Becoming a Man, Uncivilized

To begin, let me clarify … Man Uncivilized in a men’s group founded and led by Traver Boehm.  Per his website, Traver is “formerly a Strength & Conditioning coach, CrossFit gym owner, MMA fighter, bodyguard, and still a licensed acupuncturist, avid meditator and mediocre surfer”.  He has also done two TED talks, How to make pain your guru, and the follow up, Why we need more Uncivilized Men.  The second TED talk specifically explains more of the movement/group he is starting, and why he feels it is necessary, but please let me try to explain before I add why I decided to join.

There are many statistics I could refer to for you, but it’s late and I would rather not google such depressing statistics.  What I think many of us can understand, without the need for statistics, is that men lead the league in a number of categories, most of which are centered around hurting others, but also hurting themselves.  And while there has been a lot of conversation recently around the potential for toxicity within the framework to masculinity, very little is being discussed around the fact that men are also hurting themselves in record numbers recently.  And what Traver, and others like him, believe to be the main cause, is unexpressed pain.  It is a saying so commonplace lately to have become almost trite, but “hurt people hurt people”.

Traver also spent an interesting and enlightening year, dubbed his “Year to Live”, where he spent months on a hospice unit, learning from the sick and dying, as well as a full month in darkness and isolation, in order to better face down his own demons, in addition to several other projects centered around resetting his life after the loss of a pregnancy and the following divorce from his wife.  I have been following him on social media, watching his YouTube videos and TED Talks, and even bought his book.  This past month, I finally went all the way and signed up to join the Uncivilized Nation, and am currently working through my initiation process.  We are starting with push ups and cold showers, as well as contacting others already in the group, and reading the book.

You might not know this, but I spent most of my school career wishing I could be the person I imagined myself to be.  It is likely why I fell in love with so many fiction and fantasy stories where a wise and learned master comes to take a hobbit on an adventure, for example … or tell a young boy he’s a wizard, for another.  Right at the tail end of college, and into some of the intervening years after, I learned that wanting things to be different would never be enough … you actually had to have to courage to try and make things the way you imagined them.  This was when I started to really take control of my life, to choose my own path, but it took a while to get on the course, and there are still many times where I would relish some guidance.  When I found Traver, it was like hearing ideas that had been in my own mind, but I had never had the courage to voice to the world myself.  I frequently find myself frustrated when reality comes butting heads with my imagination of how I would like things to be, and the lessons I am learning from this group and this man show me better ways to either find the strength to make my dreams come true, or find an understanding of when I would be better served to work within the practical.

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