Episode 7 - Cedric Till - Beyond the Mask of Toxic Masculinity

Photo Credit: Megan Spencer

Photo Credit: Megan Spencer

The inner-lives of men have always been mysterious to me. What is it is like to perform masculinity? What does the pressure of being a man feel like? I’ve never been forced into a physical altercation or had to defend myself with strength, or had my self-worth measured by my perceived strength, dominance, or income. Of course, it’s true that women are forced to perform femininity and are judged in a host of other ways, but it led me to this question: what qualities are associated with gender and how does it impact the way we learn to express ourselves, or limit our potential to evolve?

With the rise of the #metoo campaign, a spotlight has been focused on toxic masculinity, but rarely do we investigate the internal struggles of being a man in a culture that rewards aggression and dominance.

My guest today is Cedric Till, a spoken word artist and storyteller who wrote to me about his transformation in the last years, after surviving childhood trauma, a diagnosis of ADHD, and institutionalized living for his violent behavior. What got my attention was how he described his transformation as it related to connecting to a female energy, deriving strength in feminine qualities and relationships, and how finding language and voice through rapping and poetry made him more vulnerable.

Before recording this, I thought, let's do a show about overcoming toxic masculinity, but it is actually about something else. Listen to the whole interview, because his transformation was actually so much more powerful, and one we can all learn from.