July 14, 2022

Fireside Chat With Maddox: Unpacking masculinity and looking at it from multiple perspectives

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My guests Travis Stock and Bryan Kosarek couldn't have been better partners to dive deep into this topic.  We discuss the continuum from conscious masculinity to performative masculinity and everything in between.  Masculinity as an external way of being and also as an unseen energy that is in all of us, even if we aren't aware of it.  We also discuss the interplay of masculine and feminine energy.  I found the conversation to be very affirming and healing all at the same time.  If you feel disconnected, confused, or put off by the topic of masculinity or you would like to have a better understanding, this bonus episode is for you.  With new words and new meanings of existing words popping up every day, I have created a "new" word in honor of this discussion.  You'll need to listen to find out what it is.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Travis and Bryan, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm so glad to have you guys here for our discussion on masculinity today. So Travis, introduce yourself, please.

Travis Stock  0:17  
All right, thanks medics for having me back for another conversation with you. Our first one was so great. I'm just excited to be here again, my name is Travis stock. I'm a coach, as well as I do a version of coaching that involves horses. So I take people out and do experiential learning that requires people to be in their bodies, and very relational in nature, building a relationship with a being that doesn't speak the same language as you do. And so some of my favorite work to be doing, but I'm also really passionate about evolving, helping us evolve as men and helping us evolve our definitions of masculinity. So I host a podcast called The New masculine, which Maddox has been a guest on. And we've been able to have continuing conversations about what is kind of not working for all of us, and where do we want to go as men as we've had all these really intense conversations on a cultural level, least here in the US around masculinity? What do we want to do with it with that information? And how do we want to take ownership of our own work? So it's kind of what I'm focused on? What I'm putting out in the world.

Coach Maddox  1:20  
Sounds awesome. Thank you, Travis. What about you, Bryan,

Bryan Kosarek  1:24  
Maddox and Travis, it's great to see you guys, Maddox. Thank you, you always have great conversation. So I'm really looking forward to today's conversation as well. My name is Blanca stearic. I'm the founder of a new Wellness app called unite. We focus on creating short, curated conversations around wellness and personal growth, a lot of people. Well, we all are on our own similar journeys or on our own journeys, we do have similar struggles and challenges and goals that we're looking to achieve. And so how can we turn community into a form of self care and allow us to grow and have that expert support that peer support that introduction to knowledge and information that really allows us to expand in a new way. So we're working on an app that uses you know, short format, audio, curated content, and, you know, podcasts like yours, and Travis' will be on there. But yeah, that's what we're focusing on. We're launching in the summer of 2022, which is going to be coming up here just a month. But yeah, I look forward to sharing that with you guys look forward to being here and forward to this conversation.

Coach Maddox  2:24  
I love being in the presence of men who are making a contribution to our community and the world in general. So thank you guys so much. We have had some great conversations I have with with both of you. And I've been really excited about this. So I thought we would start off sharing a little bit about our personal journey with masculinity. And I'll I'll lead off and then I'll let each of you guys have a turn. As a child, you know, of the late 60s and early 70s, I was I was deemed a sissy This was before we even use the word gay. So the boys in school called me a sissy. And that happened to the degree that I internalized that. And I mean, I really internalized it. And my whole life, I have been very challenged to even talk about the topic of masculinity. It was a thing that carried great shame for me. And I don't think I've ever even really gotten clear that it was shame. Until it I had gotten to the other side of it. Like I just can look back now and clearly see how much shame there was about feeling like I didn't even remotely measure up to the world's standard of what masculinity meant. I was a an effeminate young man, I have been. I mean, I'm not overly effeminate, but I've been an effeminate being my whole life. And there was a point when I, I saw you know, it just seemed like watching our community. I don't can't remember what it was 10 years 15 years ago, there seemed to just become this fixation on masculinity. I mean, I watched so many men change their whole way of being I don't know whether we collectively got tired of being deemed as you know, sissies or or girly or feminine or anything like that. But I mean, I can remember one point being on one of the dating apps and just flipping through profile after profile that said masculine seeking the same and I felt like that eliminated me profile after profile after profile, it just just single one statement, just elim. donated me and it was really painful. And about two years ago, I was in a group coaching program with a group of people, there were only two males in the group, the rest were females. And the other male and I got close, he's a straight man. And we continue to be close. And at one point, we were on a zoom and decided that we were going to do a grounding exercise on masculinity. And I just sat down with pen and paper. And our may have been, I may have been typing on the screen. Now, I don't remember I was probably typing. And it was like I was channeling it just poured out of me, my own definition, you know, grounding yourself in something is not a standard definition, like a dictionary. But grounding is your own personal definition of it. And it came out of me like, it just flowed out of me, like it was coming from another place, it was a single page. And when I finished and read, read it back, I couldn't believe what I had just written. And in that moment, there was this shift, I felt a sense of peace come over me. The shame was released. And now, I mean, I certainly have conversations about masculinity like we are today, because I think it's really, really an important thing. I don't shy away from those anymore. But at the same time, I'm not in social Senate's situations where that that fear or that shame, or that masculinity thing comes up for me, I've, I've really gotten to the other side of it. And, for me, what I discovered through my grounding, which was so healing, um, because we live in a world that I see where it's mostly, you know, you're either or, you're either masculine or feminine, it's this either or thing, there's no end. And if you're a male, God forbid, you exhibit any feminine qualities. And what came to me and my grounding was, that's where my peace, my balance, and my strength is, when I really, really got that I could be in the middle and call on those energies in any given situation, I could call on the energy that I needed in that moment to deal with or get to the other side of whatever was going on. It was just remarkable. And I can see how strong both of them are in me. And it was just a game changer. And I wish that we I'm actually working on this and and I'll run this by you at some point. In a few minutes, we'll talk about this, but I wish we I searched everywhere for a term that would like fit a person like myself, I don't fit into the masculine box, I don't fit into the feminine box, but I fit in a box like, extrovert. Introvert, we have an ambivert. I'll go ahead and say it. So I think I'm coining a phrase tell me what you guys think about this. Ambiline, masculine, feminine Amberlynn

Bryan Kosarek  8:13  
I like that.

Coach Maddox  8:15  
I don't know, what do you think? Do you think it works? 

Bryan Kosarek  8:17  
It works. I think we're in an age where people are creating new definitions, whether it's accepted widely by society, or it just speaks to you. I think the best part about where we're living right now in this moment, is that people realize there is a spectrum. And we can have that and be somewhere not. And or sorry, not or but and we can exist in that and space and allow ourselves to thrive in that space.

Coach Maddox  8:44  
Well, and it's fluid. For me, I realize it's very fluid. And that's what I love about it. It's not like okay, it's at the 50% mark. No, it's a slider that goes back and forth, like changing the treble and the bass in the equalizer of your, your sound system. So I that's what I got. I'm gonna pass it on Brian, why don't you go and share your personal journey?

Bryan Kosarek  9:07  
Sure. So masculinity for me, I would have to say, you know, I grew up in a really interesting environment, most of the men in my family and I want to be careful how I say this, because it's, I'm intending it to be a positive thing, but are a little more they're not your traditional roles of masculine right, they're very masculine, but they're a soft masculine. Almost in the family sometimes can be a little you know, as they would say the women are more the dominant or powerful role but the men have been an example to me growing up and I don't even know it, that growing up that you know that to me, they were just the guys my family is my uncle's, my father, my grandparents. They all had just a gentle kindness to them. And so that was an example for me growing up. And it wasn't that they were sensitive. I don't I don't know how to describe it. Exactly. They were just President, they were there when I needed them. They weren't dominating me, they didn't have any expectations of me. You know, I look at my brother in law and sister and they are not gender rolling their kids, you know, so they allow their children to show up as they want. And so it's been a really interesting environment. I lived in Texas, I grew up in Chicago. And I've seen both sides of the spectrum where you come from a family with really dominant men or really dominant women as well. But the men in my family have set a really good definition, or example of what it means to be masculine, because it has always been this calm, not ego driven, sensitive, but not, you know, emotional, it's just been a very consistent example of what masculinity means to me. And so I've carried that with me, I tend to be a little bit more dominant, probably the most of the men of my family. But that has been a great example to me for what masculinity means. It's it's not always having to puff your chest, you know, have that deep voice. You know, whatever example you perceive masculinity. So yeah, that's been my experience with it. And, you know, my father will be the first guy to hug any of my gay friends, because he knows a lot of guys didn't grow up with a father that did hug them. And he wants to make sure that my friends feel that fatherly hug, you know, when he sees them. So almost everyone, he hugs, and I think it's just a beautiful example of, of what it means to be masculine.

Coach Maddox  11:30  
That is beautiful. Yeah.

Travis Stock  11:35  
We need more dads like that. Right? Yes. Healing, just even hearing that.

Bryan Kosarek  11:42  
It really is. And it's one of the things that I think I will appreciate the most as time goes on, and everybody gets older is that it's just, you know, ever since I was a kid, it was never, you know, you need to be more of a man or you need to be more this, it's just show up as you are. I'm here when you need me. You know, you know, and this is a conversation I would love for all of us to talk about is really what is the definition of masculine, right? Like, medics, you have yours, but I think that's a great question for people to ask. And obviously, Travis, I would love to hear your experience with masculinity. But at some point, I would love for us to actually define what it means. Or, or maybe what you know, yeah. Anyways, Travis are when

Coach Maddox  12:25  
it doesn't mean

Travis Stock  12:26  
that it does. The blade exactly starting to be easier to decide for a lot of us when it doesn't be for what it no longer means for a lot of us. And so I do think it's really important to start defining what it is for ourselves. And I'm putting language to what it is my experience and journey with masculinity I, I feel like I came into this world as a very sensitive little boy, emotionally sensitive, very sensitive to my environment. And I grew up in a very liberal accepting family. My mom had good friends that were gay men, I grew up in a reconciling congregation of The United Methodist Church. And so they were the pastor's were performing gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies throughout my childhood. So it seemed like everything was set up for me to just like kind of not take on so much shame and to not really struggle with my masculinity. But as a sensitive boy, I was picking up on sort of the cultural messages that were happening in the 80s, and the 90s, around gay men. And so I felt like I in some ways failed as a man from the moment I came into this world because I was gay, because I I couldn't fit that man box. And I was too afraid to like really show up in that. And so I spent a lot of time really trying to divorce myself of anything that I saw as on the feminine side of the spectrum, my emotionality, my sensitivity, even my language, my verbal language skills that I care for others. And so I really tried to kind of like I became a bit more rigid as I got into my like adolescence when I started recognizing that I needed to hide in some ways. And so it's been a journey for me of really like learning to reclaim parts of myself that I left behind a long time ago. And interestingly, as I've done that work to reintegrate these pieces of myself that I found to be a bit more on the feminine side of things, really natural, strong, masculine elements come out of my personality that I didn't really that I was trying to perform before and now they're just a part of who I authentically am like, when I allow the right balance as medics, you were talking about that balance piece to being in fluidity with it all. When I allowed myself to be back in that fluidity and not rigid and holding myself in something I no longer had to perform certain parts of it. I just got to optically be and so yeah, I I got really fascinated around this topic around masculinity. When I was training as a coach and I my mentors were running workshops that were meant for just men. And what I watched with these men come together and do the thing that we all do with each other, we just kind of scope each other out who has more power than who kind of not be vulnerable, not share anything, play nice but and then one guy in every single group would always break the rules of the man box and would cry and share something vulnerable about what his experience was. And then every other man would fall like a domino and every other man is ready to cry and ready to hug and like every bit, so what I found was, men are craving more intimacy with each other. And our current models of masculinity do not allow that and do not give us space to really connect with each other even in like, I'm talking about non sexual intimacy, caring for each other vulnerability with each other, supporting each other. And so I got really hooked in those like early workshops, that's helping support those of like, I want to create more spaces where men can do that that's a part of my sort of new space of masculinity is is that we redefine the ways we're in relationships with each other that allow us to really reflect on what's our intention? And what's the impact our intentions are happening in our relationships? And what are we doing to like, tend towards the relational aspects between us, rather than just sort of going after our own goals and achieving that are kind of more in line with the traditional models of masculinity. So that's kind of where I am, it took me a long time to feel safe enough as a gay man to show up in this conversation around masculinity. I was really concerned that the feedback I would get was what does this bag have to do? Tell me anything about being a man because that's the story I internalized as a child. And so And truth be told, as soon as I launched my podcast, I got some of that feedback online. And I, my childhood fears were proved right, like, look, somebody's criticizing me.

But as I've done my own work, and really looked at the people that matter and the perspectives that matter, and really being willing to show up, I recognize that really engaging these conversations around masculinity is not only about the change I want to see out there in the world, but it's also really about my own healing journey. taking up space in a conversation, I didn't necessarily feel welcome in for most of my life, and to just take a seat at this table and say, I think I have a perspective to offer here. And I'm going to bring it regardless of whether or not people say I'm allowed to or not. So my journey with masculinity has been about like, feeling like I didn't have it, feeling like I had to perform it, integrating pieces of it for myself, and then like continuing to step along my own healing journey of reclaiming my ability to take up space in a positive way. And yeah, that's kind of what I'm focusing on. I'm not always perfect with it at this point in my life, but I'm still learning how to heal and help that little boy transform his relationship to his, his sort of presence in the

Coach Maddox  17:52  
world. Well, I hope you never get perfect with it, because then you'll be unrelatable. Where you are personally.

Bryan Kosarek  18:06  
You know, I think it's really important, again, coming back to that definition because I as much as we have progressed, as you were talking, Travis, I am just looking at a lot of the men that I've met that are younger in the world today. And I can't say that, well, from one segment of the queer community, it has progressed and allowed them to be more their authentic self, I still think that masculinity and ego where we're currently at in society is at an all time high. And as the world grows, and, and social media allows us to amplify our voices, those voices get even louder. And Maddox, you use those definitions of the performative versus the authentic, and I love that this is the conversation that you're cultivating is because I don't think a lot of people know what authentic masculinity looks like. It's just how can we be louder? How can we get our voices heard. And that's rippling, has rippling effects for everyone. But it's just a really interesting time with social media, where we have all these platforms for everyone have their voice heard, and whether they're aware of what their voice is. There's a lot of energy in that space right now. And so, you know, being clear on what what is, you know, again, I would love to define this just so as we go through this conversation, we could keep coming back to that definition of masculinity or what it is or what it isn't either way.

Coach Maddox  19:33  
You know, I think it's like a diamond that has many facets, because there's an element of masculinity that's visual. You know, it's, it's your features. It's the way you walk, it's the way you talk. It's the way you move your hands, it's your facial expressions. Some of its auditory, you know, it's it's the way you use the inflection of your voice. And then it's the way you show up in life. You No, are you a leader? Are you a follower? Are you sensitive? Or so there's just so many pieces to this puzzle to look at? Do we want to just randomly go? Or do we want to kind of maybe unpack? Do we want to talk first about the physical, visual aspects? What do you guys think?

Travis Stock  20:20  
Think something that feels important for me to that to bring into this conversation of all points that I think especially as queer men, I think we have to sort of honor the community that we belong to. And we belong to a community where our siblings in our community are disrupting gender norms, and are creating more fluidity in the gender experience. And so one of the things I like to make sure to bring into conversations like is, are we talking about masculinity, which is the social norms that we asked men to demonstrate in order to perform that but to show up as masculine in our culture? Or are we talking about masculine and feminine energies, that thing that we all have access to? That sort of yin and yang of energy in between all of us? And so when we're defining this, are we talking about the gender expression of masculinity? Or are we talking about natural energies that arise within us that we can have access to all because I think in some ways, that's why I love why you've met as you brought up that Anne Boleyn and think is your word to describe this, because so much of my conversations are about trying to talk about energy, but I'm using language that really on off often triggers that gender binary thing when we think masculine we think men and when we think, feminine, we think women. And yet, as it seems like we all kind of experience, we have both masculine and feminine energies in us, and we have access to all of it. And so I think when we're having a broader conversation that other people are hearing, it's like to really differentiate, what are we defining redefining energy? are we defining those sort of social prescriptions that we as men have to show up?

Coach Maddox  21:58  
I think it's D, all of the above,

Bryan Kosarek  22:00  
it's totally and that's why I wanted to bring it up, because so many people look at masculine and feminine as the gender roles, but it's something so much deeper that we all have. And that was I had an earlier conversation about this with a group of ladies. And it just blew my mind that as a society, we're conditioned to think about the gender norms and the roles and yet, it's something so much deeper that people never even think about on a daily basis were ebbing and flowing through the masculine and the feminine, just to get through the day, such as taking a shower is feminine, stopping, calming down, you know, having meetings giving feedback is feminine. You know, maybe if you're in sales going out and and reaching out to people and working towards a goal is masculine. So every day, we're going through this ebb and flow of masculine and feminine, but people that consider themselves to be masculine don't even realize they're going through these feminine roles within the day. And so I think it is really important to bring this to people's awareness that there's such a deep conversation. It's such a deep topic. But I, you know, I think like Maddox, you said, I think we have to take a look at all of it, to really understand how it shows up in our life and within ourselves.

Coach Maddox  23:19  
I know, there was something you said a minute ago, Travis about the you know, the energies and that ebb and flow, what I experienced when I defined, grounded myself and masculinity and, and really like that accepted and embraced that fluidity. And that what I've been calling integration of those two energies, there was a power that came that search through me that was greater than anything I've ever felt in my life. And so for me, it's made me realize that when we do the either or thing, we are cutting ourselves off from a really big chunk of our personal power. If you're going to do Oh, I'm just masculine, and you're gonna negate the feminine thing or vice versa, you are cutting yourself off to a source of immense power.

Travis Stock  24:24  
So true. And yeah, I, what I in my conversations with men, what I keep running into as though a lot of us believe based on how we were socialized from boys into manhood, that if we accept and integrate pieces of ourselves that are more aligned with the feminine energy, that it will lose power in our culture that will be seen as less than that we will. I mean, if you look at the ways that we, as men, in our culture kind of haze each other in to that that sort of traditional masculinity definition is by feminizing men like asthmatic She brought up calling each other sissies calling each other, don't be girly, don't be this. So we from a really early age start to police each other's behaviors around that. And so when you think about integrating all of that back in, it does feel like you're going counterculture, like you're going to lose power that you're going to lose standing in the world. And yet, what you're expressing and what's been true for me, too, is that it's been such an additive process, it has given me so much more power, so much more strength to give myself permission to be on that, to flow in that energy space to meet the moment as it is, rather than trying to control and force reality to be what I think it needs to be, to just meet the moment and sometimes be vulnerable and caring, and receiving. And sometimes to be out there and also going after something and really goal or goal oriented than achieving, it's given me more it's been added rather than subtractive.

Bryan Kosarek  25:55  
I agree with you, I think one of the most beautiful experiences I've had with men, heterosexual or homosexual, has been the men that can walk up to that line of being feminine and masculine. And we had this yesterday, we were out at brunch, and the server which we all kind of had a gut feeling he was identified as heterosexual. But he had the ability to converse and relate and just talk with us as three gay men at brunch and it was the most beautiful thing and like literally, we applauded him for being able to step into that feminine and have conversation and joke around and, and poke but also still be in his own power as a man, a heterosexual man. And so the most amazing men when when straight men figure this out, you know, and also men who identify as or are gay, it's the most beautiful thing when you learn that ebb and flow. It's It's a dance of relating, being vulnerable, conversing, showing emotion, but yet still anchoring yourself and your, your, your values and your beliefs, but you know, somebody else else's values and beliefs don't impact you, because you're so firm with who you are. And it's just the most beautiful thing when people can ebb and flow out of that state. And it's one of the most powerful tools like you guys are saying, for any human being to be able to have is to go back and forth between those and use them as needed to work towards a common goal that you know, you want for yourself or for others. But yeah, I agree with you, Travis. It's a very powerful thing when people do figure it out to watch and experience.

Travis Stock  27:30  
actually really love that space that happens between straight identifying men engage. And because I think there's so much healing on both directions that can happen in those kinds of relationships, where were heterosexual men that have not really fully been able to give themselves permission to access parts of their feminine can do so in relationship with gay men. And as gay men, if we have any wounding around sort of our masculinity, or have had rejection or bullying from other men, we get to really do our work and heal with straight men that are safe and that are willing to do that work with each other. And so I think there's such a really beautiful flow of energy and healing that can happen and transformation between men who identify differently sexually as long as there's safety in the relationship for both parties.

Coach Maddox  28:17  
I have at least four really close relationships with heterosexual men. And all of them have cried in my presence. And there are two of them. That cry every time they're in my presence. Every single time they're in my presence, it doesn't matter if we're in a friggin restaurant. They cry in my presence. I you know, anybody that knows me well has heard me say, oh my god, I'm a sucker for a man that can cry. What you said something a minute ago. Travis that that made me think you know, one of the things that I'm always talking about in my podcast and everything I do is the authenticity piece. You know, that's yours is masculinity. Mine is authenticity. And I'm always telling my listeners, my clients, whoever, that when, when we can truly step into our authentic, authentic self. We naturally attract the people that are our people, the people that are most ideal for us. And I believe that carries over into this masculine feminine peace in his fluidity. I know that I experienced I talked a minute ago about when I embrace the fluidity in both and integrated that power. But I also had a very distinct experience of suddenly attracting just the ideal people. There's something magic that happens when we step into our authenticity. But there's also something magic that happens when we step into our, our ambulance. And an honor both.

Bryan Kosarek  30:23  
Do you guys? I'm sorry to interrupt. Go ahead. I was

Coach Maddox  30:26  
just gonna say it does draw it first, I was gonna say the people that we would most want to draw, and there is that element. But I think it's deeper than that. I think it draws the people that we most need to be around like, on a energetic level, on a soul level, I don't know. Are you going to say, Brian,

Bryan Kosarek  30:48  
do you guys have a term that you use? Like, I consider myself to be a highly sensitive person, person? And HSP?

Coach Maddox  30:55  
Absolutely. I'm an HSP.

Bryan Kosarek  30:56  
Do you guys have any other terms that you've used as men or, or in describing your masculinity that you use to describe yourself, because a lot of people don't use the term HSP or, you know, whatever it is, but I, you know, had an experience last night that showed up for me, almost in a toxic masculine way, with my best friend at 22 years. And he, and this has also played out repeatedly with my own mother, that I, you know, they invited me to something next week, and I was like, no, no, I don't know, I can't commit yet. And they kept pushing me on it, why not? You know, and I started to get angry, and what the root cause of it was, after we came back full circle, you know, a minute or two later, we went through some pretty intense emotion. And I said, Listen, I feel like I'm letting you down. And I said, I don't like to let people down. And when I feel like I was letting my mother down, or my best friend down, it comes out as anger, not at them at myself for feeling like I'm letting them down. And so masculinity has this weird way, especially if you are a highly sensitive person of showing up because we have some we have, what am I trying to say here we've, you know, developed in a way that we've had to suppress our emotions. So we don't show up in those roles repeatedly, where we feel let down or upset or angry. And I think when people, specifically men are HSPs, highly sensitive people, or other terms, which I would love for you guys to share, if you have anything else. They just seem like this angry, toxic, masculine, but it really what it is, we're just the sensitive people that we have a lot of expectations or thoughts or emotions or feelings around people we love and when they don't line up and can show up in a weird way. So I would love just to see if you guys have used any other words to describe yourselves as sensitive men,

Coach Maddox  32:48  
I have to come to my mind, I frequently will describe myself as an Intuit, which is feminine energy, I will describe myself as an empath, which I believe even though there are many intuitive and empathic men, I do believe that they're both more in the feminine energy. And those are words that I use, I will tell people, I'm an HSP, I'm an empath. I'm an intuitive, and there's probably more but that's what's coming to mind right now.

Travis Stock  33:18  
I tend to focus on, I fall into like, in any of the kind of personality exams that I can take, I tend to fall into the archetype of the caregiver, as a as a person. And so I think I often describe myself as like a relationally, focused man, somebody that and I think you can get there through the empathy piece because empathy requires you to be relationally aware and requires you to be able to be seen, see something from someone else's experience, and put yourself in their shoes. And so I really tend to focus on that. And then if you catch me on a different day, when I'm being a little crass about myself, codependency is one of the things that I've always really navigated and so I can say that it's I've jokingly said that codependency is one of my superpowers, and also one of the things that gets in my way. But I like what you're talking about Brian around this whole sensitive man thing because I, I come from a family of very sensitive men. And each one of us copes very differently my brother and my dad, like my dad being like the source of from from, I didn't know my dad was so sensitive as a child, but I saw the way he coped with his, with his sensitivity and with His tenderness, and he did it in a little bit more of the traditional masculine ways hardening up getting more angry, dominating, controlling a little bit. And I didn't like that it didn't feel very good. And so then I learned my version of it, which was to swing the pendulum all the other way and get like out of balance in the feminine to never express a boundary to never get angry to never and that was more of that like, as I said, my codependence codependent patterns. And so I've just been able to see in the three men that belong in my immediate family like we're all I'm very sensitive guys. And once I get to see how like just like, understand how sensitive we are, and notice that we all cope with it a little differently. And then we get to like start to work towards, at least within our family network in the relationships we have with each other as men, how do we create safety for each other sensitivity? How do we value that? How do we help each other be more emotionally literate, and those moments when we are when our sensitivity is triggered? And we need to communicate about it rather than getting angry or projecting or abandoned in the conversation? Like how do we create room for us to be with each other sensitivities and learn to communicate within them so that we can actually be safe for each other. So we don't have to keep asking each other to harden up in a world that we're we're quite sensitive as men.

Bryan Kosarek  35:46  
And it's, it's a very small moment in life when you go from truly, as a young kid embracing or not embracing, because you don't just having that raw, authentic sensitivity to, oh, I have to be a man now I have to go to school, I have to interact with my friends and, and almost feels like and I'm watching this as an uncle with nephews watching that play out now as an adult. And it's such a quick moment. It isn't it isn't. It's, you know, it happens quickly when you get into middle school. And then it just, you know, over time it it creates this barrier, this armor. But it's just it makes me sad that we don't have the language or the guidance from such a young age to manage and develop that sensitivity because it should be the strength of men. You know, one of my nephew's is one of the most sensitive and unbelievable men, but I'm just watching him navigating becoming an adult and how to work with those emotions. And it's like, oh, it's real Israel, when we go from this sensitive being to this, you know, standard of society of what we have to be to be a man or masculine. And so anyways, yeah, it's really interesting. And

Travis Stock  37:00  
I wish that what would you say, George? What would you say is your strength of being a sensitive man? Like you've sort of said, like, see if we can see ourselves as that as a strength as men? What do you think it brings into the world that you're such a sensitive

Bryan Kosarek  37:15  
guy? Repeat that last part again?

Travis Stock  37:19  
What do you think your sensitivity helps you bring into the world? Like, what is it as it says, the strength as you show up and make space for yourself to just be the sensitive man that you are?

Bryan Kosarek  37:30  
I mean, I think like Maddox, it's the intuitive, the intuitive, being able to kind of sense out what's needed in an area with a room of people, you know, and also, Leo, we're very passionate about our community and the people we surround ourselves with. And I would say that, you know, for better or worse, it has always been gauging and sensing the temperature and the needs of a community or a group, a lot of my work has always been around community, whether that's intergenerational, you know, queer work, you know, just bringing community together. And so I would say, that's definitely probably been one of my biggest strengths is managing feeling sensing the the need of the collective and trying to figure out how we could make everyone feel welcomed and happy and heard, and so forth.

Travis Stock  38:20  
It seems like such an important element of what I call the new masculine or what we call authentic masculinity, or what's ahead of us is to be able to sense the needs of our communities in some ways, we've become so individualistic and we become so like brittle in terms of our ability to be in relationships with each other, even when, especially when we disagree on different things, that being able to be censored or sensitive enough to value and feel those that you're in community with, and to make sure that we're tending to that not just tending to my own selfish wants and needs and my own desires, but to be able to feel all of that that does feel like an imperative that we need to be moving forward with his men because things are unsustainable, the path they're on is brittle out there and it is not going well and so I think I love that you're pointing that out as what it helps you do and I think we need to keep finding ways to allow us as men to develop that skill set to feel our communities and to feel the feel because I do work with horses I often say the metaphor feel the hurt we're all we're a herd based animal just like the horses and so we need we understand that safety happens in numbers and so how do we continue to manage our own well being but also the well being of the herd as

Coach Maddox  39:34  
well? I love what you're saying about it's not sustainable as it is I agree. Completely. There's there's two things coming up for me right now one is back to your question Brian about how do we describe ourselves? Another I realized another way that I frequently will describe myself as I will just point blank say I am a highly sensitive man no highly Emotional man, I am a highly emotional man. And then something you said number two thing that's coming up for me, Travis about how do we hold space? Or I don't remember how you worded it? How do we be sensitive to our community in creating that space for them to get in touch with that part of themselves. And for me that shows up in that empathic ability, like I can be, and I was thinking about this, and then it then an example came forth. I can be with somebody, and they're, they're sharing a story, and they're feeling all this emotion, but they're not expressing an ounce of it outwardly, but I can feel it. And this actually happened. When Brian and I recorded his episode, on the authentic Amen podcast. There was a moment about three quarters or maybe even a little bit more through the, through the recording, where I'd asked him some question, and he's answering the question. And outwardly, he's just answering the question, but inwardly I could feel all of this emotion. And I said, Ryan, stop. What are you feeling right now? And he was like, Well, I don't know. Stop. What are you feeling right now? And he cried, he just broke down and cried right there in the episode. It was. Well, it was the it was the beautiful moment of the episode there was the whole episode was amazing. But that moment, when you got in touch with that, that deep piece yourself. It touched me so deeply, it's touching you now thinking about it. And I can feel you right now. I'm telling you that it's touching you right. Now, while I'm saying this, I can. Totally. And this is that space that we need to be able to go to with each other. It's not that fucking hard. But why did we make itself back and hard?

Bryan Kosarek  42:05  
I think so many of us, you know, and you've shared this as well, but heterosexual men, and there's so many of us out there that just have never identified that we are sensitive people. And I, you know, it's I've connected with a handful of men who are heterosexual and very firm in their sexuality and confident, and they are just sensitive little creatures, and they just don't know how to express themselves. Because if they express themselves, they're, you know, they're scared, the women will think they're gay, or they'll, you know, their parents won't, or their father won't look at him the same way. And if they speak up, but there's so many of us that are, are out there hurting with all this emotion, and we just don't know who to turn to, as an outlet to let it out in a healthy way. And there just is not enough safe spaces. And I love what I'm seeing out there in the world. I see men's group groups in Austin in New York, and California and the northwest of men just doing amazing work. But that's not enough. That is not enough. This has to happen at a family level at a relationship level. That's when the change is happening. You know, I've watched some of the friends I was in Chicago where I grew up. And I connected with some old high school friends that now have kids, and just watching how they interact with their children when they want to be sensitive or are hurting, even queer men who have kids. You know, it has to happen at the relationship and the family level for it to ripple throughout society. And we're just not there. And we need to be if we're over the next decade going to create the change that we need in the world that has to be so much more safe and vulnerable. And people need to feel comfortable speaking up, whether they are right or wrong. People need to be able to say something and people need to listen.

Coach Maddox  44:00  
I think we as gay men have the ability to create that space for heterosexual men. I believe, you know, I have definitely somebody said to me recently, we're the only ones that can create that space for heterosexual men. I don't remember whether that was a man or a woman now that said that to me, but I it took me aback I was like, and I stopped and I thought about it for a minute. And I thought, okay, they can't go to their fellow heterosexual men, because they'll they'll be shamed, or it's just not received Well, generally speaking, and they can't really go to their female counterparts either because it's just too vulnerable. They didn't want to be seen as weak by, by women, you know, because women are looking for a man that's strong and can provide and so they can't go to their spouse very well and do that for fear of losing They're their whole I don't know what it meant even trying to articulate their I don't have a word for it, but their station in life with their their spouse. But we don't pose any threat as long as the heterosexual man is security, sexuality. We don't pose any threat and we really can hold that space. For them. I have one friend that has literally laid his head on my shoulder and sobbed like a baby. And I held him while and he's he's a manly man. I mean, he's about 36 years old. And he's this raging business person that just crushes that he's like, I don't know, a vice president of some big company. And I mean, he's, he's a manly man. And and then there's those moments when that fluidity is there. And he steps into that vulnerable, childlike place that that hurt little boy. And words can't fully express how beautiful that is, when I see that. Like, there's no words to really do that justice. I think we are close. You know, the minute that happens when the day you cried on my podcast height, I felt a closeness to you that hadn't felt yet it just there's something that deep that happens that I call it magic. I'm sure there's a better word for it. But it feels magical to me.

Travis Stock  46:48  
There I mean, we are uniquely positioned as gay men and men as queer people to as we float between worlds as we communicate information from both the masculine and feminine as we it's sort of part of the gift or the magic of being a queer person. And we are uniquely positioned to help in those areas. And I think one of the things you said Maddox was is that as long as this heterosexual man is comfortable, and his sexuality, I think we also have to own our work. Part of the of the relationship to as gay men is that we also have to be clear in our boundaries, and have done our own work around our own stuff around our sexuality. Because sometimes in those intimate spaces, when someone shows up vulnerably in it, it can get a little fuzzy, whether or not that's romantic or not. And so there is some of that does that need for us as gay men holding that space to have also done our work, and to have clear boundaries on just because somebody has allowed us in emotionally and vulnerably does not mean that triggers anything sexually, I've just seen where that kind of gets blurry for some gay men, if they haven't done their own work around that piece.

Coach Maddox  47:55  
I agree. And I want to add that that boundary that you're talking about setting, or this is my personal belief, you please share me well, if you see something different, but that boundary that you're talking about, to me is a boundary that I must set with myself. For sure. You know, I you know, we've all met gay men who thought it was the coolest thing to bag a bag a straight boy. I'm not the

Travis Stock  48:18  
whole porn industry that's just around that.

Coach Maddox  48:22  
I am not one of those gay men, I show up. Like 100% sent respectful of my heterosexual brothers, every straight man that I know no matter what my level of closeness with him is. And there's a spectrum because I had quite a few straight clients as a hairdresser. That loved me and I loved them. But they all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never cross that line. And that's the boundary that I set with myself, I would never cross that line. And that's part of why I think they open up to me the way they do energetically. They sense that I would never cross that line that that I have set a very firm boundary. I would never disrespect them like that. No, one of them said in the relationship. Yes, yes. If one of them came to me and said, Oh, my God, I've realized I'm in I'm in love with you, you know, would you would you consider a relationship with me? That's all bets are off there. That's a whole different thing. To the bag, the straight boy thing? No, no, no, no, no, no,

Bryan Kosarek  49:37  
this work is I mean, being vulnerable is a very intimate space. But it's the value that you assign the intimacy that comes from it. You know, when I was at the end of a relationship with my last boyfriend, it was a it was in Mexico City. We spoke two different languages. And it just became so hard to get through the day to day of communicate Eating and you know, addressing emotions that we just started to numb and not communicate. And it was before I left to head back to the States, we knew we had to go on our own separate ways. And I crossed a line that I shouldn't have. But we finally sat down and had time to have a very vulnerable, authentic conversation. And it was so beautiful that we we did have sex in that moment, because we felt so connected. And that's when I realized the power of vulnerability and communication. But that was specific to my relationship. Should I have gone there? Probably not. Because then that energy lingered on. But you do have to be very, very careful not to confuse vulnerability with intimacy, and there is an intimate component. But it's not.

Coach Maddox  50:44  
Yeah, they go hand in hand. They do. They're separate. They're, you know, it's just like authenticity and vulnerability, they go hand in hand, but there are two different things. Yeah.

Travis Stock  50:57  
And for us, as gay men, I think culturally, we can often establish intimacy through the physical. And so I think that that's where we have to do our own work of being in relationships with people that are not like, as we were talking about, sort of, like the heterosexual and gay male friendships and connections and support systems with each other is that we have to just make sure that we're doing our conscious of the consciousness work to remain conscious of what's coming up for us in those moments and holding our internal boundaries with ourselves. And and if we're getting confused, in that space within an intimacy to call it out, bring it out and to address it without letting the energy get like leaky sexual energy and kind of coercive energy as the trying to beg a straight boy, porn industry has created an allure around

Coach Maddox  51:50  
like, I've known men that weren't interested in meeting another gay man, man, that they were only interested in trying to bag the straight boy.

Bryan Kosarek  51:59  
I mean, that's a whole nother next level trauma. But yeah, I mean, I want to revisit your emotional share. And I want to bring this to light because I feel like at any given time, I have tears up to my bottom of my eyes that can come out at any moment. Right, and, and whether that's just being a highly sensitive person, person, whether it's my trauma, it's so important for people to realize that when they are vulnerable, when they do cry, that that is the entry point into their work right there. I thought we all got emotional. At the same moment in a movie, like I would always watch these home rehab or, you know, Queer Eye type shows that would help people improve and, and I would always cry, and my, my boyfriend at the time would never cry. And he's like, Why do you cry these, you don't cry with me. And it was in that moment that I realized that we don't all share the same emotion, emotional moments, I was crying, because I was scared that or I was crying because the people in those shows were receiving such pure love and just being loved on and that made me emotional, because I have a fear that I'll never receive that love. Whereas other people cry at different you know, I've worked with this heterosexual man who cried at when he would watch shows. When people were seeing for their authentic self, he would cry. And I found it so interesting that if we pay attention to when emotions show up, when tears show up, that is a amazing way to pinpoint the entry point into the work we have to do. And

Coach Maddox  53:46  
I love that I don't know that I've ever considered what you're saying right now. Like really looking at what is the what's the the moment that vehicle that's getting you to that point, you know,

Bryan Kosarek  53:58  
it's I always say the pain leads to the purpose, and I never understood what that is the pain is the entry point into finding your purpose and healing. And it's so true when you cry, if you just look at why am I crying? Why are there tears right below the bottom of my eyes, that I'm not letting out? You know, what is showing up? What's the feeling? What's the concern? What's the fear that's showing up that we're not addressing as men? I think we all like you said, All of us have this sensitive emotion inside of us, but we don't allow it to show up. But I think men should be asking themselves, Oh, wait, it's there. I'm not sharing it. But why is it there? What's the fear that I'm not going to have or experience in that moment? And I think that that's a question that we could all look at, across the board to understand where we could enter in our work or, or look at people in our life that we may be, you know, need some healing work around.

Coach Maddox  54:57  
Right? I find it interesting that Nine times out of 10. When I cry, people assume I'm sad. And that's rarely what it is. Every once in a blue moon, it is sad. But nine times out of 10 If I'm crying, it's because I have been so deeply touched. You know, one of my, my best friend who's deceased now, one Christmas, we were all together in the Christmas afternoon, we were watching Galaxy Quest, if you've seen Galaxy Quest, it's, it's a comedy. And I'm just crying on and off through the whole friggin movie. And he's looking at me like, I have three heads. He doesn't think, you know, what, why are you crying? Well, you know, it was just this. Never give up. Never give up, you know, there was just this energy that was happening among these people. And it just touched me so deeply. i There are, I could watch it 10 times, and I would cry all 10 times. I never get desensitized to it. I it just brings that up for me. But it's, I just find it interesting that people assume that tears or sadness, and tears can be happiness, tears can be anything. And we're so generally speaking, emotionally immature, that we just think it's, it's just, you know, once again, let's put it in the box masculine, feminine tears are sad. Let's just slide it into the pigeonhole box.

Travis Stock  56:33  
I think the thing that I love hearing you guys talk about this, because it's such a so much it's important. So that I bring to my work with men that I'm working with is developing this sort of emotional literacy, understanding that we have feelings, that those feelings are there to serve us and to give us information about things. And as you guys were sharing the medics, you're sharing the story of talking with Brian for the podcast, like, sometimes we're not even aware that that emotion is there at the top, right behind our eyes, it's ready to come and we need somebody else to give us permission to actually know what's there. And so for some of us, it's not just aware that I am holding back my tears, it's like somebody to be even able to ask us that question of like, what are you feeling right now? Use basic language to describe what it is. Is this happy? Is this sad? Is this grief? Is this like, Where? Where does this fall in the spectrum? Just to start the conversation around what it could be. That is that that moment of emotion is opening the door to Travis?

Coach Maddox  57:32  
I'm sorry, Travis, have Have you noticed, though, that oftentimes, what are you feeling right now? Is the question. And they immediately go right up here to their head, and they start telling you what they think. I have, in many instances now stopped asking, What are you feeling? And I've just said, Why don't you drop down into your body for a moment and just feel I don't have to put a label on it just yet. Just feel what's coming up right now. Just feel the sensations down in your physical body. And once they felt it, then, you know, if you say, so what are you feeling? Then they'll they'll come from that space rather than, like, as we go up into our heads we live, we all live in our heads, you know, so much. It's hard to drop down. In a world that we live in, it's hard to drop down into our physical body and actually feel the physical sensations.

Travis Stock  58:33  
Yeah, that's the key. It's the body. What do you feel in the body? Not? What do you what are you feeling? But what do you feel in the body? Describe to me the sensations you're feeling. I have always what I start with, because as we as some of us know, like, basically our bodies or our have, like there's hormones and stress stressors that are is a physiological response to happening within our bodies, that then we labeled that cluster of symptoms as anger, as sadness, as joy as that. And so if we get out of the mind and start describing the body sensation, first, we can start to build a relationship to what is underneath all of that.

Coach Maddox  59:14  
I've gotten where I'm pretty bold, I'll say, Okay, you're telling me what you think. And I didn't ask you that. I asked him. You know, I've just gotten really exactly old with it. I personally believe that our feelings or our internal GPS, Oh, absolutely. If you can't feel your feelings, and a lot of the world can't feel their feelings. I mean, I've had clients say, I don't know what you're talking about. What is failing. And I'm realizing Wow, you might as well be sitting in your car out in the middle of the Mojave, Mojave Desert, you know, with no map and no GPS because without your feelings, how do you navigate I can't imagine as as an HSP. That's felt my feelings from my end. higher life, I can't even wrap my mind around how I would navigate life if I couldn't feel my feelings. And yet the vast majority of the population doesn't either feel their feelings or doesn't allow themselves to either they can't or they won't.

Bryan Kosarek  1:00:15  
And Travis, you said something really important that I think needs to be reiterated. And this ties in Maddox Maddox point. But people don't give that themselves permission. So many of us need permission to go after a dream, to fill in a motion to speak up. But it's so not the truth, we need to give ourselves permission. More and more. That's that's the key is not waiting on other people's permission. I was out yesterday, like I said, with my group of friends, and, and in building this business, I was just like, Okay, here's this vision, I'll start in America, and I'll work this way. And there was a guy from the UK and he just said, you know, what you're doing on and you as a person will be great over here. People would love United's like, holy shit. You just gave me permission to think bigger than I was even thinking. And that's that was that's a metaphor for how we're all operating is that we think within the scope of what we know. But this outside person just gave me permission to think bigger than I give myself permission to think and, and that should be a question that a lot of us asked is why do I need permission? You know, and maybe it is just out of our scope of awareness or consciousness. But to many of us, especially queer men, and especially those who struggle with the toxic masculine, are always waiting for permission from other people to cry, to speak up to feel their emotions to dream, whatever it is, but I just wanted to reiterate that because that is we're

Travis Stock  1:01:48  
waiting. Our childhoods taught us to ask for permission to exist to take up space to feel like it's queer men like oftentimes, our childhoods taught us that and so it makes sense that we'd continue applying it to a place where I'm still working on owning my own masculinity is to really continue giving myself permission to show up and not asking for it outside of myself.

Bryan Kosarek  1:02:10  
Absolutely. It's so important to take up space in this world, there's more than enough space for everybody in a healthy ego state, with a healthy vision and dream for their life to take up as much space as they want, the world would be a much better place. If we all took up more space, you know,

Coach Maddox  1:02:28  
I wonder because I experienced this, Brent, from time to time, that that hesitancy to take up that space for fear that you will go too far, you know, and you'll suddenly be that person in the room that's sucking all the oxygen out of the room. I was in a space. This has been about, I don't know, a couple of three months ago now, in a space on a zoom call, there were like four of us. And, and one of them just point blank said, you've taken more than your fair share of the time today. And it was like, wow, it was like this, you know, and so it it kind of like, once somebody says that something to you? I don't know, for me, I become a little bit paranoid. You know, if he's experiencing me doing that, who else in the room is experiencing doing me doing that? And none of us want to be that person? You know?

Bryan Kosarek  1:03:29  
Totally. And that? I mean, that is? That is a question we should ask ourselves as we are experienced, you know, looking at what that does mean to take space. But as we always know that when somebody, when somebody voices a concern, it usually doesn't have to do with us, but it has less less to do with us more to do with their own experience and what they're going through. So what I would interpret there is he's saying I wanted to speak up and take up more space, but maybe I wasn't confident enough. And you took up the space that I wanted, but I wasn't having that ability.

Coach Maddox  1:03:59  
I think you're exactly right. It was more about him.

Bryan Kosarek  1:04:02  
Usually it is, but we take it personally, but it's usually a reflection of the internal state of the other person.

Coach Maddox  1:04:10  
Yeah, that's a great point. It's a projection.

Bryan Kosarek  1:04:15  
Because you can only have anger or feeling negative feelings towards someone, if it's something you're feeling about yourself, right. I mean, that's my understanding is, is what I hate about you is actually something I hate about myself internally. And so you weren't the confident person that he wanted to be. But he got angry because he couldn't be the confident person. You weren't

Coach Maddox  1:04:36  
well, and when he said that I said, you know, point taken and I made a mental note. You know, I just accepted it, and we moved on. But it did have a little bit of, you know, kind of dislike, you know, just a little bit of a lingering because like I said nobody you know wants to Be that person. I mean, in the last few months, I've discovered that I have some food sensitivities. And now every time I'm going out to eat with friends, I'm kind of having to say, yeah, it needs to be someplace where I can get this, this or this. And I'm friggin hating being that person. But I am that person suddenly, you know, it's like, there's no getting around it, but it's just some things I can't eat. If I'm going to take care of my health and well being. And yeah, it's hard sometimes, you know, it's great to take out the space when your space you're wanting to take up. And when it's space where you are taking it up, and you don't really feel like you have much of a choice. That's not always so wonderful. And there's hesitancy you know, it's like, now I have a little, a little wee bit of anxiety come up when somebody says, Let's go have dinner, because now I gotta go once again through this. Well, you know, wow. And I don't like being that person. Totally.

Bryan Kosarek  1:05:56  
Maddox, I would love to, you know, we briefly touched on that with Travis talking about, you know, what it does look like to be, you know, mess in the masculine, the, the modern masculine, there's a lot of conversations about what it means to be a man now. And as we move forward, I think the definition of masculinity is, is going to have to evolve just as Travis, you said, it's not sustainable of how we're experiencing masculinity. But what does it look like to be a modern masculine man? And what does it look like to be a modern, or sorry, an authentic masculine man, because I think a lot of us are looking for those examples of what it means to exist in our masculine and masculinity and how we can function at a higher, you know, evolutionary standpoint, in society as men, if we're no longer having to go out and, and hunt for our food, we're no longer having to dominate certain roles within the household, there's or genders within the household. If, if we're moving on past these norms of what we've always been in society. What is the future? Mel, back backed and backed, like, and how do they interact in society?

Coach Maddox  1:07:16  
This is Travis. I mean, I have some thoughts. I'm gonna, I'm gonna step back in because this is this is your forte. So

Travis Stock  1:07:25  
my, my position on this is, is that I, like I host a podcast called The New masculine and yet, I very clearly do not believe it is my role to define what the new masculine is, I want to bring in other voices into the conversation and together start to paint some pictures together that we can start to agree on, it feels like more of the old style of masculinity decide, okay, Travis has decided this is what the definition of the new masculine is, and everybody needs to get on board with that. The new version of it is it's like a collective gathering and painting a picture together. And I do think there's sort of like key tenants or like pieces that kind of build some of the picture. And I think some of that emotional literacy. I think some of that, being more comfortable in our sensitivity and vulnerability, like reintegrating pieces of ourselves that we left behind the little boys, the pieces that we were told we couldn't do, because that's not what boys did, sort of that reintegration to find our authenticity not to continue living in the coping strategies, we've learned to make it through this world or be the present the person we need to be in order to belong and receive love to really tap into that authentic being who we came into this world as, I think there's some key elements around that. But I think that each one of us is going to demonstrate our masculinity a little differently, and want to validate value that and to not ever ask every man to do it the way that I do it. But to also leave space for my version of it, and to value my version of it so that we're like, distributed like, I don't know, there's a piece it's really important for me and my conversations is around how do we did divorce the concept of masculinity and power right now they're sort of synonymous if you have masculinity, you're powerful. And if you don't, you're less powerful, but how do we like distribute power and distribute wellbeing and distribute resources amongst everybody instead of hoarding or doing power over techniques with each other? So there's some elements that I know how to kind of like that are key concepts within but I'm, I'm really curious about how we all define it together and how those like sort of puzzle pieces fit together rather than trying to force everybody to be the same puzzle piece kind of thing. For

Bryan Kosarek  1:09:45  
that's great, and I agree, I think it is definitely a collective collaborative experience now, the masculinity to share to be vulnerable. I think for me masking illinit II is also going to be a creative space, I think it's going to be slowing down instead of just saying this is what I know is right, this is what I have to go after, you know, let's do it or fall behind, I think it is going to be. And I'm seeing with this with some of my heterosexual counterparts as they're slowing down, too. The target squeaking on the toy in there, they're going to slow down to listen to themselves, they're going to be creative with their resources, their ability to navigate the path, and they're going to carefully plan and collaborate with the right people to create what they want. I think that is a piece of the puzzle for me, that I would love to see the new masculine grow into.

Coach Maddox  1:10:49  
When you say that though, I kind of feel like you're describing an insertion of feminine energy. Oh, the collaboration that I hear too, I'm hearing I'm hearing. I mean, I kind of feel like God, in a perfect world, we just abandon this masculine feminine shit, and we'd all become, you know, ambulance.

Bryan Kosarek  1:11:15  
I agree that's, that is the perfect solution. We should all be able to again, ebb and flow out of that masculine and feminine state. But a lot of men need permission to go into that state. And if if, if someone is listening to this, I want it to be clear that part of the new masculine is giving you permission to drop into your feminine, in a way.

Coach Maddox  1:11:44  
Yeah, you know, if we could just convey how much power truly comes from that. I mean, the fact that you know that our the thought that feminine is weakness is bullshit. I have all of my life watched women and believed that maybe they're not physically stronger, necessarily. But in many ways they are. I mean, come on, let's face it, you know, across the board, men tend to have shorter lifespans than women. So there's a shitload of widows around. And I think women deal with being left behind better than men deal with being left behind. Absolutely. I mean, there's an emotional strength with with women that oftentimes may or may not be present present in men, and unless they have embraced some aspect of the feminine energy.

Bryan Kosarek  1:12:37  
I mean, the men's lives literally depend on their ability to drop into the feminine to survive, men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide, because they don't feel their emotions. They don't seek out supportive networks, they don't tap into their creativity to drive purpose, and they're not building community to support that. So literally,

Coach Maddox  1:12:59  
you're speaking facts right now, you're actually yes.

Bryan Kosarek  1:13:04  
And this is literally the masculine and men, their life depends on it, to be able to drop into their feminine to prevent them from going into depression. I mean, that's a larger conversation, I'm fully aware, but that is a stat 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than when, because they have the strength and the ability to do so when they don't feel connected to their authentic self. And

Coach Maddox  1:13:27  
there's one thing we haven't said today, and I'm gonna say it's the elephant in the room, maybe, maybe not, but the masculine which we've been kind of deeming toxic masculinity or if you want to call it performative masculinity that's all an element of the patriarchy you know, the patriot and I read a long article recently that said, you know, the patriarchy are killing men literally killing men. And you just talked about the suicide rate what is it four times greater than the suicide rate of women?

Bryan Kosarek  1:14:01  
Three and a half close higher and it's higher in the US than the rest of the world but men men are at risk this should be the

Coach Maddox  1:14:09  
end it's loud alarm bottling so much shit it's like a trash compactor. We're bottling so much inside of his I firmly believe that all these mass shootings every ounce of that is repressed emotion you know, if you step it long enough sooner or later it's going to come out it's gonna come out sideways.

Travis Stock  1:14:32  
Yeah, cuz it's a key similarity between the suicide rate and those mass shootings is violence. And, and our versions of masculinity and suppressing suppressing beings makes things much more brittle, makes things much more ready to break, and then we take out violence on ourselves or on others, when based on that sort of patriarchal way of being raised and not being able to fully be fully expressed off a dB. Not all of us go to that those are pretty extreme views. Isn't it but the suicide epidemic across the globe of men is it's pretty astounding how high those rates are becoming?

Coach Maddox  1:15:08  
Well, and it's much higher for gay men. Because we got the whole normal repression that men are doing. And then we've got all of our own repression that we're doing around being gay. One of my podcast guests admitted that he had attempted suicide over 10 times.

Bryan Kosarek  1:15:27  
And let's do a self correction just real quick. Not just gay men, queer men across the spectrum, trans men? I mean, yes, it's across the board. GB TQ Yes, exactly. And so it's, it's scary. There's a lot of numbers we're not even aware of as a society. And it should be, you know, this is what is for difficult cotinine red alarm, you know, we're there as a world, we need to wake up as a society, we need to wake up. And I think we are, I think we are, I've been

Coach Maddox  1:15:58  
a bit a scam, very uncomfortable ways. Yes, yes, I've been a little bit of standard at the number of guests that have come on the podcast that have either attempted suicide multiple times. Or I had one gentleman that didn't do the suicide thing. But he would cut himself with a razor blade, to feel on the inside of his thighs, he he's got scars all up and down the inside of his thighs, where he would cut himself with a razor blade. And for each of these men, as soon as they came out, all of that went away. Went away, completely. For every single one of them so far, that's pretty telling. Absolutely.

We've covered a lot of ground today. And I feel like we've maybe put a small dent in it, you guys feel and kind of like that, like there's so much more to unpack. But I think we probably ought to start to wrap up, because we don't want it to be so long. Nobody listened to it.

Travis Stock  1:17:08  
We've done it, we've made a small dent together. But then each one of us is doing our own part of showing up in the world and creating that healing and transformation. It's more than just this small dent of this conversation. And so I think that I really appreciate being in this conversation because oftentimes, I'm one of the one of the few gay or queer men having conversations around masculinity in general, not just focusing on gay men's health, mental health, but to focus on men's to be gay men in that field feel a little like so alone, sometimes a little lonely sometimes. So to just be here, and that with three with the two of you, as the three men who are having an active conversation around this is in and of itself is really transformative and healing for me to be able to connect and be in an intimate spaces with each other, where we all have perspectives. We're all adding something, we're all coming from different ways of looking at it. But we have value and want similar things for our way forward. And so while this is just a small dent, I do love imagining sort of the ripples of all three of us out there in the world.

Coach Maddox  1:18:09  
Well, and I'm walking away feeling expanded, like I have a different to I mean, two different perspectives now that I I didn't have and I can't speak for for Brian, although I suspect I know what he'll say. I'm always available for more conversation recorded or not recorded. You know, anytime you're feeling a little bit lonely on the masculine continuum, and you want to strike a conversation reach out this. This was a complete honor and a pleasure to be with you, you men today. And I love your perspectives, and I love your heart. You both have such beautiful hearts. And Brian, I want to encourage you when those tears are right up here. Whoa, and anybody that didn't get it, fuck them if they can't take a joke.

Bryan Kosarek  1:19:01  
That's always just wondering if it's the right time or space. Again, it's give its permission. You know, I mean, I could cry right now again, but it's, you know, it's it's understanding and maybe it doesn't understand maybe it's just always walking around with

Coach Maddox  1:19:13  
a mission. I've gotten to where I just let it flow when it comes. You know, I was in on a zoom with somebody recently and I got all choked up and I said, I'm having a moment and he said, Maddox Mattox. I don't think I've ever been on a zoom call with you when you didn't have said it's what I think makes you so beautiful. Amazing. I've gotten to where I can be it didn't matter where I am. I could be in a crowded restaurant. If it comes I just let it go. I mean, I don't I don't do that. But But I do I go into the tears and I just let it flow. And if it makes somebody somebody said Why don't one of my friends said I don't want to make anybody uncomfortable. I said that's not your job. their comfort is not your responsibility.

Bryan Kosarek  1:20:03  
So true, so true. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  1:20:08  
Well, Jim, thank you so much. This has been awesome. And I love you both.

Bryan Kosarek  1:20:14  
Love you. Thank you so much. That's thank you so much for creating the space and

Coach Maddox  1:20:21  
yeah, just pinch. Thank you for participating in the space.

Travis StockProfile Photo

Travis Stock


Travis Stock, MSW is a Master Certified Life Coach, Equus Master Facilitator, and teacher. Travis helps others find what creates balance in their lives by first seeking acceptance of what is. He utilizes the Equus experience to connect others with the often forgotten wisdom of the body, allowing for more fully explored and developed choices in their lives. Travis has a passion for the balance between masculine and feminine energies in each of us, regardless of gender, and believes in the importance of nurturing a relationship with both types of energy to create a sense of wholeness. (Click here to read more – http://www.travisstock.com) Travis brings with him interest and experience in the areas of emotions, the LGBT community, transformation of trauma and shame, interpersonal relationships, family systems, men and masculinity, and living open-heartedly.

Bryan KosarekProfile Photo

Bryan Kosarek

Founder of The UniteApp

Bryan Kosarek ditched his real estate career in New York City in pursuit of building a platform to unite humanity around well-being and personal growth. The founder of the new platform theuniteapp.com, and soon-to-be app, Bryan is looking to change the way people find support in life when our happiness, well-being and mental health are being challenged. Having built the blog GayinAustinTexas.com with a global community of 130K readers and having won the coveted title as the Gay Travel Guru where he was paid to travel for 6 months to 31 cities, Bryan is now taking on wellness and personal growth support. In a time where 1 in 4 adults struggle with their mental health, happiness and overall well-being, over 25 million adults in the United States, alone, will never seek support or guidance. Bryan believes there has to be a better way and that way forward is together. Starting with the LGBTQIA+ community, Bryan is a believer in passionately creating your life purpose and building community which, not only, serves as the ultimate form of self-care but are also the two keys to happiness and thriving in life.