living with my sister has its perks. i love her and her whole family…ced, the smidget, cam. but it also has its drawbacks. one of them being oprah.

please don’t misunderstand me, i respect oprah and what she has done with her money, celebrity and time over the years. i am amazed at how she has empowered people to feel like what they do can make a difference – not just her millions or billions, but my $20 or 20 minutes or a random act of kindness.

even so, i don’t watch her show on my own.

i had a roommate in college who loved her. we only got two and half channels on (one channel sometimes got sound sometimes pictures – never both). it was small, black and white (or maybe that was just the snow i’m remembering), and sitting in all of it’s 9-inch glory on the ground.

she would lie in front of it weeping about some tragedy or joyful occasion. i would sit against the wall and laugh.

now, at my sister’s, oprah is non-negotionable.

if she’s here or if tivo is driving the ship, oprah is a must.

as a result, i’ve been subjected to more oprah in the last week or so than i have since my senior year in 1998. that’s how i saw today’s show.

i was close to crying. niambi you can laugh at me now.

the show was about Lavernues Coles, a football player in the nfl, who was molested as a child and who has just gone public.

 i know, i know…not the first person to come out and talk about it. but he was the definition of manhood. and it hurt me to hear him talk about how he felt emasculated because of what happened to him, because it took him so long to tell anyone, because he was scared to go public with his story.

but courage isn’t about being fearless, it is doing something in spite of fear. and being a man isn’t dictated by what happens to you, but by what you do as a result of what happens.

i was moved by this man’s ability – no, his willingness to bear his deepest and closest held secret to the 50 gazillion viewers that tune into oprah all over the world. not because it was easy, not because he stands to gain, but because he recongnizes how his coming forward may enable a child somewhere out in tv-land to feel less shame, to possibly share his/her pain.

i was moved…am moved. tv doesn’t show real men on tv as a rule – just archetypes we’ve been fed over the years of what “manhood” looks like. it isn’t about muscles or money – though he has both, it isn’t about beating people up and never crying or how many women you can get. it is about working to get “self” to a place that is healthy and safe enough to lend a hand to help someone coming up behind you.

hell, that isn’t just the definition of a man, it’s the definition of a real woman too.

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4 Comments on manhood

  1. [deleted] says:

    Great post.

  2. AJ says:

    miss ashley i was dripping a few wet ones out the eye sockets as well…my heart goes out to LC!

  3. AJ says:

    i mean i saw the show as well…i DVR it all the time because ssometimes she has gfood ones then she has those mundane ones as well…so i truly feel your issue with HARPO…LOL…but yea watching that show i was goodness, that dude is on point because it takes ALOT to say something of that magnitude, especially being a man and with out a doubt being a black man…the fear of non acceptance is HUGE! ok i am dont ranting and venting! STAY BLESSED miss ashley

  4. Keys to Life says:

    I had so many feelings as I watched that show. I left with an entirely different impression of LC than I held prior to the show. I could not help wanting to reach out to him and acknowledge his courage, just to say thank you for doing that. I have not had anything like that happen to me but I feel for people who have been victims generally, and as children in particular. No child should ever have to endure acts of violence at the hands of any adult.

    On another point, I felt sad that he struggled with "manhood" questions (Would teammates question his manhood) in responding to human issues. Sad how society twists our perspectives on healthy, necessary responses.

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