Pariah

Nothing fucks with your head more than walking through Las Vegas at 5am.

The long faces, the worry, the fear, the toil of a long night spent living in Sin City with the hopes of that good roll, that last pull, the last hit, the one that made it.

Sure, you heard people cheering earlier, they were the lucky ones. They picked the right machine, the right table, and got hot. Now they have hookers and blow in the penthouse suite. Now they can make their mortgage this month, now they can qualify for another card game, they can smile for another day, they can breathe easy.

Until they have to go back and do it again tonight.

The visible frustration of watching someone else win as you are losing your ass is palpable.

The desperation, the despair as each pull, each click, each button press drains your total. The chance of hitting it big, in the casino or even in life, keeps us putting the bills in the changers.

What we don’t realize? The ease that we see of hitting it big isn’t easy, it’s kneecapping us in so many ways. We are exerting minimal effort for a overwhelming return. When we hit it big, then we’ll fix everything. Because we got lucky.

But is it really luck if you just wasted your time?

Is the payoff really worth the lack of effort?

Will hitting it big really change you, or are you just going to not cash out and keep pumping bills for a BIGGER return?

Or is it all a pariah? Is it an oasis that you see but vanishes after you trudge through miles of heat and sand? Or was it the time you spent getting there that you wasted, only to come up empty handed, bitter and disappointed?

The presence of virtue in Sin City is negligible. And the people who accept the natural motives of “letting go” in Vegas are too numerous to mention. The problem is that too many times, too many people have too little self control.

And seeing the faces all over this city that never shuts down was enough to show me that self control, principles, and beliefs are left on the tarmac getting off the plane in the desert.

“Why can’t you just enjoy yourself? Let go, let your hair down.” It’s fine. Do that. The problem lies in all of the issues that arise when folks turn off their common sense and turn on their consequence free thoughts, with just living and having fun in the forefront and serious consequences that come up after.

I’ve never heard anyone who lost in Vegas say they wish they could do that again. What I have heard is that people say Vegas is a blast if you play responsibly, that is, think with your big head versus the little one.

How many people put their head in their hands when they’ve been let off the leash only to make horrible mistakes that cost them in time and life?

You have to maintain control. Too many times, peer pressure puts guys to do things they shouldn’t or wouldn’t, but because of “YOLO”, they do it and fuck up things.

You needn’t believe a pariah that everyone else follows.

Priorities

“Why did you go to Vegas if it wasn’t to drink, gamble and fuck?”

Because I’m not these people. The old me would’ve. Shit, the old me would’ve blown my savings on hookers, games, and drinks.

But the old me was also a stupid fuck.

The minute I started prioritizing myself in my life was the minute I understood that my time was valuable. The minute I started caring about the man I was becoming was the minute I understood that my actions have consequences. Was I going to drink, act like a drunk ass, snort lines, blow hard earned money that could be used to enrich my life, instead of pissing it away for mere minutes of imagined pleasure?

Not trying to be a buzzkill. I’ve been there. I’ve blown a shit ton of money trying to woo girls, drinking, and generally making an ass of myself.

The bottom line: I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.

I didn’t like the man my kids saw.

But most of all, I realized that what everyone was telling me I was supposed to do was not what I wanted. If you want to be you, you gotta go against what everyone expects of you.

“Why can’t you have fun in Vegas?”

My new idea of fun is self improvement, empowerment, and helping others while I help myself. This isn’t some noble trad-con LARP, this is real life perspective shifts that take into account how I’m coming off to myself and others. How am I progressing to make myself a better person, better father, better man?

How can I try to prevent another dude from blasting a bullet in his mouth if I’m out here getting shitfaced, plowing the strip, or dropping my retirement on the impossibly small chance I actually get more?

Why roll the dice on a pipe dream when I can develop myself physically, mentally, hell, even spiritually if I fucking want and up the odds I’m going to take life by the tits?

This isn’t a fucking moral crusade to save mankind. We may already be fucked. This is an opportunity to leave a legacy to the people in my life that I love most, my kids. This is an opportunity to save the lives of men who only see the spend in Vegas, the long shot wins, the dreams come true and say, “I’ll do it that was instead of doing the work.”

Your savior isn’t digging a deeper hole hoping it rains manure at some point.

The False Flag

Why did this tweet cause so much vitriol?

What’s wrong with being free to make this choice?

Because it goes against everything that everyone says you should do.

It rides against the grain.

It pushes back against what people think.

And it challenges people’s perceptions on what you should do when you are in a particular situation.

There are people that let their environments and circumstances chart their self determination, then there are people who refuse to let outside forces deter them from being the best person they can be.

I went to Vegas knowing I wasn’t going to partake in the fun, because I had already done that. I spent a better part of my post divorce years fucking anything that moved, drinking, and generally living what everyone said to “live a little”.

But as with myself and millions of others like me, I couldn’t control myself. We are a society of excess, we are encouraged to burn the candle at both ends.

Work hard, play hard. What about work hard, play hard, learn hard, and better yourself harder?

This isn’t a religious thing. This is a personal choice to partake in things that will make me better, not drain my bank account, dick, and energy.

I choose this because it’s best for me. I choose this because I’m trying to control my rise and don’t want anything putting me back after all I’ve been through.

Dave Ramsey has a iconic saying: “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.”

I have taken this strategy to heart, keeping my eye on the prize even if everyone is telling me to stop.

Drinking water at the bar even if everyone is drinking around me.

Passing by the hookers while other dudes fork over their cash for them.

Walking past the slot machines that I know will take my money.

Eating a piece of grilled chicken instead of that Twinkie.

All in the knowledge that if I keep pushing towards my goals, I will get there and then keep going for more.

Life is the pursuit of something that you will never get. But the pursuit is what you want. It’s what makes life worth living.

Bully

“Get up, porky.”

I was incoherent. But I’ll remember those three words for my whole life.

My head had just been smashed into a metal locker. And I was bleeding.

“I said, get up.”

I wasn’t getting up. I wasn’t even close to being able to. I was seeing little stars in my vision. I don’t know if I had a concussion, but damn, if this is what it felt like, I didn’t want one ever again.

I was just a 6th grader, packing my backpack in a crowded hallway with my locker open, minding my business, when I was pushed and my head smashed against my locker door.

I felt a kick to my side. It hadn’t been as painful as the head injury I had just sustained, but it knocked the breath out of me momentarily.

I lay there, crouched in a crowded hallway, as everyone walked past a dude kicking me. I remember much about this exchange, especially the people walking by. I fully realized that they weren’t gonna help me, because they wanted to see me get my ass throttled.

It was middle school. I was the fat kid with glasses. With daily comments about my man tits, my fat cheeks, my thick glasses, and my muffin top, it was only a matter of time before I was going to get my ass kicked and today, I was on the radar of the biggest bully in my grade.

So to say I wasn’t surprised when I was bleeding in the hallway that day was an understatement. To say I was surprised on how he got me was. He waited until I was on the floor digging into my locker to push me into the door. Then he started kicking me when I was down. But that’s how bullies work. I did the hard work for him so all he had to do was take advantage. Before he could get another kick in, a teacher stopped him. But it was of little comfort to me at the time.

And while this horrific day still rings true in my head, I’m glad he did what he did.

Because some 4 years later, I grew to 6’4″ 210lbs. I had been bullied all throughout my middle school and early high school years. But one day, it stopped.

Not because I hadn’t gotten any less nerdy, but because I had gotten bullied enough that I had nothing left to lose, and I made sure every person that had bullied me understood that.

But here’s the thing. This blog post is not intended to gain sympathy for me in my awkward and sometimes downright shitty adolescence.

It’s sole purpose is to show why society needs a bully, and why when you’ve had enough, still the best time honored situation to dealing with a bully is to punch him back in his fucking mouth.

The Need For The Bully

Bullies have been around since the dawn of humanity. There was always someone bigger, meaner, and more ruthless to take your shit from you. And as we have evolved into a more civilized species, bullying has taken on other forms. Some 30 plus years ago, when my middle school days were littered with inevitable pointing, laughing, beatings, jokes, comments and other not so pleasant actions taken in order to douse me in shame, nowadays it’s more of the cyber kind, with the same types of insults being hurled through the computer screen as opposed to the hallways.

The need for physical violence to take on the bully went from fists to guns during Columbine. A terrible tragedy of two boys who didn’t have proper parenting and who decided to murder the bully, a cost that is still felt today as we see school shootings happening.

But instead of empowering the meek to go after the bully in more constructive ways, we empowered the State to sanitize the system so that there were no bullies or bullied, but the socialism of the school, where there is no empowerment, only ceilings.

So began the War on the Bully.

There was a huge movement in the early 2000’s that has culminated today with the attack by society on bullies of every type. The now systematized shame towards the bully has not curtailed the bullying, it has simply put the bully pulpit in the hands of our illustrious elected leaders, teachers, administrators, and other adults who make decisions to protect everyone, even when those decisions affect everyone negatively.

“We must protect our children from bullies” has become the rallying cry for parents who refuse to teach and parent their kids about the importance of the reaction to bullies being an important part of mitigating them.

I believe fathers have truly dropped the ball in teaching their kids about focusing anger towards positive activities.

As we moved through the past three decades, I have seen on alarming issue that continues to come up and that is that parents have willingly given up the raising of their kids to the State. With all of these cultural movements throughout the 60’s to the 90’s, the State has subverted the family structure, becoming the de facto bully in all of this.

In short, the bullies have become the bullied. And the new bullies have men with guns.

When I was bullied, as many children were, my mother tried to reason with school administrators and teachers that her son was being bullied. All this did was make the bullying increase, for I was the kid who’s mom tattled on the offenders. My father gave better advice. “Punch them in the mouth.”

So I did. Even if it wasn’t literal. I stopped taking shit from the bullies. I stepped up and either physically or verbally jabbed them when they came close. I wasn’t going to fuck around anymore.

Why Columbine was important was it showed that how kids were dealing with bullies, and how parents weren’t helping their kids, in a violent manner was not the answer that these kids were looking for. But without guidance for anger and frustration, all it did was boil over into violence on a large scale.

Killing the bully does nothing and has tragic consequences. Beating up the bully, gaining psychological advantage over him, is where the kids need to be directed. The bully provides a challenge to the child. A challenge of either beating them physically, or like I did, beat them out verbally and mentally. And when a child is challenged and they overcome the challenge, it’s a lesson well learned.

Taking the Power Back

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned are when I was getting my ass kicked.

I know of no person who didn’t have these sentiments that didn’t turn out to be a stronger individual after they got bullied.

It is empowerment to fight back and beat up the bully.

When we give kids real world challenges to overcome, as in life when they become an adult, something clicks. They understand through the harsh lessons that this is how to overcome and grow in life.

The problems with this is that parents stopped caring, and gave overreaching authority to teachers to try and be surrogate parents. I saw it in my days in my child’s PTA, when parents don’t care, kids have no where to turn but to teachers, who have no time for the kids because there are so many. So it’s left to school counselors, administrators, and other authority figures to try and reign in all of this, and they’re overwhelmed.

All because parents dropped the ball. As with the teacher who finally stopped the beating, they can’t expect to be parents at school with no parents working for the kids at home.

But it starts with the parents teaching their kids about overcoming challenges on their own with help from those that love them.

I didn’t start learning to ride my bike until my parents made me get on a bike and start peddling. I hit a mailbox and was broken and bruised, but I learned to ride a bike and I was off to the races for most of my childhood.

I didn’t learn to fight back until I fought back, with my parents watching me do it, and empowered myself to take control of a situation with an assertive move.

The world needs bullies. But more importantly, the world needs men and women to teach people that being bullied is not an excuse to act the victim, but a reason for action against an oppressive force.

If a child can’t stand up for themselves as a kid, they won’t stand up for themselves as an adult.

The pain of being bullied is gone when you fight back. I don’t feel sorry for myself for being bullied. In fact, it was a necessary evolution in the man I’ve become today. And I fought back against the very forces that we are trying to destroy.

We don’t want to remove a challenge from someone’s life just because it’s hard to overcome. We have to stop trying to save everyone and instead, give them a reason to FIGHT in life.

I see many people who’ve lost limbs in war, who’ve had diseases or defects overcome incredible odds to do amazing things. And that’s what puts the human in humanity. Overcoming difficulties, punching them in the face, and not wrapping the world in bubble wrap to protect.

People all need these challenges, but more importantly, they need parents who show them these lessons and let them fail.

It’s the only way to get stronger.

The bullies stopped as soon as I fought back. And fought back I did. I wasn’t bullied again.

The magic recipe? A commitment to yourself and to not being a victim.

It’s the way you grow to become a person who doesn’t take any shit.

And I think we need a society with more of those types of people.

Adversity is a necessity in life. And nothing is more adverse than a bully who you need to punch in the mouth.

Overcome and adapt.

Incompatible Lives

“It’s time for you to be a father, not chase tail all over the country.”

The voice cracked on my cell phone.

Angrily pacing in the airport, waiting on my return flight, with the phone clutched tightly in my hand, I countered, “It’s about me at this point in my life, my focusing on myself is not wrong. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

My daughter had been crying in the background when my mother spoke next.

“You’re a shitty father. Your kids need you and you’re flying around chasing pussy.”

I had never heard my mother speak this way to me, and it shocked me greatly.

“Has everyone lost their damn minds up there? Do I get time to myself to travel, date, and sleep with women? What business is it of yours what the hell I do when I don’t have my kids?”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your kids need you and you’re not here”, she said.

I had this happen before. It was clear as day to me.

Back in my marriage, my miserable dead end marriage, my ex used to call me at work with kids crying and guilt me into trying to come home, saying “they miss you”.

She would leverage my job against my family and she knew she was doing it. And here was my mother, another women in my life, trying to guilt and shame me into coming home because my daughter was a mess.

My daughter had been suffering from anxiety, a curse that I passed down to her, and she wasn’t coping very well. And as her screams and cries harangued in the background of my phone call that day, I wasn’t having another woman in my life try to tell me what I needed to do, leveraging my lifestyle with my kids.

I wasn’t hurting anyone. I was just going out on my time that I didn’t have my kids, traveling and meeting new people, and yes, I was having sex with women. So? “What the fuck?” was going through my head big time as I tried and failed several times to calm down. So there I was, in an airport in Pensacola, yelling at the phone.

Before this altercation, I had spent the better part of 2 years traveling all over the United States, by car and by plane, visiting places I’d never been, meeting people from Twitter and other walks of life, and yes, sleeping with women.

I had spent the majority of my 20’s working, not dating, and being terrible with women. My 30’s were spent with marriage and kids. And after I jettisoned my marriage after 10 years at 40 years old, it was time, albeit late, for me to sow my oats. I hadn’t had this kind of power with women in my life and I wanted to try it out for a spin. I was doing it within the rules of my divorce.

There were weekends I didn’t have my kids, so what harm was it for me to go and enjoy my life?

“I really thought I had thought this through” was running through my head.

Conundrum

Why wasn’t I able to pull this off? I thought I had done my homework. Why in the hell was I dealing with this?

I wanted to continue to travel. I wanted to continue to date all over the country. I wanted to continue having fun with my free time.

But what I didn’t understand? With my particular circumstances, with who I was, and with what I was doing, I couldn’t pull it off.

Some men can and do.

My kids were suffering from my absence, even if I didn’t believe it.

Yes, when I was there, I was there for my kids. But, I wasn’t really there. Between work, hotels, flights, rental cars, date nights, and all the other stuff that was piling up, I was missing from my kids lives. My mind wasn’t where it needed to be. With pussy, dinner plans, and travel getting the lion’s share of my attention, I was mailing it in with my kids.

They needed a strong, grounded father who had built a foundation of strength and stability. They were getting neither from me. And when the inevitable blowups occurred, they (and the women in their lives) needed a strong, masculine calm to break the tension, something that I could not provide at that moment.

And I knew it. Damn I was having fun doing this life. But in a round about way, even if my mom was wrong for calling me a shitty father, she was right about one thing. This wasn’t me, and I wasn’t there.

I couldn’t pull it off. Some other dude could. I couldn’t.

So, as I left the airport bound for home that day, I had to rethink my entire strategy and if it was even possible to have these incompatible lives.

My mother had said very hurtful things to me. Things that I knew weren’t true, but things she had never said to me before. I had to grasp why she felt this way.

The women in my life (mother, sister, and ex) were losing control of the situation because I never had it under control. I took off week after week for a new destination, all while leaving these women in charge of a situation that I figured they had control over. But the minute I left, the shit hit. Why?

Because I wasn’t there. Not necessarily there physically. But there. My presence. My infrastructure. My frame. My setup. My processes.

I had done none of it to help offset any issues that I was hoping wouldn’t come up. I knew about my daughter and her volatility. I still did nothing. I blindly let myself get away with it, and now the check had come due.

She wasn’t getting her dad. She was getting a dude mailing it in on the days he was around and passing it off to others on the days he wasn’t.

The one thing I had wanted in life was to be good with women, and here I was, better than I’d ever been, and I was being asked to give it up for my kids?

Yes. Yes I was.

My kids needed me.

Putting It To Bed

Did I have to give it up?

The thought and question raced through my mind as I flew back home.

The flights lasted longer than any other I’ve ever taken, because I was being asked to let go of something I like doing, but it was becoming detrimental to my home life.

I understood, finally, that I could travel and do some of the things I wanted to do, but just not to the scale of how I was doing them.

I had to get back home and plant firm ground to give my kids the foundation and frame they needed to thrive, even when I wasn’t around. So I did just that and established myself firmly.

And as if by magic, my kids improved dramatically.

As Zac Small says, “Presence is greater than presents.”

And it was proven after my flight landed that night.

A year later, I went back to my mom.

I went up to her, gave her a hug, and told her I forgave her for calling me a shitty father.

She apologized for calling me that as well.

She understood that I had improved as a father, by simply being there for my kids, as opposed to being there for unnamed women.

No amount of pussy is worth jeopardizing your family over.

The women in my life that were the most important to me were getting the full me, finally.

Daughters, mother, sister were getting me, but also, the real me. I wouldn’t put up with any shit, but I would respectfully acknowledge that I was lacking in certain areas as a father, and that was more important to me to correct than any other issue at that time.

And my job was to make sure that my kids got me first and often. I needed to be there for them, even if it meant sacrificing my short term goals, I had to focus on the long term of my kids.

My lives, for just me, were at the moment and for the foreseeable future, incompatible. I couldn’t be the single dad who picked up girls any more. I had to just be the dad. And be a good one, which I knew I was.

But I also had to come to the realization that a long term relationship is what I wanted.

I just had to come home.

Uncharted

The lighthouse at Sanibel Island, Florida

When I first started this blog in September of 2018, it was going to be a basic blog on game, approaches, and my progress with conquering one of the biggest challenges of my life, that of being able to be good with women.

It was just a blog.

I was coming off another unsuccessful relationship with a liberal woman, getting into another doomed-to-fail relationship with another liberal woman, and was getting myself red-pilled after enduring two years of post-divorce discovery of who the fuck I was.

I had, two years earlier, divorced my wife of 10 years after enduring a marriage rife with problems. I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground, so I grabbed on to whatever I could during that time, including many women who were toxic. I was working hard at my company, drinking with my friends, getting and staying fat, and had zero direction while I floated from relationship to relationship, date to date, day to day, just waiting for something to happen.

This was my life, and I didn’t see a way out except to play by the rules.

But, as we know, rules were meant to be broken. Part of the foundation of myself built on my divorce was the fact that my decision to divorce was made by ME, by only me, and my choice to not be miserable anymore. But it was a journey, as I was starting, that I didn’t have a solid destination. And that’s some scary shit for a man going on 40 who’s basically restarting his life. Add in running my own business, raising two children, and trying to become a patriarch of my family all while not knowing who the hell I was, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder many men who divorce have disastrous consequences follow them as they don’t know the hows, whats, or whys on what the hell they need to do to rebuild their lives, so they just grab on to whatever floats by, and it’s usually a water moccasin ready to bite them in the ass.

So as I was dating, I blogged as the Red Pill Dad, dishing my experiences with game, my approaches, my style, and my numbers. They weren’t great, but I figured anything I could do to keep my spirits high as I moved from girl to girl, trying to get better talking to them, would be quality content. So I blogged about it. I blogged about my red pill journey, my failures in relationships, my relationship with my ex-wife, and kept reading, studying, and writing as best I could to keep my mind off of this life I was trying to rebuild.

But then, in Early 2019, I was convinced that the rebuild WAS my life.

The Journey Began

It became more than game. It became a man who was on a journey to find himself, his purpose, his convictions. He spent his life being pulled in different directions by special interests and women who benefited from his work. As I placed myself back firmly in control of my life, I was seeing that the red pill was more than just a piece for getting laid. It was an integral part of taking my life back. Meeting women took a back seat to my voyage to find myself and take my life back, so it was getting more and more about the moral, financial, and personal dilemmas that men face after divorce that was taking up my writing time.

I was working out, on pace to lose 80+ pounds and regain my health. I was raising two children as a single dad. I was running my own business. I was struggling to take my life back from those who deemed it theirs. And it was pissing all of them off. For years I had thought I was wrong to alienate my friends and family from my inner circle because they would always shame me for daring to make my own decisions. So I cut those fuckers loose.

I was evolving.

Even friends online were telling me that my “Red Pill Dad” moniker was not really embracing my writing evolution. So, after a talk with a friend, I changed to “A Father’s Journey”. It was about telling men my story so they could see what I was doing. It was about showing men that life crises can be overcome with a strong back and the willingness to fight every day for who you are.

So I shifted my focus. And it was an amazing journey. I started writing about the aspects of my life that were affected when I started to take control of my life again. Parenthood as a single father, dating, and sex as a single father, life as a business owner, and other subjects began to dominate my feed. I was losing weight, taking back control of my life, all while tweeting and writing about it. My world was changing, and I had to chronicle it. My goal was to show men that regardless of obstacles in their way, their journey continued with them at the helm of it. It was a no-excuse time to take control of their lives. So I wrote and blogged about what they could do, what experiences I had, all while showing them that the fear they felt was certainly palpable, but also, faced and overcome.

As I would later find out in my re-brand, I was becoming a beacon to men out there struggling to take back their lives from the tide of an unfair family law system, a feminist society hell-bent on destroying masculinity, and the proof that there is an amazing life after divorce. Second chances are not given often, and men who fail to take these chances to improve their lot in life physically, mentally, and spiritually are doomed to be nothing more than a casket with onlookers lamenting the “could haves” he missed out on.

Not me. Not in this lifetime, and not on my watch.

So I opened my DM’s and I opened my life.

The off limits portions of the Red Pill Dad were now open for business.

My life was theirs to see. I knew it needed to happen. I knew they needed to see what I was going through, what I was learning, how I was growing and failing, for them to see what they could do to improve their lives.

They needed to not only learn to be alone, but THRIVE at it.

They needed to accept their circumstances, but also create better ones.

They needed to understand the fight for their lives doesn’t stop when the sun goes down and they go to sleep.

They needed to always be making moves to free themselves from a world that only wants them for their work.

For all of their lives up until that point, it wasn’t about them. It was time to make it about them.

My taking back control of my life is what my journey was up until that point. It was about writing to let men know that they actually have a choice on what they can do in their lives. They can learn and improve from their mistakes, but they have to make them first.

And maybe, just maybe, the young men reading my blog can avoid what I did. Maybe they can take the steps needed to take back control. My writings, videos, and shows would be a guide. That was my goal, and it still is to this day.

But the journey has changed. And I’m in very new territory. And I’m embracing the new challenges ahead.

Uncharted Father

As many of you know, I’m writing a book that will detail my life before my marriage ended into the divorce proceedings and eventually to the other side.

As I’ve been writing the book, I’ve been trying with increasing difficulty to come up with a name for my untitled book.

Then in January of 2020, I hit on something.

Every year, I go on a vacation by myself to Southwest Florida, specifically Fort Myers, and one of my favorite places on earth is Sanibel Island, home of a famous lighthouse. I go to that beach every year, and my family for over three decades has been living in the area as a second home. So on a particular day at the beach, I walked by the lighthouse and had an epiphany.

My purpose has been to help men who were in my situation, or any situation for that matter, to be better and overcome the slings and arrows of life’s folly. My purpose has been to be a guide to those men who would look out and see darkness, only to be greeted by a faint light of my help. They could choose to follow it or not, but the light is always there telling them of the impending rocks on the shore.

But it also represents the unknown.

What life there is still left to live is going to be unpredictable, and you as a man must plan accordingly. Being constantly prepared for all that life has to offer, both good, bad, and ugly, is a man’s first job. He has to be a beacon, a watch for anything that comes his way to do him harm or pleasure, and he must adjust to embrace this eventuality.

There will be things that happen that you can’t prepare for but must, there will be places you go that you’ll have no clue how to navigate, and there will be times you have to remember in order to move forward in the present and future. In any case, as a man, you must be prepared.

So, on that January day, I decided that my journey had indeed changed and I was navigating uncharted waters.

In every aspect of my life, I was an “Uncharted Father”.

Everything I had done I had done with very little knowledge, only the action to make things a reality in my life, the time to try to help as many men as I could, and the willingness to make as many mistakes as I could in that pursuit.

Men needed to see my struggles in this new life, and they had, but now, they needed to see my foray into new avenues, relationships, and opportunities. My actions and thoughts during this time as well as my past would be a beacon for men looking to make their lives better.

I’m not going to let these men down.

I’ve seen too many men take their own lives, get divorce raped, fall back into damning habits, and destroy their lives because they didn’t know where to turn, didn’t have a tribe that had their back, nor did they have a place they could look for support and accountability.

So I ran with it. And my symbol (I’m a big believer in symbolism) is the very lighthouse I’ve spent much of my life admiring. It’s a symbol of my goals as a man to continue to shine brightly to my kids, my girlfriend, my family, my friends, my business, and all the other things in life that need my light to survive and thrive. I want to be an inspiration to men everywhere of what they can do to navigate crises in their lives and how to come out on the other side better, stronger, and more determined.

My journey has changed. It’s a whole new ballgame. And it’s time for myself and other men like me to “Blaze Our Own Trail.”

I am The Uncharted Father.

Of A Certain Age

The manosphere, for lack of a better term, has become a driving force in helping men get control of their lives. From unplugging men, to fitness, to inter-gender communication, sex, relationships, philosophy, and all in between, I’ve seen many men get the help they need.

But as I’ve detailed in many past posts, when it comes to defining women and what a man needs to look for in one, the blacks and whites of the manosphere ideology come out.

In one of my most read blog posts, The Single Mom Dating Dilemma, parts of the manosphere pursue unapproachable extremes when it comes to the type of women you MUST have in your life.

Exaggerated at times, there are those who DEMAND you only date virgins in their early 20’s and as they age and the more the world pierces them, the lower quality they become.

The manosphere tends to skew to the ideological outliers when it comes to getting men to ONLY choose women who haven’t been “tainted” with promiscuity or feminism.

Single motherhood is frowned upon, even as I write in my own experiences that I’ve seen the opposite from good, upstanding single moms who I’ve dated.

But there are BAD single moms, but not all single moms are BAD.

There are BAD older women, but not all older women are BAD.

THAT’S the difference here.

My job, as I’ve tried to show, is to portray an accurate picture of the dating world and what I’ve found using inter-gender tropes, for the most part, has helped me avoid the bad women. But there are still too many guys who go to the same well when it comes to judging all women as bad if they fit into a certain category.

This particular blog will help to tackle one of the biggest tropes out there that, just like single motherhood, is trying to paint with a broad brush a picture of women that isn’t entirely true and has too much nuance to be so black and white.

Yep, the dreaded WALL.

Walls

The wall, coined in Rollo Tomassi’s excellent book, The Rational Male, is the point when a woman’s SMV (sexual market value) starts to decline. And depending on how a woman used her “party years”, her wall may come earlier than other women. As I call it, a woman who’s been “rode hard and put away wet” has a tendency to hit the wall much sooner than women who don’t.

SMV Chart – Credit “The Rational Male” by Rollo Tomassi

This chart, while valuable in it’s analysis of the analytics of gender sexual value, can be read to tell me to avoid older women, simply because of their age.

And the problem is, in most things, is that this is theory. Practice, generally, yields different results.

An example, men are told they generally should avoid older women. Why? The main driver? Procreation and attractiveness.

Men’s sole drive in sex is to reproduce. It’s what has been programmed into us over millennia. Our job is to procreate. That’s the bottom line.

And, as we know, women’s biological functions have an expiration date. As they get older, their ability to have kids falters. This is a fact.

And, younger women tend to be more attractive. As women age, they show it, that’s biology as well. As men age, we get more attractive. This is the way it’s set up and we can’t well argue with any of it.

I’m not here to disprove any aspect of Rollo’s or anyone else’s work, as I believe it’s valuable for giving men a picture of why SMV and inter-gender dynamics work. It’s a very needed piece of the manosphere because it raises men’s awareness of the biological differences between men and women.

But I want to show what I’ve found, dealing with these concepts on a daily basis in my dating life, and the realities of what happens when theories are placed against the real world.

The Woman You Want Depends On The Man You Are

The manosphere is right. If you are a man that wants to have kids, you should go with a younger woman.

And also, by the numbers, the younger the woman, the less she’s been exposed to heaux life and had multiple partners.

But, as I’ve said, many times, age does not correlate to hoedom, nor does the younger woman equate to the perfect wife.

Are we selling men on the mindless Stepford wives myth where they expect to field a virgin, early 20 year old who exists to only serve him?

Women are much more dynamic these days and with the advent of birth control and the Sexual Revolution, women have been exposed to decades of feminism and its ideals. You aren’t going to find the “untouched” nuggets save for a religiously isolated group or other such nonsense that hasn’t been hit by societal upheaval breaking towards feminism.

Here’s the deal: If I was looking to have more kids, I would choose a younger woman. But that wouldn’t be the only aspect that I would consider. I’m not dominant. I don’t want a submissive woman. I want a woman who’s strong enough on her own to match my dynamic.

But what happens if you are an older man who doesn’t want kids or already has them?

The majority of younger women I’ve dated (from 23 – 35) were fine, but they weren’t on my wavelength in terms of the maturity factor. It’s fine to date them, and I encourage men to date all ages of women to see what works for them, but in MY case, I have found that dating a woman closer to my own age (44) has been a good thing.

There are exceptions and grey areas all over the place for the wall.

What if a woman takes care of herself into her 40’s and is in better shape that she was earlier on?

What if a woman only has 1 or 2 sexual partners her whole life? (Yes guys, they do exist.)

I don’t want the manosphere to push a man to make a decision based on age alone, because while a young woman is wonderful to date, the age gap and maturity issues can be an issue. Try listening to Steely Dan’s “Hey 19” and you’ll understand.

I’m also not saying that older women harping on men for picking up younger women is right either. Men have a right to choose who gets to be in their life, and age should neither fast track nor disqualify any woman. If a man finds a woman younger than him, in many cases 15-20 years younger, good for him, that’s a personal choice that factors in many different things, including kids, that he has every right to take into account.

In a time where the personal preference of women for men has taken a back seat to broad-ranging narratives on how men should choose a potential mate, with age and single motherhood being primary disqualifiers, the bottom line is it’s ultimately up to the man to make those choices. They must make them being educated and well versed in all the pitfalls and benefits, as well as knowing who he is to help him weed out potential bad seeds and hoes.

Dating women who are younger or older isn’t a science, and each comes with its share of issues and benefits.

But pushing recently unplugged men into “and/or” narratives doesn’t educate him, it only forces him to not think for himself and use tired platitudes that some of the man pundits parrot nauseatingly often to a tune of group-think ideologies that the manosphere was created to get away from.

In general, stop saying “don’t date older women” or “don’t date single mothers” because men will treat both with disdain when many of them are perfectly fine and will enhance a man’s life.

Pointing out bad actors in a group by using a broad brush to paint with is what the manosphere is trying to get away from, because feminism paints us with the same broad brush. We’re “misogynists” even if we very clearly aren’t, because the heavy lifting needed to show that we are different is too hard for feminist elites to take.

It’s easier to demonize a whole group than think that maybe the ideologues in each group are whipping up resentment unfairly. And yes, I do the same thing when I reference feminism, but I’ve yet to meet a good feminist. 🙂

“If You Like Her, Date Her.”

Platitudes can be good, but they can also be cancerous.

The manosphere should prepare men by giving them the information they need to make an informed decision on what woman he should have in his life, not point out groups of women to avoid because the bad actors take all the headlines and overshadow the really good, solid women who are single mothers, older, and take care of themselves both physically and mentally.

There are women who didn’t succumb to the feminist narrative, living well into their 30’s and 40’s and taking on the challenges of being your “Ride or Die.” They are beautiful souls who don’t believe the crap, made good choices in their lives, and recognize that if they did make mistakes, they took responsibility for those mistakes.

A woman, regardless of age, who owns her situation, is a woman that is miles ahead of the feminist lapdogs who blame men and their perceived toxicity for everything that has befallen them.

Her age doesn’t matter if she enhances you in the right ways. If she’s loyal, supportive, sexy, attractive, funny, wise, and sharpens your steel so to speak, you, as the man, should be able to tell what works for you and doesn’t.

I’ve seen many a man follow the manosphere advice of no older women and fall into a trap of being with someone who doesn’t gel with him.

“But at least she’s young and attractive. Just because we don’t have a ton in common, doesn’t mean she’s not for me.”

She can be older and be just as hot. And her attitude, personality, maturity can be just as attractive to a man looking for just that.

If a younger woman works for you, go for it. But as a man, your job is to run your life, and if someone wants to be a part of that, you have to vet and make sure she has a place in it. Her job is to support you, be there for you, and have a connection that transcends everything else. A teammate to help you conquer the world, not just make babies with no other connections.

Gentlemen, regardless of age or single motherhood, it is ultimately on YOU to choose the right woman for you.

This is what the manosphere is trying to do. And certainly what I’m trying to do.

We educate you on the realities of dating, all while showing you the analytics of the world of women. It’s all valuable data that should help a man make a good choice in a partner.

We educate you to date around, have a good time in a responsible manner, and if you ever want to settle down, give you a basis for how to do that.

We educate you on the good and bad of women who are older. It’s a personal preference for many men, and most importantly, it’s not about their age but about their attitudes.

We educate you on choosing a woman based on age because if you want kids, an older woman will probably not be a good choice.

We educate you on dating around to see what preferences you like, and many men, especially in the manosphere, are dating or married to women close to their age with no issues at all.

It’s about finding a partner for your purpose.

Men, take it from me. There are a ton of sexy, attractive, intelligent, loyal, dynamic, nurturing, fit, and incredible women in their 40’s to date.

I should know, because I’m dating an amazing one.

Rise

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

5 months ago, as 2020 was turning into the dumpster fire we see today, I made a decision that would change my life.

I decided to change my life.

I had been tripping around America for almost a year, meeting new people and wonderful women, exploring, going on excursions to new cities by myself, enjoying the new life that I had yearned for for so long.

But a funny thing happened as I was doing this…

I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Not in terms of location, mind you. I saw much of the US that I’d never seen and was doing it alone, for the first time in my life.

But the base, the home, the foundation of myself wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

I was making major strides with women, a weakness I had vowed to correct. My game was getting better, and I was meeting and enjoying beautiful women all over the country.

I had met the men of FoE and forged tighter bonds with them.

I had met Twitter people who became friends and more. Great folks who I truly thank for having in my life.

New things started occurring when I came back from my last trip. And no, it wasn’t COVID, but the timing was the same.

Hard Realizations

It was time for a good ol’ fashioned self imposed time out.

It was time to get the sectors of my life in order, starting with finances, fitness, mental health, my kids, and my home base.

This base to which I tethered to was not what it should have been. It was rotting from the inside out.

My finances were suffering, I was increasing my debt after I had just spent 3 years whittling it down from $75,000 to just under $23,000. But I was racking up credit card debt with my traveling, wining and dining women, and spending money on meetups with new friends. Something had to give, and it was my wallet.

I had never fully committed to doing all I could to get my debt down. I had hoped I could just wing it by half-assing it, and it didn’t work.

The debt principles I’ve lived with my whole life were being ignored in the pursuit of a good time, and while I had a lot (a whole lot) of fun, when I got back to see the receipts I was writing checks my ass couldn’t cash.

My kids were suffering from my absence. My oldest daughter had a panic attack in November and was going through the teenage angst a bit early, and with me not there to help her, it was left to her mother, who tried her damnedest to carry it, but ultimately couldn’t. She needed her dad. She needed the calming presence that I had become to her, but I was gone a lot. She couldn’t keep it in line.

We ended up having to work with my daughter in therapy, and had I not been here for any of that, I don’t think she would be where she is now. But more on that later.

My home was being neglected. For four years I’ve lived here and not once have I made an effort to really take back control of my house. Landscaping, keeping it clean, minor repairs, all left undone while I tromped around not caring if they ever did get done. I didn’t have a nice place that I could call my home, it was a pit where I threw my shit in between airport visits.

My work was suffering. As an owner of a small business, I had to step away time and time again, leaving others to handle issues that should have been handled by me. Important, company changing issues that need my attention. It was only after COVID hit that I understood the scope of what my company was dealing with, and if I wasn’t there to face it with the other owners and employees head on, let’s just say we’d be on thin ice.

And finally, my mental health needed a reset. I was constantly traveling, driving, eating out, staying in Airbnbs and hotels, all over the place. I was tired, burning the candle at both ends at times, meeting new people but never having time to really get myself right. Vacations weren’t vacations, and it was becoming difficult to balance it all.

So, against everything inside of me that was saying keep going, let the world sort itself out, I stopped and held up. I was planning trips for April, May and June, and then COVID hit. I still could’ve gone, I thought. Rack up some more debt but then be done and take the winter to catch up.

Wasn’t happening. Not even close.

Presence Required

When COVID hit in March, the uncertainty of it all hit my life like a ton of bricks. My business started to suffer due to closures of customers, trucks backed up, and we were left to scramble to figure out what to do. Had I not been there, I don’t know what would’ve happened. But the team all got together and after having to furlough several employees and part ways with a couple of others, we had stabilized in May. Small business has been kicked in the nuts during this pandemic for sure, and my team made it happen.

My daughter, after having multiple panic attacks and increased anxiety, went to intense therapy with me at her side. It was a struggle at first as she did not want to talk about what she was going through, but with our family together again, my ex and I co-parenting strongly with my presence there, she started to improve little by little. She was put on medication after seeing what a small dose did to improve her mood. She was put on the same medicine I am on, Zoloft, and we’ve seen her life improve this summer and do a complete 180 in terms of her outlooks on life.

My attendance in her life at this crucial moment was imperative. She needed the calm, guiding, levelheadedness that I provided, as well as her mother’s staunch work to keep her calm. Our whole family came together and broke through. It would not have happened unless I hit the reset button.

After gaining 15 lbs over my travels, I had to take care of my fitness once and for all. I hired a personal trainer to help me get to my goal, life goal of 15% body fat. I knew I was headed back down a road I didn’t want to go to, and while in decent shape, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So I dropped everything and started to seriously take my fitness into account. I threw out all the old, bad food. I started getting to sleep at 9-10pm instead of 1-2am. I had already stopped drinking, but I took more steps to remove bad food from my life. No more eating out at fast food, no more carbs. The time to fuck around had passed.

And with that, I decided to completely renovate the outside of my house. I started by tearing out all the old landscaping and redid the entirety of my home in new mulch, landscaping guard, and decor. New hose reels, siding repairs, wood trim replacement, chairs, tables, and power washing. I was determined to get control of my home again.

My debt needed to be reigned in. I cancelled all credit cards except my business one. I started to throw entire paychecks at my bank debt from my divorce. I then chewed through my credit card debt. Knocking out over $14,000 in just 4 months, I currently sit (as of this blog post) at $8000 left to pay my ex-wife for my settlement. And I’m not looking back.

All of this combined has improved my mental health. I joined a men’s group to continue to improve my mind as well as help other men try to work on their lives. My home, now handled, became a place of peace, where I could work and live without stress. As of this writing, I’m sitting on my improved back porch typing, with everything cleaned, fixed, and improved.

The Goal

So what’s the point of this self imposed exile?

It was and always has been about getting better.

When you feel like you’re the best you can be, you don’t see that there are ALWAYS areas you can improve.

My whole life has been 75%. I would do up to about 3/4 of the improvement then stop and do something else.

Not this time.

This time, I will see it through. This is my future. I’m trying to shape my life the way I want it, and half to 3/4 ass isn’t going to cut it.

It’s time to stop playing games and start pushing through the tough bits to get to where I want to be.

Debt free except the house.

15% body fat.

Stress reduced living.

Making moves in my side hustle.

Continuing to help men get through their lives.

Monk mode is needed for you to get better.

Take the time to work on yourself with no distractions, no apologies, and no bullshit.

You have the keys to it, you just have to cut out the meaningless crap to get through it.

And it never stops.

My self imposed exile will end at the end of this year. At that time, I will have:

  • Lost almost 100 lbs
  • Paid off over $75,000 of debt
  • Created a safe, healthy mental environment for myself and my family
  • Made my home a better place to live

All of this to take off into 2021. Regardless of what happens, I’ll know that the steps I took this year put me ahead for good, and I’m not looking back.

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.

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.

The Chasm

Photo Credit: Suicide in Judaism

Four years ago this week, one of my good friends from college ended his life.

He was having a huge custody dispute with his ex-wife after she cheated on him with one of his friends. He was fighting for visitation rights for his two kids after he and his ex got into a fight and he was arrested and slapped with a restraining order. He had struggled for over a year with the divorce proceedings, losing his cool time and time again and seeing less and less of his kids.

So, the great equalizer, so he thought, was breaking in to his ex-wife’s apartment on a cold December Sunday and blowing his brains out in her dining room.

I can’t be sure of why he acted with such horrendous judgement. I can’t be sure that he was tired of the process and had no where to turn. He was alone, fighting for his kids, and getting kicked and punched in a metaphorical sense by the courts and his ex, so it seems plausible. He was looking for a symbolic gesture, the ultimate “fuck you” to his ex. I can’t put myself in his situation, although I’ve seen similar things happen to men, but I can’t possible fathom what he was thinking that terrible Sunday.

The story that seems to stick from his family and friends is that he was going to “make an example to his ex”.

What ended up happening was nothing like he planned.

His ex, after the initial shock, quietly called the police, had them clean up the mess, fake mourned with the kids, and resumed her life. Everything this horribly symbolic gesture he thought was supposed to get out of her, regret, sadness, misery, being lost, pining for him to come back, didn’t transpire. She cashed the life insurance check, went to the funeral, and then went on with her life.

That’s cold shit. But it’s also fucking reality.

The bottom line in this sad situation is that the only people affected by his selfish act were his kids, who don’t have a dad anymore, and his family, who are without a brother, uncle, and son.

The harsh truth: His ex didn’t give a flying fuck about his death.

His family has suffered for years this time of year because he decided to make a life ending decision. Instead of a holiday filled with happy times with him, his family mourns every year over the loss of this man.

And there lies the crux of why men are doing these terrible things to themselves.

Suicide in the United States is quickly becoming an epidemic. 7 out of 10 suicides are men. These men are similar in mindset to my friend. They feel they have to struggle with life’s problems alone, lest they be ridiculed and made to feel inferior for not dealing with their problems “like a man”. These men don’t go to therapy, as they think it makes them look weak, won’t solve their problems, or is a taboo brought down by other men who “have their lives together.” Society in general wants men to grow up and deal with their problems, but they give them absolutely no road map on how to accomplish that.

I’m sure, never in his wildest fantasies about his suicide, would he have imagined his ex coming in, taking a mop and bucket to his mess, wiping the walls with a wash cloth, and moving on with her life. Raw, isn’t it? It’s a messed up situation that he was hoping would end in his ex crying on his remains. But his story, just like all the others, ends the same. He’s not here anymore by his own hand. A selfish act intended to make a huge point ends up only costing some drywall, carpet, and bleach.

The chasm, or the breach that he was looking into, was one of symbolism, pain, hardship, and hopelessness that many men face everyday. But the issue here that I’m getting at is what they think they are doing by sacrificing their lives for some unknown principle, belief, or slight against someone, doesn’t even affect that person most of the time.

Men who feel they have no where to turn will often take their own lives because they lack any sort of out for their overwhelming feelings of depression. Many don’t want to go to therapy, join a men’s group, or talk to a religious leader because they fear they will look weak, be ridiculed, or have their dirty laundry aired to the congregation during Sunday brunch.

So they double down on doing the things they were doing that weren’t working to get out of the hole they’re in. Their feelings of potential embarrassment about being “broken” or needing help override their very real need to seek out professional or group help.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

As I write this, I think about my own denial about getting help for my issues, until I actually broke down and went to a therapist. While therapy is STILL to this day looked down upon as being weak for men to do by society, it was the greatest thing that I have ever done. Not only did it help me get out of a tailspin of a marriage, it also got me my life back. It got me through the depression and rock bottom parts of my divorce where I was contemplating doing the same damn thing my friend did 4 years ago.

I got help, and I’m here today to tell men once again that getting help from someone, any one, will save your lives. But you have to reach out. Trust me, the help is there. I’ve found a men’s fraternity that has given me new life and more help than I could ever imagine. These new fraternities or men’s groups have the potential to help men so much. Therapy and talking to a neutral party can help a man get out the shit that’s weighing him down and making him suffer. The times are changing, but men’s problems are still the same. There are many outlets for you to grow and get better, but it starts with you getting over the idea that you, yourself, can get out of this mess. If you could, you wouldn’t be in it any more.

The chasm that many men face is too daunting, too difficult, too dark to try and traverse. So they give up and fall in. What they don’t see, what they never see, is the bridge just off in the distance, or the chasm closing a few miles down, or the path down the chasm that takes them to the other side with a little bit of work. Their vantage point is one of hopelessness, only seeing where they are standing at that point in time, looking down at their feet and the endless below. They can’t see, or perhaps don’t want to see, the whole picture because it doesn’t fit in their narration of how their life tragically ends. They put an emphatic period on their story by falling into the chasm without even stopping to think who it will affect, how, and why.

She Doesn’t Care

This brings me to the other issue of this blog post, that of the why. Many, many men commit suicide over a woman in their life. They see that she’s cheated on them, so just like my friend, their great equalizer is supposed to be a tragic death throe as their ex dives at them in horror at what they’ve done.

Let me be blunt guys.

The only women that you’re hurting when you pull the trigger are the women in your family. They’ve lost a son because he couldn’t get over a girl who easily got over him. Your sacrifice doesn’t mean SHIT to any girl that you feel it will. Your ex-wife or girlfriend doesn’t care about you killing yourself because of her. She’s already rid of you and all you’ve done is pointlessly, selfishly, ended your life to see what she’ll do.

You won’t fucking see it because you’ll be DEAD.

Many men don’t think any of this through when jaded by a lover or ex.

They just pull the trigger.

The pain of your loss won’t be felt by anyone except those that love you. You are selfishly stealing years away from them because you can’t handle the fact that a woman cheated on you, or left you. This is where you precisely need to “man up”.

Go to therapy, unplug and take control of your life instead of letting a woman with no interest make you do terrible things to yourself.

Crossing the Chasm

I miss my friend. I miss him every day. I miss him even more now knowing that I didn’t reach out like I should have, but even if I had, I don’t think he would’ve taken my help. What can men do to help? What can men do who are struggling? How can they cross the chasm?

I will recommend to men exactly what I did.

First, recognize you have a problem and you can’t solve said problem without help. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to reach out if you’re struggling. How will you overcome obstacles if you don’t have help?

I think of it like my Spartan career. When I trifecta’d in 2016, I needed a team of people to help me overcome obstacles. Sure, the ones I did alone made me feel like a bad ass, but still, I needed help with a wall, the rope climb, or a traverse wall, I had to have another man help me out. No shame in admitting that, nor is there shame in accepting the help. I still got my medal and my t-shirt, and I did it with teamwork. The same goes the other way. You can help others who need it by reaching out and asking them how they truly are, how their life is going, and where their hangups are.

Men have to realize that ANY chasm is not an impossible task. There are bridges, other people, and choke points that will get you across. You just have to believe. Just like lack of belief is strong in determining if a man will take his own life, the reverse can help save it. If a man knows there are ways out of his situation, he will be more willing to trudge on and fight. It’s when that belief doesn’t exist that he will spiral down into telling himself it’s hopeless.

It’s not hopeless, gentlemen.

It’s never hopeless.

I’m a shining example of what can be done if you truly reach out for help. I’ve only gained in my masculinity and my manhood by asking other men to help me achieve things in my own life.

Guys, if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression in your life, the first thing you have to do is recognize the problem. The second thing you need to do is seek help from either a therapist, religious leader, or a men’s group of like minded men. The third? Action.

These things alone will help pull you from the chasm and get your life back on track. But be prepared to understand that it’s still on YOU and that you must take these steps to get your life back. The men can help you on the path, but you still have to take the steps to make it happen. Accountability and tough love are in for you, because you aren’t special, your problems are the problems of many other men, and a greater man can overcome these problems with relative ease compared to you.

You can’t just float and hope the wind blows. You still have to take positive, real ACTION for your life to get better. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will always be. But the sooner you take action to pull yourself away from the chasm, the quicker your life will become a special work of art that has meaning to you again.

Guys, suicide and depression are real problems. I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist. But you have to reach out and get help. You have to accept you have a problem, you have to accept that you need help, and you have to accept the action needed to be taken by you to get past this.

Don’t be a statistic like my friend. I miss him every day. His family misses him. He took his life because of issues he couldn’t get over. He didn’t ask for help. He is no longer here. Please, please reach out for help.

My DM’s are always open on Twitter. My email is bubonicplague7@gmail.com. Reach out for help. I’m here for you.