It’s a bloody confusing time to be a man right now, with mixed messages coming from every direction. So alongside creating high-quality products, our goal for STUFF is to support men as they navigate a new era of masculinity so that we can create a movement of men living a life of connection, purpose and positive impact.
In this series we’re calling Journey to Manhood, we ask some of our mates about their experiences becoming a man.
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Name: Thomas “Kobe” Bakonyi
Profession: TMC facilitator, Director of Junkyard Beats VIC & performer
Place of birth: Ravenna, Italy
Q1: When did you become a man?
Hmmm… I feel like there have been multiple moments throughout my life which have been checkpoints if you like towards this point. But when I think of ‘becoming a man’ I would say it would be been in 2020.
The time was Covid and I had holidays from studying Youth Work at TAFE. I decided to go off for 10 days out western NSW and explore with my 2 feet and 4 wheels of my van. I had been preparing mentality for the duration of the time to have a solo ritual in nature. With the intention being “death of the boy, birth of the man". I was becoming very interested in Rites of Passage and recognized that I hadn’t had a ritual for making that transition. So I decided to create one for myself.
This included fasting, plant medicine, journaling, climbing down into a waterfall where I left the boy and finally climbing out hours later as the man. It was all very symbolic and potent for me.
Q2: If you really knew me, you’d know that….
I can feel very self conscious in social spaces. People see the highly social person I am. And yes, this is a big part of me, however there is often many cases where I feel very low confidence and feel like I don’t have anything worthy to offer conversations.
Q3: Tell us about a time when you had absolutely no idea what to do.
It was January 2020, I was 29 years old. Coming back on the ferry from Tasmania where I had been traveling and picking cherries for the summer. A new year, another year closer to the big 3-0 and yet again I was lost. I felt I had so much to offer the world but had no direction of where to go. What to do. Do I stay in Melbourne? Do I study? Do I do something completely different. That ferry ride was a big moment for me in my life. Feeling all of my potential, but nowhere or no idea where to direct it.
Q4: The man I am becoming is…..
The man I’m becoming is one who celebrates my shadows, slowness and the darkness as much as I celebrate my light and energetic self. A man who is fully integrated into what being a man and a human means. To have the tools to navigate the complexities of this human experience and to embody them in a way that I’m able to support the people around me and my community. A man with full integrity, who authentically communicates what I feel and don’t strive to please people all the time. One who can give and receive feedback with love and humility. And one who understands how to use the precious time we have to the best possible use.