Real men feel vul­ner­a­ble

Adam Martin has found Tas­ma­nia’s ‘har­den-up’ male cul­ture is the cause of pain and grief

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS -

ILEAP at the chance to meet a Tas­ma­nian ar­chi­tect who has cre­ated a plat­form specif­i­cally for men to learn from women.

It is just so re­fresh­ing and I am even more in­ter­ested when I learn it is a bloke not a pretty lady be­hind the ini­tia­tive.

Fa­ther-of-three Adam Martin is the founder of EverHer, a sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion to EverHim, a new en­ter­prise aimed at redefining healthy mas­culin­ity through work­shops, re­treats and dig­i­tal sto­ry­telling.

When we meet at Honey Bad­ger Cafe at Sala­manca Square, we are quick to agree that mas­culin­ity in its raw pure form is beau­ti­ful and nec­es­sary.

Adam sees the world from quite a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to mine, namely from build­ing sites, to which I rarely ven­ture.

“Pre­tend­ing is a big word, but you do start to mimic el­e­ments of the cul­ture you are work­ing around,” he says.

“For me, be­ing a pro­ject man­ager, ar­chi­tect and builder, I spend half my life on con­struc­tion sites around men who ooze a cer­tain kind of man­li­ness.

“You do tend to take it on your­self, but the guy I see in the mirror at night is not the man I am dur­ing the day.”

Adam says that dis­con­nect re­ally got to him af­ter he was the first on the scene of a fa­tal car crash, an ex­pe­ri­ence he found deeply trau­matic.

When we meet, it is four years since the day that di­vided him into “the Adam be­fore and the Adam af­ter”, the lat­ter prone to heavy drink­ing, dis­con­nec­tion from friends and fam­ily, night­mares and other symp­toms of post trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

He strug­gled to con­nect with pro­fes­sional coun­sel­lors, even­tu­ally dis­cov­er­ing that talk­ing and even just hold­ing an un­spo­ken space with emo­tion­ally open men re­ally helped him.

“It was through that process I be­gan to un­der­stand that the per­son I was dur­ing the day was not the per­son I am in­side,” he says.

There were few such men on the ground to open up with, though, he says.

Hence his introducti­on of pro­grams de­signed to open men up, many of them free.

“Women are the way out of this for us, by en­abling men to cel­e­brate their vulnerabil­ity,” says Adam.

“We have so much to learn from women about how to man­age our in­ter­nal emo­tions and our re­la­tion­ships with our­selves, with our friends and with our peers.”

Adam says build­ing sites and other male-dom­i­nated in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture and trans­port, are es­pe­cially in need of cul­tural change.

MATES in Con­struc­tion sui­cide-pre­ven­tion charity cites Aus­tralian con­struc­tion work­ers as be­ing 71 per cent more likely than other em­ployed Aus­tralian men to die by sui­cide.

And the male-dom­i­nated “har­den up” cul­ture is recog­nised as con­tribut­ing fac­tor that can play out trag­i­cally when dis­tressed men feel un­able to open up and seek help.

Adam says Tas­ma­nian men are “a dif­fer­ent breed” again.

“We are men’s men down here. And our dads and grandads were men’s men. If we couldn’t work with our hands, we weren’t worth much. You taught your son to build and fight.

“That cul­tural stuff is real, it’s a real prob­lem and it is still preva­lent in Tas­ma­nia.

“I am 38 and grow­ing up here you were told cry­ing was for girls.”

In 10 years’ time, Adam’s vi­sion is for Tas­ma­nian men to lead more from the heart and less from a place of power.

“Men will con­nect with other men and women from a place of heart and with trust,” he says.

“The fu­ture is all about gen­der bal­ance.”

As a small con­nected state, says Adam, we can build an ac­count­able com­mu­nity that fo­cuses on men be­ing pow­er­ful sup­port­ers of women.

Within a few decades, he hopes EverHer and EverHim will be ob­so­lete.

“Men will have rewrit­ten their value sys­tem of what is im­por­tant and gen­er­a­tional change will be in place.”

Visit www.ev­

everher. If you are in dis­tress help is avail­able. For sup­port day or night, phone Life­line on 131 114 or visit Be­yond Blue Sup­port Ser­vice on 1300 224 365. If life is in dan­ger call triple-0. For guid­ance on sui­cide pre­ven­tion, visit life­ top­ics/pre­vent­ing-sui­cide

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