By Breanna Xavier Carter
“There’s no way it’s a weakness—there’s nothing weak about expressing yourself.”
Relationship Status: Single
How do you think that love is present in your own life?
I love myself. I think I’m old enough now to realize who I am as a person. I’ve grown to appreciate this, I’ve never really stepped back and looked at myself before the last couple of years. I believe that everything I do in my life is driven by love, I want to make something of myself because I love my parents and I want them to be proud of me. I know that they love me and I want them to realize that all the stuff they taught me growing up hasn’t gone to waste. I love what I do and it drives me to work harder because of it.
Have you ever felt like you were in-love with something or someone?
I’ve been in-love with a woman before, it was cool, I didn’t love her because of what she could do for me, but rather I loved her because of what she could do for herself, it’s how she could carry herself.
The thing that really drives my love is the stuff that I do. I love to make money off of things that I genuinely enjoy doing. I’m a carpenter right now: I love being outside, I love exploring, I love the fact that I get to be by myself and produce this work for myself. I find that I’m in love with the idea of a lot of things too, like going up north and building a house for myself, I love that idea and will definitely do that at some point.
Growing up, who taught you about love or where did you learn about it?
My mom, for sure: she’s really good at expressing herself and so she encouraged me to do the same. Growing up she always expressed how much she loved me, and would use the word unconditional love, to help me learn. She was always there for me and supported me, same with my father but it’s different, in that sense. He grew up in a time where things weren’t all “lovey-dovey,” so he has a hard time showing his softer side when it came to his kids, I have no problem with it, he taught me to express myself in other ways.
Do you believe that there is a stigma surrounding men and how they express love or emotions, in general?
I think there was, but we’re moving forward from that—we’re slowly moving out of it. For me personally, I’ve never been one to hold anything in, I always tell people how I feel. For men, I feel like love can be expressed in different ways like showing respect for what someone does or supporting a friend in what they do. I find men always have a problem when another man expresses himself emotionally. It seems to be looked at as a weakness, for some reason. There’s no way it’s a weakness—there’s nothing weak about expressing yourself.
Was there ever a time where you felt like you had to limit yourself from expressing too much love because you’re a man?
That’s happened to me on multiple occasions, sometimes guys will tell me I gotta chill. I don’t really care too much, I’ve never been ashamed to express myself. I think this fear of expressing too much, is rooted in guys thinking that they are going to lose their “man-cards” if they act in those ways. We’ve got these shells of this strong, tough guy look, every guy wants to be a man’s man.
Everything that we learn and see growing up teaches us that this is the way we should be. Even watching something as simple as an action movie, the persona of a man that we see goes into our subconscious, and makes us think that this is the right way to be a man. None of this is true at the end of the day. I’ve seen guys I know limiting themselves, like they’ll cut their sentence off, change subjects or carry on with another sentence. You can just tell they’re holding something in.
Do you have any male role models in your life that teach you about love?
There’s not a lot of them, but i’ve always been particular in choosing who my role models are. One of them is definitely my father, he’s always shown his support for me no matter what. Growing up, I looked to male role models to show me what respect is, how to be a gentlemen and what hard work means.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with one or two words.
Love is timeless. When it comes to actual love between people, there shouldn’t be a time limit on anything like that. If you love something, you should love it for the rest of your life, no matter what it is. If you have a passion that you love, there shouldn’t be any time limits on that for yourself. Love is a beautiful thing to have, it has to be unconditional.