Opening up can be challenging for anybody but for men, there’s a stigma that comes with it.
Men are supposed to be stoic and unemotional beings. Any sign of “softness” can lead one to be deemed as weak. And weak equates to being a subordinate. Nobody, let alone, a man, wants to be seen as weak or lesser than.
But there’s no doubt about it, the more we keep things inside, the more they tend to bother us and prevent us from healing. They fester and grow into a thing of its own. Often, it becomes something awful and ugly, just waiting to boil over.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens. When the emotions surface, people get hurt in all kinds of ways – emotionally, mentally, and physically.Source: Pexels
Hurtful words are said and violence ensues.
This is something Matt Brown, owner of My Father’s Barbers in New Zealand, realized from an early age.Source: Facebook/She Is Not Your Rehab
He witnessed the abuse of his mother at the hands of his stepfather.
“When I look back at that, I think it’s so sad no-one in our world stepped in or said anything for Mum, because Mum would go to church like that; pregnant, bruised face, but no-one said or did anything.”
Though Brown was able to leave the house at the age of 15, he realized the emotional trauma the abuse had on him. Thus, he sought out and received “proper help.”
But Brown knew all too well that not a lot of men would do that.Source: Instagram/@myfathersbarber
“A lot of my friends were joining gangs, were addicted to sex and drugs, you name it, some committed suicide, some are going into prison. And I just wanted to create a space where men could come and talk.”
Brown, with the help of his wife, Sarah, created, “She Is Not Your Rehab.”
Often, when Brown cut a client’s hair, he noticed that the men wanted more than just a haircut, they wanted to talk.Source: Instagram/@myfathersbarber
“Men were coming in and not you know, wanting more than just the haircut, they wanted a conversation. And not many places, spaces, allow men to really open up quite like the barber chair.”
He admits that the men chopped it up about sports, their weekends, tv shows, etc. but said the conversation began to include deeper topics such as past traumas, struggles, and even their fears.
“I’ve had grown men cry; I’ve sat with some of the staunchest, most successful, ruthless men in my city in my chair crying together. This is not a very popular business plan, step one get a barbershop, step two cry with your clients!”
The concept may not be typical but it sure is a much-needed one.
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A NEW CULTURE OF MEN! Healing from the inside out. Taking back what was stolen from us and rightfully ours. Giving ourselves what we were never given and learning to walk in the mana that we are. BARBER HUI 2019 where lives changed forever!!! Honoured to facilitate this sacred mahi. Thank you to the talented @lance_topshelfbarber for capturing the heart of our Hui 🙌🏼 Thank you to everyone that showed up, participated and healed.
Brown told Metro.co.uk:
“In doing so I’ve realised that pain is universal – most of us carry it along with a degree of trauma.”
Brown realizes how important it is to have support. He often credits his wife as being his motivation for helping to turn his life around.
“The real change came when I met my wife, who was my best friend, and when you have a strong woman that can, you know, challenge the status quo and still love you and see behind the masks that I would wear and love me still, that brought a lot of change.”
Brown hopes his movement will help create violence-free communities.
“This has been my life, passion and honour the past decade.”
We wish Brown and all of his clients the best!
You can see Brown speak at a TedTalk in the video below!
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