It’s three in the afternoon. I’m sitting on my bed, watching some of my favourite shows. One of them is an episode from season five of SpongeBob, where SpongeBob and Patrick have been invited to a beach party, but only if they show up being tanned.
They turn Patrick’s house into a tanning booth and end up getting very tanned prior to attending the party. Why do I bring up this particular image?
Whenever I would hear the words tan, sauna, or spa come up in conversation, I would always duck out of the conversation. But not because I dislike all three. The first reason is that I don’t tan, I burn easily.
But the second reason, and perhaps the most striking since it affected me this month, is that I was never sure if I was allowed to partake in such activities.
I know plenty of people in my life who went for spa treatments. But they were mostly women. It only took me until just recently to realise that getting pampered and other activities are just as valid for men as it is for women.
I had thoughts that by writing this, all I’m doing is opening myself up for embarrassment or negativity by coming clean on stuff I didn’t know before. But the truth is, toxic masculinity affects me just as much as it affects every woman I know.
I grew up without much experience outside of my comfort zone. In a way, this is good because it allowed me to stay within my own boundaries. On the other hand, it also left me closed and less willing to explore my life outside of what I was familiar with.
Exposure to activities that should have always been deemed valid for men was few and far in between.
I would have absolutely loved going to places like spas, getting massaged, and other things like it. I gave toxic masculinity the middle finger in the past with my Disney Animator dolls, simply because I like dolls.
We should absolutely be able to love what we love, without toxicity, and without pressure.
Storm clouds don’t last long. They always break up eventually.
I am therefore looking forward to my first spa day in the next couple of weeks. In hindsight, I find it incredibly annoying that toxic masculinity has held me back this long from doing things that I like.
I urge every person out there to free themselves from toxic masculinity.
But at the same time, I know that it might one day crop up again because of my limited experience. And when it does, I’ll acknowledge it.
I was always told that the first step to addressing a problem is acknowledging it.
And all it took for me was a SpongeBob episode and a conversation this month.
Feature image credit: Pexels