Donovan McKenzie’s Story

HOAM Founder & Motivational Speaker



“Open Letter to Manhood”

Donovan is the founder of Heart Of A Man and he wants to share his story with you.

As cliché as it sounds, life really is a rollercoaster: sometimes it’s fun and exhilarating, leaving you on the most incredible high, sometimes it’s scary and nauseating, leaving you with a sense of dread making your stomach flip so many times that you’re pretty sure it’s permanently out of place. We have good days where it feels like nothing can touch us, and we are on top of the world.  And, in God’s great balance, we have days that seem impossible to face.  Life is beautiful, but it can also be extremely difficult.

I am sure that you have experienced or are currently experiencing some sort of adversity.  And, I hope that you know that you are not alone in facing these struggles.  There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to overcome some form of trauma unaided – I know, because I have been there: I AM A SURVIVOR.

Overcoming the Struggle

As Rumi once wrote: “When the world pushes you to your knees, you are in the perfect position to pray”.

Like most men, I was raised to believe it was not acceptable for a man to express his pain or fears. It was considered unmasculine to express any form of vulnerable emotions.  “Real men” were expected to act tough, strong, fearless, and confident.  It is that toxic masculinity that held me, and, is still holding millions of other men back from expressing their true inner selves.

As a teen, I worked hard to bury all of my negative feelings.  I have mastered hiding my emotions under the mask of being the athletic jock.  I was the man who always got the girls, slayed on the basketball court and looked like he had it all together; but, I learned the hard way that you cannot spend your whole life performing; it’s too exhausting, it’s unsustainable, it’s not fair. My facade fell apart when I was 21 – when the emotional pain refused to stay hidden. The show was over, and behind the scenes I spiraled into deep depression.

Thankfully, I was able to receive the professional help that I needed.  I was able to overcome all of my conditioning, allow myself to be vulnerable, and admit that I was suffering.  I learned a lot during this time. 

I learned a lot about myself, and I prayed to God for resilience in finding a long-term solution to the pain. I learned about empathy and discovered that I was not alone in my pain. I learned a lot about society and how the stigma against male emotions is causing pain for me and all of my brothers.

 

ELEVATING TO A HIGHER PURPOSE

“Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if        you are not willing to move your feet” - Anonymous

Despite life’s countless twists and turns, I found a way to cope.  There are many things that helped me through; including allowing myself to be vulnerable and believing that God had a purpose for me.  I renegotiated my relationship with life, and in doing so I found passion again.  That pain that almost destroyed me happened for a reason, and that is where I found purpose.

This toxic masculinity that is forcing men to suffer in silence is a poison born and perpetuated by an outdated way of thinking.  The fact of the matter is, each and every one of us faces adversity and, we all handle it in our own unique ways.  While there is no magic cure for depression, we do know that suffering alone and unaided can only lead to things becoming desperate.

It is time for men to allow themselves the space to share their emotions with confidence.  Both, men and women need to know that it is OK to see vulnerability as a strength and I want to help spread that message.

Inspiring Others and Sharing the Message

Daniel Nielsen wrote: “The awakened man has stepped away from living a life ruled by his mind and ego-self and is consciously connected to his heart.  He is not embarrassed to reveal his true colors.  He is redefining age-old beliefs of what a real man is, and by his example, calling other men to wipe the sleep from their eyes”.

All of these factors in life have led me to the creation of Heart Of A Man (HOAM).  My dream is to live in a world where men no longer have to feel like they need to hide who they are and how they feel.  Our society needs to revolutionize what manhood means.  I want to reach to as many people as possible and tell them that they do not need to suffer alone.  I needed a space where I, and other men, could be there for those who needed us.  

Heart Of A Man is here to OVERCOME, ELEVATE and INSPIRE men dealing with depression:

I want HOAM to become a community, which will help men with overcoming the stigma of depression and showing men the strength of vulnerability to revolutionize manhood.

As movement, HOAM will help elevating men’s mind by providing them with tools in order to build resilience. And last but not least, we are here to inspire men to be able to deal with depression and reinforce the strength of their inner heart.

 

Join the movement:

Overcome, Elevate, Inspire with HOAM.

Yours truly,

Donovan