Written by Imani Kaliid
Blue-collar men. All-City athletes. Musclebound gangsters. Dope dealers. Carjackers and at least one serial bank robber – a former teammate that once made the FBI’s Top 25 list. These are some of the most masculine men from my L.A. neighborhood.
In hindsight, these men and I share a common experience – violent trauma.
None of those men would have to admit such to make that statement true. I saw the fear in some of their eyes after drive-by shootings. I recognized how a close friend would transform from happy-go-lucky to eerie stillness when his abusive father would visit. I now know that a Vietnam vet who lived four doors down wasn’t just some “crazy” guy belligerently ranting at pedestrians for the sake of it. The man had PTSD.
If this does not apply to you, God bless. I’m truly happy for you. For the rest of you, if you suspect that you have been affected by any form of violent trauma, I need you to hear me out.
With manhood, it’s all about the why. Why do you need to admit to violent trauma? Why is it important to address it now? Why should you even care?
It’s easy for material wealth, professional success, physical strength, or even your sexual prowess to blind what may have happened to you and what could have wounded you emotionally. Let me tell you – there’s no shame to that. I’m one of those guys that accidentally stumbled upon my violent trauma. Coming to terms with it was the level-up I needed.
F*** Your Trauma
You read it right. F**** YOUR TRAUMA! I not being dismissive. This is my attitude towards problems when I decide to come for them, and when I do, I’m the Cloverfield monster, John Wick and Jason Bourne all rolled up into one man.
Violent trauma (i.e., domestic, locker-room, battlefield, etc.) doesn’t get to dictate emotional policy in our lives nor does it get to hang around. Nobody is coming to rescue us, so WE must get into the phone booth with it and beat it senseless. It will not magically disappear, which is why this is the one time in our life where being a brut is acceptable. This is the figurative bully to punch in the mouth.
You Owe It To Yourself
As men, we are so much in the business of being providers, guardians and sources of stability. One of our flaws is that we don’t always carve out time for our mental well-being. This is as important as your medical screenings and possibly why the suicide rate among men is so high. We need to be more in the habit of taking care of ourselves.
You Will Never Be the Best Version
Right now, you might be doing great. You could be one of those captains of industry or master of the universe types. If violent trauma is something that is quietly affecting you, you may never be the best version of yourself that you can be. That means you may not ever be the best father, brother, boss, or fill-in-the-blank with whatever your life priorities are.
Here’s the thing: I can tell you that after addressing my own domestic and street trauma, I am a considerably better man, which has positioned me for greater levels of success and happiness.
Set Yourself Up For the Next Level
Imagine a world where you’re smiling more, pushing up more weight, becoming a better lover or more successful entrepreneur, etc.?
I can tell you firsthand that my quality of life is considerably higher now than it was in 2016 when I took that deep dive into my past. I wake up some days feeling like a f*****g god! I’ve freed up mental bandwidth to explore priorities I had been procrastinating and those I didn’t know existed. It boils down to this:
What is it worth to you to take those first initial steps? What is the payoff in avoiding it?
If you were traumatized by violence, chances are you did not ask for it nor did you deserve it. To hell with any narrative that says you are “weak” or somehow lacking in manhood by admitting to this pain.
Bottom line – As men, we are the foundation and connective tissue that holds the world’s stability. Let’s stay strong to keep that intact.
About Imani Kaliid
Imani Kaliid is the author of “There Was Violence,” President of the InVia Foundation and host of the “Misconnected Podcast.”
The InVia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity based in California that is focused on technological tools and services for victims of violent trauma. “There Was Violence” serves as a relatable testimony and unfortunately common experience for multitudes of victims who remain silent, struggling or healing, which is why Kaliid sought a more direct avenue to connect and contribute to the world by establishing the InVia Foundation to save victims in need.
Bonus Testimonial: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTWfAwJUmct4H0x-UMCjHKw/videos