The year is 2007. The time is winter. The place is Los Angeles, California. And for the first time in my life, I am living away from my parents for more than a few weeks at camp. I am living with a family friend and working as an unpaid intern at the Dr. Phil television show. For the first time in my life, the only person I really have to rely on is myself.
At this time, I have reached an odd point in my life. The comforts of the wonderful life my hard working parents gave my sisters and I are now 3000 miles away in Eastern Canada. My atrophied high school and college social life had flourished the year before. No longer did I feel unresponsive to going out on my own or with new friends. Yet, this was an entirely new place, and other than the live-life-to-the-fullest personality of the friend, I would have to rebuild a new social life in Los Angeles for the three months I was there.
At home, I had been around women all my life. My dad worked countless hours to bring my family a comfortable, affordable life. For most of my life, my mom had been a mother first and a private-sector worker second. My sisters, younger than I, were home all the time after school. Most of my hours were spent around them. It was no surprise that my personality wasn't exactly the ideal example of the male gender.
Fights, harsh pranks, talking about hot chicks and dirty jokes; all were stunted due to the feminine-majority home front. At the time, I believed I had to hide my masculinity. That I had to not be a guy. This was a fear I created in myself. But don't take this as a condemnation of a female majority, female influenced home setting. Nurture, while a significant part of the development of a human being, is not the final straw. One may have to put away the boxing gloves when that new sibling turns out to like Barbie over brawling, but the urges and motivations to be a guy despite the situation are still there. In the right setting, as I had with my family, healthy development is part parental and part individual discovery.
Such a discovery came in Los Angeles. At the time, I had started to write and talk to my friends about breaking from the situation at home. In words harsher than necessary, I would condemn my parents blanket rules that put my sister's “weakness” under the same scope as my need to be a guy. Being the child, and not the parent, I did not understand a parent's need to protect all their children, from strongest to weakest, even if it means protecting one from the other. I understand that now, but at the time, with a mind just escaping from the shackles of childish notions, it seemed a bias that “harmed” me. Was I ever wrong! During my internship I would strike up a very close, long distance friendship with an old pen pal from the Internet (who would eventually become my wife). Little did I know that my long schooling in the ways of women would aid me in the long run.
For months I had been waiting for the movie 300 to come out,and in early March it finally hit theaters. The fantasy/historical epic chronicled the Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans and their Greek allies stood against hundreds of thousands of invading Persians. The movie, based on the graphic novel of the same name, wasn't very historically accurate with the depiction of the courageous last stand, but as the novel's creator said, the point was to get the “essence” of the Spartans, not to ruin the story with loads of truth. I waited in line for a few hours with the family friend to see the movie, and I had no idea this comic book adaption would be the catalyst for a plethora of twisted feelings, urges, ideas and dreams. It would take a two hour movie to unravel something I had taken over two decades to create. Something I created on a faulty fear.
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