Now that the word is out about the existence of MenSensual (yes, of course I am telling everyone and hand out cards and flyers left and right!), a particular question keeps cropping up: “what is that logo of yours all about?”
Do not be misled by the rainbow colours, though: while the rainbow also represents my gay tribe, you’ll find that the rainbow flag shows the colours the other way round, with red at the top and violet at the bottom, and it only has six colours instead of the seven represented here. Still, I like the coincidence of the colour schemes and identify with both for different reasons.
I was pleasantly surprised that the logo has created this much interest already, and am happy I have gone with my gut feeling on the logo. There have been other ideas, but this one struck me as unique and eye-catching enough to make some little waves.
Ultimately, it’s nothing more than this: a logo. If you find something enticing in it, or you make other association for yourself, by all means go with it!
Whatever you see is your own personal view of the world.
Why is it so easy to make yourself believe you are not good enough, but much harder to see yourself as deserving and wishing yourself well?
I think that we are all under the impression that the only way to validate ourselves is from the outside, and society is doing everything to reinforce that belief: from a young age, we are urged to adjust to those around us. If we do, we are rewarded, if we don’t we are made to feel like we have failed. Going onward, school is often all about grades, as is higher education, and when it comes to the workplace, only being “better, faster, more performing” is rewarded. All these situations have one thing in common: you are made to see input from your peers and superiors as more important than anything else, and whatever YOU think of yourself has to take the backseat.
The sad truth is this: however often you hear otherwise, you are not supposed to rely on yourself when it comes to self-appreciation. There is a rationale to this, of course: your views are skewed and only others can be objective. There is a level of ambiguity as to how far those views expressed might be meant to undermine you, but let’s assume for now that people have your best interests at heart.
Either way, since you are only expected to be critical on yourself, while the input from the outside could go both ways, this leads to an imbalance in perception and you’ll be more likely to feel you are not good enough. What can we learn from this? It is important to allow yourself to see the positive side to your actions.
Many of us tend to cypher away what we do well, to underestimate the positive impact we have on those around us. They may not always tell us how much something we have done means to them, but be reassured: they know. And so should you!
Give yourself a break. You are probably doing much better than you believe.
I touch people more often than most. Is that really such a bad thing?
Of course, there is the conventional kind of touch, like handshakes or fist bumps, air kisses (carefully not touching each other), the jovial masculine shoulder hitting or sporty one-armed embrace, and of course the ever so tentative ladies hug. All those are done very deliberately, and they are really not enjoyable encounters, just confirmations of a social cohesion.
Casual touch is not about etiquette, but about a personal connection, an acknowledgement of a need in either of the concerned parties. When you see someone you may not know but clearly recognise they are in some sort of distress – maybe crying on a park bench, or looking lost and confused – would you approach them and start a conversation? You just might.
Would you go as far as putting a hand on their shoulder to console them, or even holding their hand, thus providing a human connection for someone in need? Most likely you wouldn’t. It’s a sad state of affairs that political correctness withholds that joy of non-sexual physical touch from most of us. We stop in our tracks for fear of repercussions and don’t even go down that road.
I call bullshit on that one! I believe that everyone in distress has the right to be consoled, and being told that is not the done thing smacks of being inhumane.
Besides this reactive example to another human being in pain, let’s also look at casual touch for purely practical reasons. As a student, many of my buddies were North African students and I learned a valuable lesson from them. When someone want to talk to someone who was engaged in a conversation, rather than interrupting or waiting for a good moment to do so, they gently touched that person on the upper arm, the hand, the back, the shoulder, … to indicate they are there. When that conversation then hit a natural breaking point, they would turn around and engage with the new person to find out what that was all about.
Touch was used for communication, in a very efficient way that did not interrupt anything, but still managed to convey a message: “I’m here, waiting for you to make the next move”. I believe there are many more opportunities to introduce this non-intrusive way of communication into our daily lives, and more specifically in the way we deal with people we know and love.
Communication involves compassion and empathy.
So much thought has to go into wording these days.
When I first wrote the text for the website, I chose to start the home page with “MenSensual is intended for all (gay) men who crave more sensuality…”. I wanted to clarify that my main intended audience would be gay men, without excluding any other men. But then someone made the point that this wording might alienate my intended main audience because of the brackets!
Back to the drawing board, then. What happened next was a downward spiral of ever more complex thinking processes, second thoughts, and then questioning those once again. I found myself caught in the linguistic stranglehold of political correctness and second-guessing other people’s (pre)conceptions. And then I stopped in my tracks.
I sat back and took a good look at the mess I was in, and ultimately found that it wasn’t all that difficult after all. Fact: I had been dragged down a bottomless pit of trying to make it right for everyone. Not a fact: I have to do right by everyone. In the end, I have to say what rings true for me, and what will attract the right audience. My audience is “men”. If you are a gay man or – better yet – a gay couple ... that is an added bonus.
Finding your own truth and conveying it properly is an important part of what conscious sensuality is all about, and that goes for thoughts, physical contact, emotional connection and whatever follows alike.
For those who haven’t had a peek yet: I settled on “MenSensual is intended for all those men who crave more sensuality…” and am happy to stick to this one.
It says it all, really.
Speak your own truth. Always.
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.