Imitation is an important aspect of human behavior. In fact, the human brain is wired for it. Like most young boys, I spent my early years imitating my father. Being the most masculine figure I knew, I wanted to be able to do what he did, to honor him, to earn his praise, to compete with him and to grow into my own sense of masculinity.
Fitting into the mold, however, was an arduous task.
Nancy Boy: A Memoir of Mind Over Manhood, will tackle the difficult question of “what makes a man a man?”. The narrative is structured around a boat build, and I will digress to recount personal struggles with macho-masculine facades and my unwavering attempts to let go of a longtime autocratic mentality towards manliness that, for many years, threatened my own authenticity. I will discuss strengthening the relationship I have with my father, my coming out experience and my recent cancer diagnosis, among other tales. I will also explore the neurobiology surrounding the expression of sex-typed behaviors and the mental ramifications that follow an inability to “measure up”, in turn discussing shame, pain repression, sexual identity, our need for praise, fear, anxiety, and the important of emotional expression.