was spent amongst the culture of the jocks. Not right away, but when it did, I went for it.
This isn’t a typical jock story, more fitting for an athletic outcast such as a cyclist. This first manifested itself through high school wrestling. A sport which will always hold a deep place in my identity. Most jocks are born into this type of culture, similar to those who are born into wealth or some social privileges other may not. When someone starts out on top, one of their key roles is to keep things that way. For the rest of us who rely on opportunities that come and go with life, we have to try harder to make a name for ourselves in order to achieve this status. Riding bikes started off easy enough in the beginning. I got to a certain level of fitness and ability, then became esteemed in a way that would end up doing more harm than good.
The hypercritical, detail oriented, exaggerated standards of masculinity are harmful to all parties not involved in this acidic environment (we’re talking pretty low on the pH scale) which count for a majority. Often times it is not until irreversible damage has been done that the initiator realizes the harm they have done. I am of course speaking of personal experience that I am not all too proud of.
Holding someone else to an inflated standard (big point: that does not wish to be held to said standard) ruins relationships, intimate or not. Those occasional, What you should do’s, are a vain approach to bettering someone’s experience. Consider consent. Pay attention and really ask yourself does this person want to hear what I have to say. Not saying this will be easy by any stretch.
I’ve been bullied, and bullied back. It is never a long term rewarding feeling. I am now a more quiet person because of it. I know people who have a lasting impression of my character because of previous behaviors. I have to exclude myself from conversations
- I cannot accept a sincere compliment, making it challaenging for me to reciprocate.
- I have jaded views that are not supportive of the world / lifestyle I choose to be a part of.
I prefer to keep an arms length in these types of social settings nowadays. Seems safer for both parties and help the coping process. There are steps being taken to accept and move on from these behaviors. I will admit that once a certain level of fatigue hits, the all too familiar feeling presents itself. This moody type of person we all can be shows true character. The point of this is to admit that I have begun to see within myself and my own character, and I do not like what is on the other end.
For now I will continue to keep my views to myself unless asked about them, and work through whatever it is I need to work through. Maybe one day we (myself included) can become better cheerleaders for one another instead of needed to keep others at a similar level of progress and ability as that of ourselves. It may have taken a few years, but letting this go for a male amongst male peers is unnecessarily difficult. No, I’m not all that interested in racing bikes right now. No, I don’t know if and when I’ll race again. No, I don’t know what I’m doing with / or want to do with my life. Pushing these types of questions and concerns is synonymous to someone sharing a plan, only to have someone else dictate how that person will follow through with said plan without their sincere consent.
All this to say that I come from a jock culture. I’m not too proud of that part of my past. I hope this behavior can eventually be ruled out of existence, but hey, one day at a time. Jock culture is sociopathic and while there is comfort in that ability to disconnect, it does not end well. Here’s to finding new social ground in the world of two wheels.
Until next time….