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  • Steven Mercer
    Steven Mercer

    Being 'Manly'


    What the hell does that mean?

    How do I write this inclusively of all? I’m not sure I can. I’m writing it as me. An approaching Middle-Aged man who has been a chef and now a yoga teacher. I’ve never been overly physically strong; I’ve suffered mental health issues and I’ve run a marathon and I love a nice hot bubble bath.

    Am I manly? Am a masculine?

    I’ve had days when be felt really unmanly, girly, feminine, to then voice that to someone and hear them respond with “but I see you as very manly”, not “it’s ok to not be manly you know” which was what I expected.

    Why does it even matter?

    Well, it shouldn’t but it does seem to be a bother to me. If you tell yourself something doesn’t matter but clearly it is bothering you, it can only make things worse. 

    So clearly it does matter to me.

    Was I brought up in a time where being tough and being strong is very important? Sure. I’ve felt weak at various points of my life so it’s only natural that it would affect me.

    Being aware of the thought process calms me down massively. At times that connection is what I need to take control of it and work my head around it.

    Where does this fit into the well-being of chefs?

    Well, it’s simple, there's a huge amount of pressure of chefs to be strong. Even today in a kitchen I would find it almost impossible to express any weakness.

    The pressure that puts on you Isn’t healthy. It simply can’t be.

    During our new COVID-19 normal I’m reading increased stories of chefs having to work harder, longer and under more pressure.

    It’s a pressure cooker in the mind. 

    Is standing up to not being ok manly or not?

    Being manly is having the strength to talk about how things aren’t ok. That you don’t feel ok.

    I’m sure of it. Just about. I still need to tell myself sometimes.

    Stay safe everyone


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