Make Believe

It was past 6:30. He was late.

“Jesus I hope he’s okay”, I thought. “Fuck this is so bad he may try to off himself”, I mumbled. I couldn’t stop worrying. I’d already downed two tall beers waiting on him, and a third was on deck.

He showed up disheveled, but in one piece.

“Sorry, man, I just got off work. It’s been a rough couple of days”, he stammered.

“I’d imagine”, I talked back.

“So what the fuck is going on? She cheated on you?”

“Yea, with one of my friends. At least I think so. She’s already left the house with the kids when she knew I knew, so….”, he looked exhausted.

This once proud man, who now was a shell of his former self, had the “perfect life”. He had a wife, 3 children, and, according to his social media, a white picket fence life of pure happiness. He worked as a dispatch operations manager for a large trucking company, successful, his wife was a stay at home mom who had recently gotten a new job after she had studied to be an accountant.

For years, this couple was the toast of my trucking friends circle. Beautiful house, a loving family, the whole dream that we are told that we should all aspire to, and the friend get-togethers were the best. Always smiling, rarely stressed, the picture of happiness. Family pictures every year, vacations, their social media was abuzz with the facade of perfection, joy, and general envy of all those around them.

He didn’t know where to start. I could see he was reeling. As he started to tell me what happened, I began to see the cracks in his facade.

“Dude, dude, you have to be kidding. You’ve always been the perfect couple. The marriage everyone wanted. What happened?” I asked in disbelief.

As he sat across from me on that humid August night, sipping a beer, nearly in tears, he then realized that his marriage had been an elaborate game of pretending. And now, shit got real.

The house, the cars, the wife, the kids, the life, all of it, was an elaborate ruse to show people how life was “supposed” to be, but not how it was. He was putting on a show, an expensive, debt crushing, false act whose consequences were now inevitably showing themselves in his mind.

And the more he spoke about it, the more terrified he became. It was hitting, it was real now, all the shit was falling down around him, and all he could do was watch.

She had cheated. She had gone outside the marriage. This perfect picture he had built, on a rusty foundation of lies, bitterness, jealousy, and mistrust, was gone. When the cameras were snapping, it was the picturesque family life. But when they turned off, the dark side of the marriage came up.

He explained that the arguments were off the charts. He would go so far as to punish the kids for not lying about how happy they were when they talked to their friends. He was in debt hundreds of thousands of dollars. He had a boat, two cars, a camper, and a gigantic house.

All for the show, it seems. All for show.

Paint the Picture

As he stuttered through his sentences, trying to grasp the gravity of his situation, I thought about my own marriage. I was struggling with my own life. I was still married, but not two years earlier, my wife and I had gotten ourselves a gigantic, 4300 sq ft house with 4 car garage, pool, two wings, and plenty of space for guests. We dreamed of entertaining our guests, making them envious of our new space, all while painting the picture of two people very much in love with each other and their lives being a natural growth of that.

But, under the picture perfect house and world….

  • My wife and I weren’t having sex, nor were we engaged in a marriage, it was now a business partnership.
  • I was killing myself at work at the time to pay for this monstrosity.
  • My kids were having issues at school and were seeing the dead marriage manifest itself into other areas

But what we were doing as a couple was trying to cover up the fact that we were both miserable. And the only thing that this house and this life did was stress the cracks that were already there, and they were getting bigger.

All of this happening as my friend poured over his drink talking about his wife’s betrayal to him. But was this a betrayal to him? After all, the dude he was wasn’t the dude he was portraying himself to be. She was cheating on that other guy, not the man who sat before me.

For 2 decades, he had carefully crafted a narrative and told his family to live by it, damn the consequences.

So they did, convincing themselves everyday that this was their life, even if it was the furthest thing from the truth.

And all of their friends, including myself, were playing the game as well. We all wanted to be pictured as successful, happy, and driven because, well, envy and adulation gives you that dopamine kick and makes you think you’re doing well, even when you aren’t even close.

So I made decisions that would come to haunt me in my future, all because I wanted to be liked and admired.

When people would ask, I’d lie. I had to. They saw my posts, they saw my life, I know they wanted to be just like me, successful, happy, and confident. But I was none of those things. Friends who I’d known for longer started to understand my moods. They knew I was lying about my life. And it took me talking to my therapist about it to realize that my life was a fiction.

But here’s the really scary thing. It seemed as if every person was inventing a life to be seen on social media.

Husbands cheating on their wives and the family showing a perfect face every time the camera was on.

Financial ruin or layoff that was played off as the rubble burned.

“Keep your face in front of your friends. Don’t let them know you struggle.”

And more and more of my friends were trying like hell to bury the body of their failed lives by buying new things, all while smiling as the snake bit their calf and the venom circulated in their body.

“You can’t show people weakness, they’ll not respect you….”

I was told this on many occasions.

You Can’t Invent A Life

Showing you have the perfect life most often means it’s not perfect.

Being married doesn’t guarantee good advice.

Being successful in view very rarely means you are behind the scenes.

We invent these lives because it’s not about what we want, it’s about what we want to prove.

Be careful, young kings and queens, putting your faith in those who’s world looks perfect from the outside, but on the inside, it’s crumbling.

Your advice should come from the goods, the bads, and the uglies of the marriage world.

The iceberg tends to be bigger under the water.

As I found out from my friend that night, you can’t invent a life, and you sure as hell can’t put band-aids on it to fix it if it’s irretrievably broken.

But people will try to keep the mirage going, many times to a terrible detriment to their own mental and physical health, to show everyone else that they are the best, they are successful, they are better than you.

And it’s more relationships than you think. And the ones who outwardly give advice are the ones who so desperately need to take it. And their friends will defend them to the hilt until the billboard sign falls and charred remains of the fake life are there for all to see.

It all looks so good on paper, in photos, in the eyes of those you wish to impress, but if it’s all a sham, why even do it? People who see you for the person you pretend to be were never going to be your true friends anyway. They glom on to whoever is most successful in their eyes, amateur bullshit artists looking for someone who plays the game better than they do so they can emulate the pretend life.

Social media has given us the opportunity to pretend to be someone we’re not with much more ease and less push back. So many people gun the throttle into this new life and make mistake after mistake eventually leading to disastrous consequences, but like when a Miss America contestant falls and tries to get back up with a smile, it’s going to ring hollow for those that you are trying to impress.

It’s a pissing contest that way too many people are playing way too often. And it’s time for all of us to stop and accept the reality that we sometimes aren’t successful, sometimes we fail spectacularly, and sometimes, yes, we can’t be the best we can be because of limitations.

We worry far too often about the opinions of people we don’t like, but are desperate to impress.

Wanna impress? Try being real. I’ve had times in my life I’ve been called out for lying. Blatantly, and the only thing I felt was shame for trying to bullshit the bullshitters. I felt bad I got caught, not the fact that I actually fucking lied.

My life is boring as fuck, but that’s the way I like it. I travel to meet people on Twitter, I type a blog, I own a small family owned company, I am divorced with two great kids. I don’t scream excitement.

But…..

Let’s stop pretending. It’s a sham and you know it, so take down the walls and have folks see you for who you really are. You’ll make more life long friends that way, and you’ll also have less stress of trying to hold up the curtain in Oz.

And if you are pretending, hold tight on giving advice to others. You’re putting on a show for the audience but when you speak the bullshit that people are really listening to, you are forcing them to put on a show as well that they aren’t ready to perform.

It’s time to stop the make believe. That’s the real red pill.

Redemption

“Light Redemption” – Richard George Davis

“Arms wide open
I stand alone
I’m no hero and I’m not made of stone
Right or wrong
I can hardly tell
I’m on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell”.

Five Finger Death Punch “Wrong Side of Heaven”

I’m not a religious man, never was.

My family was officially Protestant, but my father, as my grandfather before him, was agnostic. My mother took his lead, and my exposure to church was periodic trips on special holidays, or the rare every year Sunday “guilt trip” my mother put our family in that we were going to all burn in hell if we didn’t go and start making a habit of it. But in general, my father helped the family avoid the church because of his uncomfortable relationship with the afterlife. My father was fearful of death, still is to this day at 74, and wasn’t about to have his life, nor his potential afterlife, explained to him in a fiery diatribe from the pulpit. So he did what we all do when we have uneasy thoughts about anything, he avoided it.

I couldn’t totally avoid it, as I was an impressionable young man who needed to be trained in the correct way to worship, led by family friends and eventually by my own friends, whose family would gladly drag the “devil kid” to any service they could on days I spent the night at my friends’ houses. A chance to show him the right way to worship, at the right church, with the right congregation, with the right sermon, from the right priest, reverend, or bishop.

My experiences in church were quite unremarkable. I would go with friends who were Catholic, spend my 90 minutes on Sundays not kneeling when the congregation knelt, feeling like the priest would call me out any time I didn’t know what to say during the hymnal, or yell at me if I dared to come up and take bread and wine. As I got older and went to these functions with friends, I always joked that as soon as I entered the church I’d catch fire because I was “THAT” bad, but I wasn’t even close. God’s light nor Hell’s lighter could touch a kid that didn’t know any better.

My family, at first, when I was younger, would go every Easter, myself and my three older siblings, being force marched by our parents to church to try and atone for the sins of the past year. When my younger sister was born, we started going again sporadically, but we eventually stopped again. It was like each child born was a new attempt to salvage the faith my family didn’t have, until it got to the point where we stopped going altogether.

My mother would occasionally bring up that we should go to church again, meet people in our community, become a family of faith, but my father would grumble and tell her to forget about it. He wasn’t going. He wasn’t having it. No place of worship was going to take the fear of dying away from him, so he continued to stay away, as did his family.

As my adolescence bloomed into adulthood, I was pretty much in the same boat as my father, save the fear of dying. I was uncomfortable in churches, I didn’t understand the sermons dooming me to eternal hellfire if I didn’t worship the way that was required, the music was nauseating, and my high school and college years were spent being socially backward while experimenting with recreational drugs, so the cross wasn’t even in the ballpark of my mind.

I do remember the college religious crowds were annoying. The women, sworn to virginity during the meetings, would hook up with frat guys on the weekends after getting wasted, do the walk of shame home (I saw three girls who were the most religious of the group walking from Fraternity row on three separate occasions, disheveled and hung over) just in time to get back to their halos and the Monday – Friday sanctimoniousness that permeated every aspect of their pretend lives.

Like the parents that sent them there to be good girls (one floor in one of the dorms was called the “Virgin Vault” for super overprotective parents (quick hint – it wasn’t a vault nor were they virgins)), the parents lived their lives differently when the Jonenes were watching and the complete opposite when the curtains and the garage door closed.

I remember hearing my religious floor mates chuckling about who was real and who was fake and I just wondered if church, like high school and college, was just another popularity contest.

As I got married, my now ex-wife, who was about as religious as I was, tried to get me to change my set in ways, but I wasn’t having it. We’d go to church services on Easter, or Christmas Eve, but every church was the same. When my ex and I were on our Dave Ramsey kick, we even went to the church for over 3 months taking Financial Peace University, taking the kids to Sunday school while we did it (the church’s trap for free child care, hell it worked) and learned to manage our finances. But I kept seeing the church trying to aggressively sell us on their services, their message, and their congregation and spirit in the community, and I just saw through all of it. To me, I saw a facade of helpful people hiding a glorified social club, made up of people trying to jockey for prime positions in the church and in the community in case they wanted to run for public office someday.

The local churches even had soccer leagues we enrolled our girls in, hoping to meet new people, gain some perspective, but everywhere I went, I saw the same bullshit people crowing the same bullshit lines that I had heard for years. “If you don’t worship, you’re going to hell. And by the way, our church is the best.”

The church and I have never gotten along….

Sinner, Not a Saint

Sins, I have them. A lot of them.

In my writings, I’ve spoken at length about all of them. My past is full of it.

Cheating (sleeping with married women knowingly and not so), hitting on wives and girlfriends of friends, stealing, anger (I’ve put many a hole in walls), lying, drugs, you name it, I’ve done it all, and the mile long rap sheet would make any priest in confession have to stop and ask for a breather and a glass of water.

That’s why I know there’s no forgiveness for me. I don’t deserve it.

Even if I decided to go to church and absolve my sins, they are too burned into my personal psyche to think that a few thousand hail Mary’s and a dip in holy water (which would boil if I stepped in it, I’m convinced) would absolve what I truly know can’t be absolved. A blessing from a holy man doesn’t help me overcome the fact that I did these things. It doesn’t cleanse my mind of the acts, nor does it help me to sort them out any further. People are under the impression that you can wave a magic wand and be cured of sin when in fact it just gives them an excuse to go out and sin again.

Confessing that I cheated on my soon to be ex-wife with another woman doesn’t take the sting out of my mind. Should ‘t I have worked on the marriage, even if we were separated? Shouldn’t I have tried? Why did I walk away? Why didn’t I do more? No amount of getting it out will make the pain of what I did go away. Emotional affairs with friends wives, sex with women who were married, cheating on a girlfriend, lying to women about seeing other women, hell, even lying to the cops to cover for a troublesome friend gets to me everyday.

There aren’t magic words to make it all go away. The point of it all is I still did it.

What matters is I have to live with myself and my past. I don’t get to forget, nor do I get to move on until I know, myself, that I have done all I can to redeem myself. And, honestly, that probably won’t be enough.

I don’t want pity. I’m telling you there’s a lot of men out there who’ve done worse that I have, that are haunted everyday by the parts of themselves that they can’t change.

But what I am realizing, slowly but surely, is that I can take my troublesome past and create something with it. I can create a future that I can be proud of. And I want to show that any man, with any past, can overcome and push through to redemption.

Reclamation

“I’m sorry for the demon I’ve become.”

  • Five Finger Death Punch – “Walk Away”

After a life of tough lessons, lost friends and family, and absolute disregard for any kind of nuance or respectfulness, I had to change this life. My red pill unplugging was the first part of this, but seemingly I was getting into the same issues even after that, except now, there wasn’t much of a conscience to this new scorched earth policy of alienating myself from friends, lovers, and family with my actions. I didn’t care as long as I got mine and while many call this the “black pill” I can tell you it was putting my life on self-destruct for the sole purpose of getting my dick wet or at least the potential of it. I was better with women with the explicit distinction that all attractive women were fair game to me. It landed me flirting with married women who’s husbands had had affairs on them. I tried to become the equalizer with some success, but I was trafficking in a dangerous trade.

It’s become one of the worst moments in my life, but also one of the biggest realizations and awakenings that I’ve experienced. This low point of this supposedly new me was breached.

This is not me finding the church, or God, or anything else. This was an experience of finally finding MYSELF and knowing what was important.

My first 31 Days to Masculinity was at about the same time last year and during this time, I started to use my past to build for my future. I made amends with those I’d hurt and broke off relations with those that weren’t salvageable. I knew that my life, at that point being dedicated to helping men, wasn’t looking so good for men who were wanting to improve their lives. A dude who’s sex life thrived on jilted lovers, broken marriages, outright lies and deceit, or unhappy house wives wasn’t what I was trying to sell. Men didn’t need to walk the fucking razor line to truly find a better life. 31 DTM made me face this fact head on. And, even as a man without a country, I was an island at this point, but it was time to start swimming back to shore.

So I started to make it right and started to apply the red pill the right way. No more of this bullshit. It was time for me to grow up, sack up and make my life better by focusing on it primarily, and practice what I was preaching. At that time, I was really covering game and attraction in my tweets and blog. I was applying it to women I shouldn’t have been applying it to, but did it anyway because “enjoy the decline” right?

Dammit, there had to be more to this fucking life…

There is. I’ve found it. Renewed vigor towards my own goals of fitness, finances, foresight, and yes, even a little bit of faith. Once again, the church and I don’t see eye to eye, and probably never will.

The game is never as fun when you have the cheat codes, so I reset and started it over, this time making sure I covered all my bases. I made it a point to go out and meet new people, men and women whom I admire on Twitter and elsewhere, and to go out and meet the men of FoE. It was time for the world to meet the man that sits in between the forgiveness of God and the eternal damnation that I know may be waiting for me.

So, I wake up tomorrow working on a new future for myself. Living the true red pill life. Taking the game that I’ve learned and adding confidence, honesty, authenticity, and a shit ton of attitude. It’s about me now, not anything else. I’ll still approach women, I’ll just be more mindful about their intentions, especially if there’s a ring on that finger. Never rub another man’s rhubarb, even if you think he deserves it. You’ll cash that check with your life if you aren’t careful.

Bros before hoes really does cover it.

The worst I can think of is that I continue to improve my life with the prospect of no forgiveness and no LTR, or a MGTOW wet dream, but I would appreciate a women in my life who supports me in all my endeavors and truly enhances my life.

But if I am running the rest of this life marathon alone, then I am absolutely prepared to do that.

The best I can hope for is being on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell, as Five Finger Death Punch put it so eloquently.

Forgiveness is lost, but give me redemption so that I may live as a symbol to those who walk in my footsteps.

Time Stamps

5/28/2016.

This date will forever be burned into my subconscious.

It was the day my new life began.

It was the day that my life officially changed and I was on my own, in my own house, the marriage a distant memory and the divorce, freshly finished not two months earlier.

I had just gone through the nightmare of selling my gigantic expensive house that my ex and I had bought, the 4 car garage, the pool, the separate wings for all the family and friends that didn’t ever come, the large basement we never used. The house that took all of my energy to move out of, fix up, and sell for a $50k loss, the house that was supposed to save our marriage, instead became one of the most expensive head stones in history.

The struggle was real.

For 4 dark months between December 2018 to March 2019, my life was a dark hole. I was depressed, broke, paying a gigantic mortgage for a house I was trying to sell, working on the said house getting it fixed up so I could lose my ass on it. All the while, I was packing up 4300 sq ft worth of shit I didn’t want. It all reminded me of my failed marriage, my life at that moment, I was convinced I had indeed let so many people down, including myself.

Two portable storage units stood coldly outside my house as I diligently, slowly, and deliberately, filled them up with my old stuff. I had to eat at my parent’s house a ton because I couldn’t really afford any food except Ramen noodles but I always saved enough to make sure my kids had full bellies. For some strange reason, women would come around, damaged women looking for a damaged guy like me, and while I entertained some of them, many of them only added to the misery of me, slowly trudging along trying to pack up my life for the hope of a new one. That hope was a fucking glimmer that I thought would only continue to dim.

My family wasn’t speaking to me, much. My mother and sister were angry at me for making the choice to “duck out” on a responsible marriage.

I was mindless at work, just going through the motions thinking about the misery awaiting me in the house I didn’t want, with the stuff I didn’t want, living the life I didn’t want, thinking I would be stuck in this monstrosity forever. So naturally, depression sunk in.

I was going to therapy once a week and it was helping. It really was the only light that kept this dark winter aglow. My therapist kept discussing that if I kept working, the time would come that I could look over the mountain and see my glorious future waiting for me. But with every hurdle, there would be 5 more.

My dog I had raised with my ex passed away from complications of diabetes in February of 2019 and I cursed myself that if I had not been in this situation, I could’ve saved his life. If I wasn’t so damn depressed, feeling sorry for myself, miserable, he would still be alive. I sat in the vet’s office looking down at the floor after I had carried my lifeless dog into the office, knowing that he was going to be dead the next morning. It added to the general feeling of just fucking grey.

Every part of that 10 years I spent married was either being removed, being thrown away, or dying in front of my eyes. It’s enough to grind a man to dust to see everything he worked for being lit on fire, but I knew I had to keep going.

I had a few friends, but my best friend Jack always came over to help when he could, and my older sister and brother helped me as well. But in this four-month period, it was a lonely time. With the occasional whore ringing my doorbell, I slept, ate, and worked day and night to try and get out of this hell I was in.

When you’re alone during and after a divorce, life tends to look pretty fucking bleak. You have no money, no life, the quality of people are lacking, the women are trash, and all you can do is watch the clock and hope that the things you talk about to yourself, the hope you give, the sun that shows up as the clouds part this purgatory you sit in, will all be just around the corner.

At least that’s what my therapist kept saying, as I sat staring at him in disbelief. Good things are coming? Bullshit.

He told me I needed to get my mind off of things. I was semi-active, going to the gym 3 times a week, but I hadn’t really done anything to challenge myself.

That’s when Spartan came up.

The Shift

I had done a Spartan in October of 2015. The easiest one, the sprint, was a 5-mile course of mud, muck, and obstacles in the Kentucky bluegrass.

I had done it, barely, but my therapist told me I should do more.

I told myself that I would do a Trifecta, which is all three races in a Spartan year. A sprint is 5 miles, a super is 10, and the beast is 15. So I joined a team and signed up.

How hard could a Spartan be?

And of course, the first Spartan was in May of 2016. It was the beast.

15 miles in Southwest Ohio. Mud, hills, trees, obstacles, getting around them all. I wasn’t going to run the damn thing. Hell, I could barely get up the stairs.

So I made a commitment and purchased P90X and started doing it every day.

I ended up losing about 30 lbs, but I was still chunkified and wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

And why the fuck was I even signing up for a Spartan race of this magnitude in the first place? I was divorced, broken, shattered and trying to build something from ashes.

The reason? Because I needed to prove to myself I could do something hard.

I had never, NEVER, challenged myself. My first hard challenge was breaking away and filing for divorce. And now it was personal. This was my new start. This was my goal to be the best man I can be.

As I was tearing down my old life, in the basement of my gigantic house, I was slowly building my new one. Every day, because I had nothing else to do, I went downstairs and did a workout. I started to get stronger. I knew this was the first step every man must take to reclaim their lives.

I knew something amazing was going to happen.

So on that day, I got with my team and started the 15 mile trek. Hauling logs, carrying boulders, climbing hills, scaling walls, then halfway through, I lost my team.

Spartan Beast – Ohio 2016

It was just me and the course. Rain was coming down hard as I slogged through the mud. I was by myself, on a 15 mile course, easily the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had a half bottle of mustard, an energy bar, and my water pack.

I was terrified, I’ll be honest. Every hill I climbed, my legs cramped something horrible. I kept eating the mustard and kept going. There were other people around me, alone, overweight, fighting for every step, and we talked as we worked up this course. I would talk to strangers, other folks trying to do something amazing by finishing this course, jumping the fire, and getting their medals. I had that in mind too, as well as catching up with my team, but also, it became about proving something to myself. Proving that I could finish this course on my own. Proving that I could tackle the obstacles. Others quit around me. A 68-year-old man who was with me for most of my time and I talked. He’d been doing Spartans for years, and while he was slow, he did them, and he did them well. We worked over several obstacles together as we talked.

As I neared the last 2 miles, I was climbing a mud hill when I saw my team, waiting for me. It was almost dark. I wanted to get to the finish before the sunset. So I summoned what strength I had left, did the last few obstacles, and made the finish line by jumping over the fire. I was ecstatic.

I had done it. I had conquered a course. And it showed me what this second chance in my life really was about. Getting over the hard parts to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

But the Beast was also a microcosm of my own struggles in my life. That course took me 8 hours to get through. My life, currently, was a trudge that I knew I was going to get through, I just had to do it.

And suddenly, after the Spartan, the world seemed much easier to deal with. The small shit I was bitching about in my life became shit that I checked off of the list. I finished my house up, and after a few last minute panic moments, got it sold.

With it getting sold, I was able to move into my new house, my new life.

The last shackles of my married life were in that gigantic house, and now, without it, my world seems much more promising.

Then came the 28th. I came into work with a smile on my face. I had closed on my old house and was ready to move into my new house. As I left work that afternoon, I went to my new house, my new life, and stood in front of it.

This was a new start for me. A second chance to live my life MY way. A promise that I had made to myself that I was keeping. I stood in front of my new house beaming. Regardless of what happened from this point on, this was now on my terms. This life was now mine. I owned it, finally.

That night, I pulled out my bed, assembled it, and got to sleep in an empty house. But it was the greatest night’s sleep I ever got. Because deep down, I knew that my nightmare 6 months was now over.

I could breathe again. And I could finally live.

This is why 5/28 will forever be the number one date in my life.

Because I finally got to be me.

This is now my life, on my terms.

And I’m never looking back.

Intent to Silence

Photo Credit: medium.com

When you are in my line of blogging, writing, Youtubing, and podcasting, you tend to get a lot of flak from those that disagree with you. I am proud to say feminists don’t like me very much, because until 4 years ago, I didn’t have my head on straight on what I truly believed about the feminism movement and femininity in general.

But as I’ve evolved into this man you see today, still learning, still writing, working on a book, launched a new show on Youtube, and working on my podcast again, my views have always been called “misogynistic” by many feminists. Read my stuff. I’m critical of women, liberals and feminists in particular, but my views on women are generally that I love them and that feminism is a false god that has led them from looking for equality (which is just) to looking for revenge and power (which is happening).

While we disagree on many things, I still have every right to write what I think with discourse and debate welcome and insults and shaming being blockable offenses.

Listen, just because I paint certain segments of the female population in a negative light doesn’t mean I’m misogynistic. Everyone is ripe for criticism, me included. I stand by my writings as what I believe and if you don’t like it, there’s the door.

However, modern feminism is more interested in silencing those that disagree with them than openly debating ideas and issues. It’s not enough to agree to disagree, tip your cap, and move on your merry way. No, this person is wrong and they have to be made an example of.

No where is this more visible than with what happened with Jack Murphy.

Go to his Twitter page and read his pinned tweet. It will terrify you.

When the mob comes for you, it comes for you good and hard. You’ll lose family, friends, jobs, and relationships because you dared to write something you believe, much less something that is controversial.

But there will be no debate. The mob speaks and it speaks quickly and with brutal effectiveness. If you are seen as a person who’s views are “questionable”, be assured they will come for you.

That continues to be the problem today and will be the problem for the foreseeable future.

And this has come full circle with a little stunt an unknown woman pulled with me in a personal Facebook group.

Be Quiet or Be Ruined

When you are on this side of the debate, many, many men are changing names, choosing anonymity for having the temerity to express their opinions that may go against the grain. It is a constant worry, that actually expressing your views will get you fired from your job, removed from any activities, losing family and friends because you have an opinion that isn’t necessarily popular.

Look at Jack Murphy, Brett Kavanaugh, and the hundreds of other men who’s lives have been ruined because of false accusations and speaking for what they believe in. You never know when you might piss off the wrong people for saying what you think, resulting in your boss getting wind of your social media, and then the pitchforks and torches come out big time.

On another innocuous Monday night, I had recently tagged a bunch of my female mother friends in a Facebook post wishing them all a Happy Mother’s Day. I do this every year, as I recognize the importance of mothers to all of our lives and it was done again this year with little regard to what Pandora’s box I had just opened.

As I sat with my daughter doing homework, I got a notification with an unknown woman who had posted in my tagged group post with a link to my blog post about “The Single Mom Dating Dilemma”, which was a post in which I discuss my dating situation and try to debunk the manosphere issues with many single mothers, while pointing out that some of what is said is the truth. But the bottom line of that who article is women who take responsibility for bad choices in their lives (hell, ANYONE who does) tend to make better dating prospects because they own their lives, no questions asked. And I lavish praise on those women, with several women I’ve dated and countless family members who I admire and respect as strong, independent women who have succeeded in their lives. And yes, I do discuss my general disdain for the feminism movement that wants to “empower” women by trashing men and as usual, I call out my normal boogeymen of victimhood mentality, lack of personal responsibility, and the entitlement ruse that modern feminism uses as its “modus operandi.”

As always, this is where my blog focuses on. It’s nothing new to my 10k plus subs, but as it hits new audiences, it’s going to be challenged. And I welcome open debate on my conversations…but as we know, many toxic feminists aren’t interested in debate. They’d rather attempt to “expose” you and shame you into silence. And that’s just what happened.

So there it was, let’s call this woman….hmmmm, “Karen”. A woman I didn’t know, but a woman who was friends with a past acquaintance of mine I had dated briefly whom I happened to have tagged in the post because she’s a good mom. We disagreed on politics (she absolutely hates Trump) and left it at that. She ghosted me but we still were friends on Facebook.

So, Karen had a pithy comment saying that how I “really” feel about moms was in my blog post, especially single moms, in an attempt to shame me in front of my closest female friends and family. She then linked my blog post “The American Woman”, describing the total dumpster fire of Tinder and where many modern American liberal women have been lied to and lost their way. None of this is particularly salacious, I’m merely stating what I believe with the sense of entitlement that many women (and men for that matter) have developed with the “participation trophy” society I so desperately want to get away from.

What the hell was she trying to do?

Well, she was trying to shame me into silence. By “sticking it to the man” by posting my blog posts (which a majority of my friends and family know about, and either agree or disagree with) she was trying to “expose” me to my friends and family as a “misogynist” for posting such “horrible” things about women. I’m merely reporting what I believe and what I see, which is holding women accountable for their actions as well as men.

After my back and forth banter with “Karen”, a friend of mine recommended I block her, which I did, after many confused messages about what was going on. Karen had took it upon herself to enact justice on behalf of all women everywhere by trying to put the “toxic” male in his place because he happened to have a different opinion that she did.

Once again, modern femininity isn’t concerned about healthy discourse as it is with trying to silence and shame those who disagree with it. And once again, it shows the need for everyone to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of what people might think.

And that’s exactly what “Karen” was after here. Shame me in front of women whom just a day earlier I had wished a happy Mother’s day (including my own mother and sister) in order to show all the women of my life what a horrible man I was because I choose to voice my opinion which isn’t in lock step with what modern feminism deems appropriate.

So, for the people that don’t know what I do, here’s your introduction to my opinion. Take it or leave it, but be better and agree to disagree, rather than try to destroy or silence someone you disagree with. With the advent of social media, people have HAD to go anonymous because they believe certain things and are shamed, shunned, and destroyed by those who have an ax to grind against them.

Trying to silence those who you disagree with only does one thing. It makes them come back stronger and more polarized that if you had tried to discuss your side of things in an constructive manner. But everyone wants to be an outrage broker.

This has only polarized us further. And as with other hot button topics like feminism (fat acceptance, toxic masculinity, politics) the more controversial, the more eggshells and the more sitting on your hands. You have every right to disagree with me, as do I with you, but can we do it respectfully and openly, instead of treating every opinion like a lit stick of dynamite that will blow families, friends, and societies apart because we can’t have the difficult conversations that need to be had.

Bottom Lines

Do I come across as rough and direct? Sure, but that’s my right. We don’t live in China (yet) but we are starting to trend that way.

I respect your opinion even if I disagree with it. I believe you should do the same. I should never have to apologize for my convictions and beliefs just because they rub you the wrong way. And I should never have to pay for my opinion with my job, my life, my kids, or my freedom because I said something you don’t like. Last time I checked, this was still America.

So here you go. Here is what I believe:

  • I voted for Donald Trump and I will again
  • I am a conservative and I believe in small government
  • I disagree with Trump on many things, mainly his Twitter foolishness
  • I believe all mainstream media from FOX to CBS has been corrupted with FAKE news
  • I believe that obesity is a national epidemic and we all need to get into shape for our best lives
  • I believe in equality of both sexes, but that each sex brings strengths to a relationship
  • I believe in two genders
  • I believe and support gay marriage
  • I believe that taxation is theft
  • I believe that modern feminism is damaging women and it is trying to change men
  • I decry the term “Toxic Masculinity
  • I support public schools but they need to teach without an agenda
  • I don’t go to church and I am agnostic, but I respect all religions and your beliefs as long as you respect mine
  • Religion and I don’t necessarily get along, it has the same trappings as government as a form of absolute worship versus an open mind
  • I believe masculinity and femininity are both amazing things that people should respect and nurture, versus trying to change
  • I don’t drink anymore, but I respect your right to do so
  • I believe a strong father is required to have well rounded kids
  • I don’t believe in entitlement, but I do believe that everyone needs help and has dark times they need to get through
  • Systematic racism still exists, as does white privilege
  • I absolutely love women and all they are
  • I believe biology trumps everything else

So, all I ask is that you respect my opinion. I am still learning every day and my opinions often change, and I am always up for hearing a side of something I didn’t hear. But EVERYONE must bring the respect. If you don’t respect me, I highly doubt I will respect you back.

I have every right to my opinions and shouldn’t have to cower because it doesn’t fit with the “Right think” narrative that many men who’ve had their lives destroyed are still fighting to this day.

If I lose followers, friends, or family by writing this, so be it. It gets tiresome to try and dance around feelings, all while trying to keep the peace because of intolerance of opinion. And I’m sure I will be pigeon-holed as a misogynist, right wing whack job, etc, but that’s on you. You’re labeling me in the same way you shame others for labeling you.

There it is. This is me.

Take it or leave it, but I’m not going to let my opinions be silenced because you don’t agree with them.

I won’t be bullied.

Storms

The phone rang about 2 that afternoon, I was in the middle of working on some things for work. It was my oldest daughter…

“Ally’s having a seizure.”

Fuck.

With a rushing heart, I ran out of the office and bolted to my car. Jumping in and driving as fast I could.

When I arrived at my ex’s home, I found my 10 year old completely out of it laying on the ground with her mother rubbing her head. She was still recovering from her first seizure after 8 months.

Dammit.

We had seen such improvement, we thought we had the epilepsy kicked. We only needed another 16 months of no new seizures….but, alas, that’s not how the story’s going to go.

As her mother got up to tend to other things, I laid with my daughter on the floor of the bedroom and rubbed her head. I didn’t want this to happen, but it had. That’s the deal.

She had gone into the other room to play with the cat and that’s when my ex and my oldest daughter heard a thud. They called out to my daughter, but no response. Then they heard another thud. When my ex got there, my daughter was leaning against the wall, unresponsive to words, and my ex knew.

She laid her down and held her as she had the seizure, which was in many cases, different from the ones before. No convulsing, no foaming at the mouth, but my ex knew this was happening.

After my ex had administered the meds to bring my daughter back out of her seizure, she had a gigantic headache and slept for 14 hours. A seizure is like running a marathon for your mind and it wears you out.

So, in the quiet of the room, I looked at my daughter resting after this incident and just kept saying, “When is shit gonna calm down. Fuck.”

Guess what Mr Beckett? It doesn’t.

When Times Are Tough

Without a doubt, this is one of the most challenging times for many of us, and I’m not an exception. As a small business owner, I’ve had to lay off my part time staff, hoping that one day soon I can hire them back. Everyone is surrounded by uncertainty and government handouts only help for so long.

Still, it speaks volumes for people who are struggling right now that it’s EVERYONE that seems to be going through some shit on some level or another. It always helps when people who are struggling just like you understand and empathize with you on your journey. That’s one of the brightest spots in all of this.

But it still doesn’t answer the questions that we all have that generate self doubt in all of us everyday. Why? Why does this happen?

People try so hard to control what can’t be controlled, they sometime forget to read that sentence again. “You can’t control what can’t be controlled.”

Which is why the only thing you can do during a storm is seek shelter and wait until it passes. You can scream at the storm to stop, you can run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, you can jump up and down in anger, but the storm is still going to strike.

Which is why, after 20 years before of looking up at the sky and asking “why me?” I was calm, collected, and smiling as I looked at my daughter post seizure sleeping after it passed. I knew that there wasn’t shit I could do about what had just happened except what I could do.

So I calmly called the neurologist, who explained that because of my daughter’s recent growth spurts, she may have to increase her medication, got my daughter comfortable, kissed her forehead, and went home to contemplate my situation.

I had a business in the balance of all of this uncontrollable mess, a daughter who has now relapsed into epilepsy, another daughter who’s in intensive therapy over out of control anxiety, family issues, and all the other bullshit that life throws at us everyday.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep much the next two days. But all of that mental masturbation as I contemplated what had happened didn’t help one bit. As a matter of fact, after hour one, I started to work on solutions that I could actually DO, as opposed to pie in the sky bullshit that only landed on the flip of a coin or worse, the spin of a roulette wheel.

One of my most used sayings is “it is what it is” and it continues to ring true in these unprecedented times.

Two things to remember:

  1. It can always be worse. No matter what you’re going through, imagine there are thousands of folks going through worse.
  2. You can’t control it, you can only control how you react to it, or better yet, how you prepare for it.

There will always be a segment of the populace who labors under the false assumption that their complaining will change their outlook. It never does, it only adds to the misery of how they are living their lives.

You can only control:

  • Your actions
  • Your perspective
  • Your reactions to events

This is it. There’s nothing you can do with things you can’t control.

It’s been a long time coming for many people as they continue to get smacked in the face by life to just lay there and cry instead of getting back up. They think if they lay in the fetal position after the punch they’ll get left alone only to find out that life continues beating their ass as they lay there.

Punches and kicks don’t stop because you tell them too. At some point, you gotta hit back.

If you want life to stop hitting you, you have to be tougher to absorb the blows.

But you also have to register that fact that there’s nothing you can do. You can contemplate, you can pray, you can do a whole host of things, but stuff is still not going to change until you realize that you must adjust to it all.

The simple fact that the hits keep coming in your life isn’t your fault but it doesn’t change that they’re going to keep coming at you, for better or worse. If my daughter’s medical bills pile up right before I’m about to make a payment on my debt, there’s nothing I can do about that except move forward with my current plan and tweak when necessary.

My joy of seeing my daughter eight month seizure free was dampened by the most recent seizure, but in the big scheme of things, there are children having daily….hell, HOURLY seizures that can’t be controlled with medication.

And with a simple increase in medication and a bit of expense to restock seizure ending meds in the long run is much better than being whisked to a hospital every week with life threatening seizures.

It can always be worse, but it can also be better.

That’s why, regardless of what is going on, you need to construct a plan, sort of a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” type of plan. And you need to go over it every day and twice on Sunday. Have it as a part of your life.

Plan for the Storm

Let’s be honest, there’s no way to completely plan for every little eventuality, is there? Health issues are unpredictable. Financial windfalls and shortfalls happen very quickly. Which is why what this pandemic and ensuing fallout from it is showing us that there’s nothing wrong with being prepared.

Despite the fact that my daughter had another seizure, I was prepared for it.

We had a plan. Contact the neurologist. Understand the symptoms and what was ahead. Know that the medication amount hadn’t changed and we were going to have to raise it. Know that a keto diet may be in the cards. Know about CBD oil and it’s effects. Run through all of these plans.

Which is why I was set back, but not set out. As unpleasant as the eventuality was, I had to keep it on the table. You can’t whistle on the train tracks all day without knowing what to do when a train is coming, especially on a bridge…(for you Stand By Me fans out there).

You have to have a feel for the track when a train is coming. Which is why the reaction to run as the train came was the only one, and it was a distinct possibility that Gordie knew about as he kept feeling the track.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is your best stance, especially financially.

In my life currently, I am going on month number 2 of monk mode Beckett.

I am working on paying down my debt, once over 75k to now under 19k with more to come. I have cut every last expense in order to get me over the hump and put me in a better position come 2021. My plan, regardless of what happens, will still be in place. I have contingency plans for job loss, for homelessness, for lack of clothing, for lack of food.

I have contingency plans in place for my daughters. If I die, they have millions coming.

If their health, either mental or physical, becomes an issue, I have avenues to work with. We have different paths that we take to get to our destination, and most often the ones with the most hardship are the ones we avoid, but are also the ones that get us there the quickest.

Every situation you can think of can help you craft and mold a plan to ride out the storm. Which is better? Riding it out in a metal shack with holes in it or a brick house that has been built to withstand the chaos?

You build and you re-build, but you never cower and hide. You make it stronger than before the storm, but you keep re-building. You keep preparing so you aren’t surprised like you were the last time. Adaptation is a key component to a full life.

Death? Life insurance. Job loss? Updated resume on file and hard copied. Health issues? Doctors, specialists and people who know how to treat these conditions. Divorce? Several attorneys that can give you advice. Finance? Invest, have a plan, learn about money. Expenses? Only pay for what you need and pay cash as much as you can. Many ways to skin a cat.

This won’t be the last crisis we have. This won’t even be the last crisis we have this MONTH. So you have to be better and prepare for all things, even the worst things like death, so that you can continue to persevere in this life of yours. Get stronger in all aspects of your life and you’ll weather any storm life throws.

The storms aren’t stopping, all you can do is prepare.

And even better, be the storm yourself.

The American Woman

Your modern American woman.

When she has all the attention, she never gives it back, she only loses it.

It’s been a while since my last post, so what better way to jump back into the cesspool with a stark and real look at what I’ve seen in the dating apps.

Tinder, especially, is a dumpster fire. As I have always said guys, you can avoid a ton of garbage if you swipe left on any and all dating apps. But they’re there to be convenient. And that alone is why they all suck.

But it gives me a chance to really discuss the state of the modern American woman.

This certainly does not ascertain a blanket sweep of all women, as I’ve met many women who are quite awesome, especially those that I DON’T meet on dating apps, but there is a disturbing trend we are seeing that only continues to get worse.

I do believe in equality, but I don’t believe in equality of outcome. Women most certainly have had to earn rights and still suffer in other countries under brutal regimes. But I also think that women growing up in this modern time have been led to believe that they can act exactly like men. And that is a mistake. And it’s showing when you see women who are ravaged by trying to be something they are not. You can’t make biological differences a factor in equality, because Mother Nature doesn’t play that, and feminists these days certainly don’t believe in equality as much as they believe in revenge for what men did to them all those years ago.

Make no mistake, women have come a long way. They’ve had to fight for rights and privileges that they should naturally have, but did it go to far?

As the COVID-19 epidemic is showing you, feminists are reverting back to “save me” mode and wanting men for what men do, because quite honestly, no one can be a man except a man. That’s biology, not anything new.

But the modern feminist and women in general “have their cake and eat it too” is getting tiresome for this generation. When men step up, they are being lauded as “toxic”. When they fade back, they are told to “man up” or do their jobs. In essence, men can’t win, and feminists want it that way.

Feminism has poisoned several generations of women, with the oldest generation now reaping the crops they sowed so long ago.

Modern Feminism in the Dating Scene

The glory days of Sex in the City and having a career and sleeping with an entire city have now crumbled and you see tired, fading women who didn’t embrace their femininity, they flaunted it, and now they don’t have it to flaunt.

You are seeing women who were rode hard and put away wet. Years of “empowerment” have resulted in tattoos, piercings, obese and worse with these women being told that living just like a man is a great life and you can be sexually promiscuous with tons of men and be just fine.

But as they are finding out, that’s not the case. As Jordan Peterson has stated many times, “Who would want to be a man?”

Men are built biologically to reproduce with as many partners as they can. Now while we certainly don’t do that, women are not built that way, and society saying that they are is empowering? And we see the result. Dating apps filled to the brim with women who took their wild years too wildly and now are a shell of who they were. They were told embracing their femininity is weak and acting like a man would strike a blow to the patriarchy. And you see this behavior seeping into younger generations.

While Tinder is a very small slice of the pie, you consistently see women who are 30-45 that are very damaged. Liberal women galore. “If you like Trump, swipe left.” “I’m a feminist” types that have been on the dating app carousel for ages, hoping to find a guy who puts up with the crap they dish out, and finding there isn’t anyone out there. Swipe left.

And then you have the IG fisher thots, amateurs trying to grow their respective followings of simps IMing them dick pics, swipe left.

Then you have the feminazi’s who have found the error of their ways but are so far gone there’s no hope. Buy cats. Swipe left.

Emotionally damaged women who made the wrong choice and now have addictive behaviors, but refuse to help themselves or work on themselves as they’ve been sold the “be yourself” trash by society. Swipe left.

Dudes pretending to be girls (either digitally or in real life), she-male fiesta hoping to trap a dude by looking attractive enough from the waist up. Swipe left.

Married women looking for that guy who will be the bull in their loveless marriage because their man stopped trying years ago and hey “do you mind if he watches us?” Swipe left.

22 year old with 3 kids who’s ready to “settle down” after three different fathers didn’t know she wasn’t on birth control. Swipe left.

But we know this isn’t the norm, is it? You are seeing a slice of the female pie that only exists online. There is hope for women, I’ve seen it in the women I’ve dated because I’ve put down the phone.

Empowerment Traps

I’ve said many times, society has allowed women to overvalue themselves while pushing men to undervalue themselves. Once again, empowerment was never about equality, it was about putting men in their place for the feminine dominant to come out. But when the dominant feminism came out, the minute a spider shows up, the imperative wants men to kill it so they can continue to rule.

The influencer movement is extremely interesting to me, as it’s turned millions of men into mindless followers hoping for just a taste of that perfect woman who’s far from it. And now, thanks to OnlyFans, thousands of amateur women can now have male followers who pay for homes, cars, and other necessities while she fucks around with the best of the best who she has. It’s hypergamy on steroids and feminism in a nutshell. “Have your cake and eat it too.”

And men not only allow it, but they placate it. Men have been neutered to the point of being willing accomplices to a woman’s sexual strategy. And they aren’t stopping anytime soon.

“Venmo me for nudes!”

Remember, gentlemen, these women described above are garbage. Plain and simple. And they are the product of feminism let out of the barn with no plan on how to deal with it. Even since the advent of birth control and women’s sexual options opening up, any woman with a vagina has an open season on any guy.

But here’s the fail-safe that we are seeing that women didn’t count on. Age.
Many of these women have an expiration date. Women don’t age as well as men, and they can’t understand that the fun they had when they were younger didn’t translate to a kick-ass life when they are older. We are seeing aging hipsters like Sharon Stone, long a screen smoke show, now having to resort to Tinder to find a dude that will put up with her feminism sideshow. The makeup, hair dye, and skin products can only do so much to hide the hideousness inside and underneath, and these women will rightfully grow old and die alone, which is a much bigger fear for women than for men. (Manosphere term is “the wall” as Rollo has dubbed it.)

When women fought for and what women expected were two different things. They want all the fun without the consequences, preferring to blame others for their lots in life, or with feminism, evil men and their patriarchy which by the way, paved the way for women to have the very rights they feel they don’t have.

These women dictate terms as long as their favorable, then tap out when they aren’t, blaming all and everything but themselves.

And when they don’t get their way, they scream “sexism” and move on down the road to deface their bodies in the name of fighting against “the man”. Militancy is not a path for women to go down so they have men with guns to keep other men in line until the men with guns are busy with a bigger threat.

Feminism creates perpetual victimhood with endless demands and bottomless complaints. You can’t satisfy those who refuse concessions.

So, we see this, now, with women struggling with their identities. Society tells them to be empowered and the men they want telling them to be more feminine. It’s a struggle that feminism is winning, sadly, but there is hope. As we see COVID-19 and other factors pushing women to be more feminine, they are starting to see they can attract more bees with honey than vinegar. They’ve been lied to, and for many, it’s too late, but for others, they are resetting their lives before it’s too late. And while I may poke fun at the “born again” crowd, it shows more guts to admit a change in your mindset than blindly plowing forward until death to try to fulfill a blantently untrue narrative.

This part gives me hope. I see many women in my travels who are bucking the feminism clap-trap for a more nuanced approach to femininity. And this makes me smile because I know that the narrative isn’t affecting near as many women as we think.

But we as men need to do our part as well. We have to stop placating this behavior as normal. Silence means acceptance. We have to stop financing women with hopes of intimacy. It’s only making the whole situation worse.

So beware of the new American woman. She’s on a mission to maximize everything she has while she can. But also applaud the women coming out of this realizing the lie and praising masculinity instead of toxifying it.

There’s hope for the American Woman after all.

American woman gonna mess your mind
American woman, she gonna mess your mind
Mm, American woman gonna mess your mind
Mm, American woman gonna mess your mind
Say A
Say M
Say E
Say R
Say I
C
Say A
N, mm
American woman gonna mess your mind
Mm, American woman gonna mess your mind
Uh, American woman gonna mess your mind

Uh!

American woman, stay away from me
American woman, mama, let me be
Don’t come a-hangin’ around my door
I don’t wanna see your face no more
I got more important things to do
Than spend my time growin’ old with you
Now woman, I said stay away
American woman, listen what I say

https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
American woman, get away from me
American woman, mama, let me be
Don’t come a-knockin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your shadow no more
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes

Now woman, I said get away
American woman, listen what I say, hey

American woman, said get away
American woman, listen what I say
Don’t come a-hangin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your face no more
I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama, let me be

Go, gotta get away, gotta get away
Now go go go
I’m gonna leave you, woman
Gonna leave you, woman
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
Bye-bye
You’re no good for me
I’m no good for you

Gonna look you right in the eye
Tell you what I’m gonna do
You know I’m gonna leave
You know I’m gonna go
You know I’m gonna leave
You know I’m gonna go, woman
I’m gonna leave ya, woman
Goodbye, American woman…

The Family Contract

So I don’t do a ton of dad posts on here simply because I have a lot of guys like me who are riding out the dating market, but I think that some things I’ve done in the past few weeks warrant me diving into this realm.

At this particular moment in our history, dads are needed more than ever.

So, as I move back and forth from a country traveler, dating enthusiast and woman lover to father, provider, and co-parent, I have a unique perspective into the world of the single father. And I’m still learning more and more.

More recently, my oldest daughter has been struggling with something that I struggled with my entire adolescence and young adulthood, anxiety and depression. I will say that I suffered from both when I was her age, but it hits home when your kid has to deal with what you had.

I should’ve prepared. I should’ve done more, but I didn’t. You can’t prevent your kids from having these issues, and indeed when they start to get them, you feel powerless to try to help. But there is a way you can help them.

Draw the Line and Abide By It No Matter What

So there we all were, in a quiet room, starting the discussion. I began:

“Today, we are going to be doing something we should’ve done a long time ago, we are going to draft a family contract. This contract will contain a list of covenants that we (all of us, no exceptions) have to accept as law in both of our households. We are all integral in crafting it, so everyone’s input is required. If at any time you choose to walk away from negotiations, you give up your input and still have to abide. Your mother and I are both giving you an opportunity to craft something meaningful that our family can get behind.”

So we did it. For three hours. It was the most amazing thing ever. Sure, there were laughs, tears, yelling, arguing, as well as some compromise. But each person got their chance to get their voice heard, and through careful crafting, we came up with 10 main basic rules that needed to be followed as the “Law of the Family”.

As in your own life, setting boundaries is of utmost importance in this aspect of family. Kids need to be taught about consequences, both good and bad, that are in effect and will be enforced. Parents as well should abide by the rules, as there were several set for myself and my ex by the kids, and we have consequences that we must enforce as well.

The main purpose of this family contract? Accountability.

We all needed it, yet for years, even during our marriage, we left it adrift, choosing inopportune times to enforce, or not, rules that weren’t printed, filed, or even signed in agreement. Too often, parents are the tyrants and their kids are the subjects.

“Do as I say not as I do” is a parenting method that relies on parental power of the adult to make the rules. This “might makes right” may have been the only outlet for parenting that we know because our parents did it.

I was spanked as a kid, most of the time knowing exactly what I did was wrong, but once again, my parents didn’t have a “10 commandments” of right and wrong, and it can be confusing for a kid, especially doing stuff that’s borderline.

This is where myself and my ex had to be different. Not only did we have the challenge of two different households, but the challenge of a divorce was also present. Luckily, I am on the same page with my ex. And that’s an important aspect that I will discuss…

Be On The Same Page

None of the above, and I mean none of it, would be possible unless you and your spouse are on the same page. You have to be united in both installing and following the rules to the letter.

This same page gets a bit more dicey when there’s a divorce involved.

The vital part of this whole thing was my relationship with my ex.

Ever since the end of our divorce, my ex and I have gotten along so well (even better than when we were married) that this installation of these rules was EXTREMELY easy.

But before you present the whole issue to the family at large, you must have the discussion with your significant other about what you plan to install.

We had a catalyst of troublesome behavior, talking back, too much time on electronic devices, chores not being done, etc, we had to take back the house with little fanfare, and let the children know that not only were we in charge, but they were going to have vital say in how the new rules were going to be implemented.

But something had to be understood. I and my ex had to get our issues out and resolved before we presented anything to our kids. You want a united front on this one, because not only does it give the kids confidence in the implementation of the rules, but you have confidence in each other when presenting and working through the rules.

Luckily, we have very few issues, but if you and your spouse or ex have underlying resentment, disdain, or problems, you have to resolve those first and be ready to uniformly implement the contract as if either of you were the same person. Kids will more often than not try to bend the rules depending on the parent present, which is where problems arise, because naturally one parent will let something slide while the other one enforces.

This gives the kids conflicting info and makes a confusing situation even more so, as well as unenforceable as both parents set different rules.

So being on the same page is critical for this to be enacted. Once you are, you have to set aside some time to get it down on paper with your kids. And please keep in mind, THIS WILL NOT BE QUICK.

There will be tears, because, you are finally setting boundaries for your kids, and depending on how long you’ve waited, it will take some time to get everyone’s input. It took us three hours on a Sunday afternoon to hammer out 10 rules.

But we did it, and the understanding we got, especially when everyone was involved to help craft, made this agreement as strong as our family bond.

There are consequences, and they are understood. There are rewards as well.

And yes, I had to stop goofing off and teasing people. And my ex had to be present and accounted for when the kids needed something.

We all have to do things in this family to contribute, which makes this agreement stronger by default. We also left the open room to re-negotiate after one week, which we now agreed was working well.

While many of the below rules are common sense, you have to write it down to make sure everyone understands, from limited time on iPads to school work to a proper bedtime routine to feeding pets, there has to be engaged action and reaction for each. Written apologies, actions versus words for good and bad things. All in there.

Mutual respect, everyone behaving better, and a strong contract still being followed is what we wanted, and slowly, it’s what we are getting.

And now, it sits in a public place (my kitchen) as a reminder of the agreement our family made to be better in all aspects of our life, and what consequences, both good and bad, will come of this contract.

I can’t recommend this enough for every family.

The Grey

“Life is not a game, it’s a song.”

-Five Finger Death Punch, “Brighter Side of Grey”

The cold desert morning cut through me as I pulled out of the parking lot. I signaled right, even though I knew not a damn soul was out at this hour.

Just my own nervous habits, I guess. Making sure everyone knew where I was going, even though I didn’t want to leave.

My rental car cut through the chill in the air as I merged onto a desolate I-10 on my way back to Phoenix, on the way back to my old life, on my way back to my own reality. As I drove in silence, I realized what I had been dreading for the entirety of this trip was finally happening.

There were three things that I knew I couldn’t avoid and I knew were the honest truth of my current situation.

  1. I had to leave.
  2. I wasn’t coming back.
  3. I was never going to see her again.

We had shared our goodbyes in the early hours and we both knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But we both knew it was coming. We knew this wasn’t going to work, it never works, and with each of our situations, there wasn’t a chance in hell we were going to be different.

It seems exceptions only work for exceptional people with exceptional resources.

So I drove. The traffic was slowing as the sun rose on this picturesque scene in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Regardless of how it worked out, I still had a flight to catch, a life to go back to, and a world that wasn’t going to have her in it, no matter how many stars I wished upon.

Silence, sweet silence, gave me pause to think about what I had just experienced, the fun times, the great sex, the amazing people, the venues, the food, the weather, the world that I had a chance to broach for 6 wonderful days.

But I also knew that I was kidding myself if I was going to bring any of it back with me.

This isn’t Hollywood. I wasn’t riding off into the sunset with the woman I love after saving the day, I was riding off into the sunrise alone, heading back to my life.

With a heavy heart, I boarded the plane. I was never coming back here again.

“She’s only yours for a limited time.”

This is the struggle many men and more recently, myself, has had to come to grips with. There are certain things that float around the ‘sphere that we tend to make fun of as cliche, but when they boil down to it, they are correct.

This rings very true for many men. My last few relationships haven’t been relationships as much as they’ve been a quick window into what could be if circumstances weren’t working against me.

But that nasty word, “reality”, intrudes all too often to men who think romantically and not pragmatically. This is a red pill truth that is all too often beaten up because it is used in a way that tells men that they shouldn’t even try to have her in their lives.

Because indeed, it’s better to have her for the time you have her than to never have her at all.

This is all too often an excuse for men to avoid women, go MGTOW, and admit that Hypergamy, that horrible boogeyman to men, is an unstoppable force that men cannot overcome. She’s always going to be looking for a better dude than you, right? She’s always looking for another option, right?

The black and white that red pill purists are trying to have doesn’t work when you throw in the grey. It works in theoretical work, but when in the field, it tends to be determined differently in different situations. There are men on this side of the world that have been in long term relationships and marriages for a while now. But what makes them different is the fact that they’ve entered into it on their terms, under their own frame, and with the guidelines of a “REAL” reality that she can be there with them for the entirety of their lives.

The problem is that men need to be able to ascertain that regardless if she’s only going to be in your life for a short time is that your life is better when she was in it than when she wasn’t. Women in general fulfill men’s lives if men understand exactly why women do what they do.

The reason I traveled to Arizona was to have a vacation by myself, she was the very good icing on the cake, but I let myself get sucked into the mantra that “anything is possible” even when it most certainly wasn’t. Her life was in Arizona, mine was in Indiana. There wasn’t anything that was going to change that. She knew it and so did I.

But the “grey” I can take from the black is that at least I got to spend that time with her. I’ll probably never see her again, and that’s okay. Because I made the most of the time I had with her. And that’s where the pragmatic needs to show itself to men.

Men will try to move hell and Earth to make something happen romantically that shouldn’t. They’ll travel hundreds, even thousands of miles, rearrange their lives, and forgo things they shouldn’t because of the “special” times they have with a girl they connect with, never questioning if they should just chalk it up to a great weekend, week, month or year of having fun with a woman whom he connects with.

And while having to leave is certainly depressing, it helps to be grounded in a reality (especially mine), where the chances of anything happening past a great experience are nil. I have two kids, I have a business, I have a life of my own in my own state. I’m not going anywhere, nor would I want to. Even if I didn’t have my reality and was single, I wouldn’t change my entire life to pursue a woman, because there are many more important things going on that I’m building.

But it still doesn’t mean you, as a man, should avoid meeting women and experiencing all that life has to offer.

You can’t let the prospect of you potentially falling for a girl dissuade you from wooing her. You have to be able to disconnect, but you also have to remember….

The roller coaster of life is worth experiencing.

Women love and leave you and you MUST feel those feelings. It makes you a better, more lived, well rounded person. A tree that’s been through hell and back has the rings to prove it. It’s lived a life worth living. Are you going to look back with regret that you didn’t take that trip, meet that woman, have awesome times? No one wants to be regretting on their death bed.

It’s why I had to feel the gut punch as I left Arizona that day. If I hadn’t done everything I did, even knowing I wouldn’t see her again, what kind of life was I living?

The pain was worth every part of the pleasure.

Who wants to live a life that avoids living?

“Long Distance Relationships Don’t Work.”

Depends.

This is another manosphere mantra that for the MOST part is correct.

I’ve met a few couples who have managed to make it work, but knowing that one or the other was going to move (in most cases, her to him, him to her very seldom works out for anyone), they made plans. They have to not be too attached to their locations, but they would have to be committed to a life with you, and many women won’t or in my case, can’t, do that. They have families, they have roots, and so do you.

Men make the mistake of trying to make a long distance relationship work, especially with a woman who has many options around her that she doesn’t have to work for. Regardless of how much fiction I wanted to believe, there wasn’t a snowflake’s chance in hell that anything was going to happen that would’ve changed this. She doesn’t have to move, she has a ton of other options closer, and I knew this.

It still sucks, though.

I’m not saying it doesn’t. I’m just saying that when you get attached to a girl, especially one that lives far away from you, you have to be realistic about what is going to happen. You can’t rearrange your life for her, she doesn’t want that and you shouldn’t either. Enjoy the moment for what it was and move on to another moment.

There will be other girls, I promise.

But don’t kid yourself about making an LDR work. It’s a correct assumption that a majority of them don’t work out, either by hook or by crook, you’ll have to make that decision sooner rather than later, so get it out of the way. The longer it festers, the worse your recovery will be.

There are too many options around you right now that are both more advantageous by location, as well as financially beneficial. You can’t be flying back and forth from distant locations hoping to make it work when another dude can be in your lady’s house in 5 minutes. You have to think logistically.

I knew, quite accurately, that as the feelings subsided on that cold morning as I was driving away, that nothing was going to come of this. There wasn’t a magical ending that was going to bring her to me, or me to her. And there wasn’t anything that the mileage between us was going to solve, it was just making the truth that much easier to see.

But you can’t tell a guy in love this. He sees only the Hollywood ending, when he moves to be with the woman he loves, only to see her resent him the minute his plane touches down. She doesn’t WANT you to be with her, because if she did, she would be on a plane to see you. Guys have to realize the moment is just that, a moment, and if she wants anything more, SHE has to make that move.

When the guy makes the flight, the move, the life change, the timer is ticking on the end of the relationship.

I’m not saying never, but I’m saying it enough that men should avoid it.

You can’t force anything if she won’t make the move. Stop trying to force something that isn’t there.

Gotta Feel It

It blows.

The gut feeling that I felt as I drove away. The certain truth that I wasn’t ever going to see her again, the fact that I had to leave to go back to my life, and that she wasn’t going to be a part of it in any way, shape or form.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Because the feelings I had when I saw her in person, all the great times I spent with her, the feelings we shared, the times we had, can’t be matched.

She’s an amazing person and I hope she can find a guy that will make her happy, but she and I aren’t it. I had a hope, but with all the available evidence and with everything that I already knew, there wasn’t a chance.

Hope can be an effective tool but it can also be a damaging self immolation and skewing of reality.

So we’ve moved on.

But you can’t be afraid to feel. You can’t be afraid to put yourself in situations where you’ll feel a plethora of different emotions. That’s life, that’s the reason you live it.

I’ve had a large amount of different feelings in my life, from joy during the births of my kids and my wedding, to defeat when I was struggling with depression during my divorce, to sorrow when I lost my friend who killed himself over his ex-wife, to hope when I log in and see a man’s DM to me saying I’ve helped him overcome something in his life he wouldn’t have without me.

But I do what I do, I go where I go to meet new people and experience life with others. There are always going to be peaks and valleys, but avoiding them altogether to avoid pain is a life not lived. Pain helps us grow. Pain helps us appreciate the times we didn’t feel pain. Pain helps us prepare for the good or bad times awaiting us in the future.

You can’t avoid it, so accept all the feelings in your life, because this is life.

Stop being afraid of everything hurting you and start preparing yourself for experiences you can tell your grand kids about, experiences you can use to fuel your life, experiences that fill the photo album of your mind and heart.

But most of all, stop avoiding your own reality. It’s good to escape to another world for a while and have some fun, but realize that you have your own life and there are many women out there who are clamoring to be a part of it. Women who are in your town, your church, your local area that are attractive and wanting a dude just like you.

Regardless of how I felt on that morning, driving back from a life that I couldn’t have, I got on the plane, and flew back home.

My life is here. I got off the plane, got home, hugged my kids, dried my eyes, and focused on the fact that there are many women who want to be a part of my life, and they don’t have to uproot their own existence to be there.

So my journey continues….

And to my beautiful Arizona woman, I want you to know that I cherished all the times we spent together, the talks we had, the moments we shared.

You are indeed a very special person, and I can’t thank you enough for making this time one of the most amazing times in my life.

I wish you the very best.

Stop being afraid to live you lives, men. You have a whole world out there to experience. Stop being afraid of pain, hurt, heartache, or disappointment.

It makes the times you succeed, truly fall in love, smile, and laugh much more enjoyable.

Never be afraid of the pain of getting burnt by the fire, because all the other things the fire brings you are more than worth it.

I still referred to this quote as a reason men need to face life with their chest out:

Never be afraid to feel.

There’s always a brighter side of grey.

I’m writing this in case I’m gone tomorrow
I’m writing this in case I’ve moved along
There’s something that I hope you’ll remember
That life is not a game, it’s a song

So take the best parts of me
Locked away without the keys
And know that I’m forever by your side

When the lights go down
Know that I am never far away
When the sun burns out
I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey

If you’re reading this, I know you’re feeling sorrow
If you’re hearing this, I know you’re probably scared
Just know that all the things you want are borrowed
And all you get to keep is all you’ve shared

So wipe away the tears for me
Know that we’ve made history
Remember no one ever really dies

When the lights go down
Know that I am never far away
When the sun burns out
I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey

When the lights go down
Know that I am never far away
When the sun burns out
I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey

Promises

Photo Credit: wordsIseek.com

Back when my marriage was spiraling out of control towards the inevitable conclusion of divorce, I was having to justify my decision to end this union with all of my family, friends, and co-workers.

The unavoidable question would always start the conversations.

“Why did you do it?”

There were many reasons I tried to justify my actions, with these being the primary:

  • Sex was non-existent
  • We were two people running a business, not a marriage
  • No communication
  • Lack of understanding
  • Change averse
  • Staying married for the kids was toxic for said kids

But the biggest one, after 4 years of reflection of my decade long marriage, was one thing.

I didn’t keep my promise.

I had made a promise to my then girlfriend, future wife, and future ex on a cold day in Noblesville, IN at a Wal-Mart. And no, I didn’t propose to her there, or the marriage wouldn’t have lasted longer than Black Friday.

It was a serious conversation we were having about her father, who disappeared from her life for 5 years. She straight up told me about this rough time in her childhood, where she literally didn’t have a childhood because of a crazy ass mom and a dad who left her. She was essentially abandoned by her dad and in absolute disgust, her mom took her anger for her dad out on her, her sister, and her cousin. There they were, living together while their mothers did everything but raise them, and their father, at least for two of them, had essentially abandoned them.

She didn’t trust men, and why would she? Having that stuff happen made me realize that despite all of my parent’s issues, they stayed together, worked on stuff together, and truly loved each other. What compels a man to leave his family, even if he didn’t like his wife?

So there we were, on that day, talking about my commitment to her.

How I wouldn’t leave her….

How I wouldn’t run when the going got tough….

How I would be different than her father…

All because I wanted to make her happy.

I was keeping a promise because I thought that was what she wanted me to do. We had been dating for almost a year when this happened, and I wanted her to think I was different. I wasn’t. I failed.

A Choice

So, flash forward to the end of our marriage, my justifications for leaving, and my reaching for anything that would make this choice feel better.

There wasn’t a way to feel better, it just sucked. I had to go through two years of therapy to try and avoid the major issues confronting me and my marriage, and trying to find a way to keep my promise. I kept coming up short. I had written a check that was going to bounce. And it was past me’s fault.

I knew I’d be breaking my promise. It was all my fault for doing so.

I had told her that I wasn’t going anywhere, no matter what. I had made vows to the same commitment. I had reneged on my promise.

I hadn’t just broken it, I had shattered it, ran a lawn mower over it, and taken a sledge to the rest.

I’d made a promise to not leave her, no matter what, because I’d be proving her right, because men leave.

At every therapy session, at every discussion with my then wife, at every family function when asked “How are you guys doing?”, I had to think about my answer very carefully and lie to cover up the promise I made.

So here I was, breaking promises to family and friends to keep the promise I made to my wife. I had to miss events, I had to tell my friends I couldn’t hang out. I had to tell my co-workers they couldn’t count on me because my wife needed me to be there. And be there ALL THE TIME.

What promises are worth keeping? What promises are worth breaking?

NONE.

But what do you do when a promise you made is affecting your life so adversely that keeping it is destroying your soul?

What do you do when a promise you keep is keeping you from making other promises or worse, breaking promises to other people you love?

What the hell did I do? I was torn between a choice of the promise I made to my wife and promises I was breaking to everyone else, especially myself….

That was the reason I had to have two years of therapy to convince myself of the correct answer. No one was going to understand it except me, and even then, I would get backlash from all of the family and friends I was trying to protect by making this decision.

In other words, it was a shit sandwich with no choice but to take a bite.

When you make too many promises to too many people, you’re eventually going to be forced to break all of them….no matter the situation.

So I had some soul searching to do as I pondered my decision. I knew I needed to take my life back, because I had made a promise to myself to change, put myself back in charge of my life, stop doing things to make people happy and start doing things that made a difference in my own life.

And I knew, when I made this choice to leave my wife, EVERYONE was going to hate me for it. When you choose your own self interest after years of choosing everyone else’s, you’re bound to be on part of the journey alone because of all the hurt feelings. Once again, a shit sandwich….

So, I made my decision. And 4 months later, I was alone in a gigantic house, no furniture, going to my mother’s place for dinners, 40 year old grown man trying to get his life together. But I knew that my decision would have short term consequences, the long term of being able to look at myself in the mirror again was severely outweighing the short term stuff.

But I still couldn’t escape the fact that I broke my promise. I screwed up royally, and this break would affect me for the next 4 years, in all facets of my life.

Getting Passed It

My life was a mess, but it was at my own choosing. I’d much rather rebuild from the rubble into something I wanted versus trying to balance all the promises I made that I couldn’t keep. It was me trying to make myself happy versus trying to make the world happy.

I still had lit the fuse….and the shit had blown.

So, I continued therapy to make sense of the rubble and piece it back together into some semblance of order in my life.

I remember a night in particular, drunk off my ass, three days before my closing with a shit ton to do to the house, deeply in debt, depressed, suicidal, and having empty sex. I was stressed beyond belief, contemplating bankruptcy. It was then I was at rock bottom, and I saw me for who I really was. This was my decision, but this was what I needed in order to be who I wanted to be.

You always second guess decisions that are going to adversely affect your life as if they are even needed. You look back and wonder what you could’ve done differently, but as I stared at my drunken reflection in the mirror, I realized that the promise I broke freed me from a life that wasn’t real, that wasn’t me. And I needed to break the promise in order to get on with my life.

But I knew it was going to suck, and it sure did. But slowly, the rubble of the broken promise started taking shape into a life that I could actually have to make the promises I really wanted to make. The promises that I knew I could keep.

You can’t pick the promises you want to keep. You have to have the confidence to make a promise you’ll be sure to keep. Breaking promises is a serious issue and I, of all people, know the consequences of it.

You have to be able to understand that you make mistakes, that we all make promises sometimes that we shouldn’t, and we all do horrible things to ourselves in order to keep them, JUST TO MAKE ANOTHER PERSON HAPPY IN THE SHORTEST OF SHORT TERMS.

Promises are what you do for people, not how you feel for people. If you truly love someone, you won’t have to make a promise because your presence, your true self is enough for that person to know you are there for them. A promise is a task, not a goal.

But you still have to keep them. You still have to have your integrity. A promise is an extension of yourself to someone else. And if you can’t keep your word, you really don’t have much left to keep.

Which is why, 4 years later, after countless hours of guilt, shame, and perceived failure, I can finally make promises again, but I’m careful what I promise and who I promise to. You have to take what you can do very seriously because when people count on you, you have to come through for them for yourself, not for what they can give you. A promise is trust in yourself, what you can accomplish, and who can trust you.

Because if you can’t trust yourself, who the hell can you trust.