I can’t begin to sum up what’s happened over the last year. Between losing my father, my struggles with other issues, it’s been rocky.
With all that has occurred, the biggest thing that has suffered, and most often suffers with single people in my position, is my social life.
It started back when my sobriety started, some 4 years ago, when I distanced myself from my local buddies, college friends, and social acquaintances. I moved away from social time locally here in my state to online. I met friends on Twitter (now X), joined the Fraternity of Excellence, gained new and improved friends all over the map. I even cultivated dates and relationships in my new found groups.
The relationships were always long distance, as I hadn’t done anything locally for years to grow social circles. And the relationships always failed, because they can’t surpass the challenges of that distance. Someone has to move, and I couldn’t. I needed a break. A break from doing dumb shit.
Instead of diving back into the pool, I paused. Rather than pursue another heartbreak, I stopped pursuing. Instead of blindly trying to meet women wherever they were, I pulled back. I caught my breath and looked at what I was doing.
Has this pause been self induced? I could say yes or no. I haven’t dated in two years since my last breakup, a relationship that should never have gone anywhere, but my delusional mind thought that this was the long distance relationship that would work (hint: it never works). I had love-bombed this woman on top of everything else. And an intervention in my fraternity shook me to the fact that I had things in my life that needed addressing, especially when it came to dating and relationships. But then again, I haven’t expelled the effort needed to “get back out there”, merely opting for excuses as to why I couldn’t, or in this case wouldn’t, pulling every reason out of the book to not go back out and meet new people.
As with every other article I’ve written about taking a self sabbatical, every time I’ve withdrawn to “monk mode”, every time I’ve called a time out to “get myself together”, I’ve stayed on the sidelines, hoping for the right moment to jump back into the game, only to see the season’s over.
There’s a point where monk mode becomes an array of excuses, a point where MGTOW becomes a cage of your own making, all because you don’t want to get hurt again. All because you’re scared to put yourself out there, because you value judgements of people who have no impact on your life.
This is the ultimate comfort zone for people. “Working on yourself”. I’ve been there for two years, waiting for the train to slow down so I could jump on it.
It doesn’t slow down. You have to jump and take a risk.
But for us risk averse individuals, this could be as daunting as staring down a river full of rapids that could potentially kill you.
And so the pause button keeps getting hit, because you don’t want to see what happens next.
I think it was Alex Hermozi who said “The pain of staying where you are has to be greater than the pain of making a change. Only then will you make a move.”
And it’s true.
This is not saying that the major life events that I’ve experienced in the past two years should have been ignored. They obviously played a role in my decision to put my social life on hold. My company needs me to be front and center at all times. My kids need a strong, connected father. My family needs a patriarch. But imbedded in that role, is the role of a man who is looking for his significant other, and that needs air play as well.
So as the pain of staying where I was in this vice has been greater, I’ve been putting myself out there, albeit very slight. I joined a yoga studio. I’ve been more accepting of time with good friends. I’ve been working to find other activities to join where potential women that I want are present. It’s not just about meeting women, it’s also about meeting people, expanding connections, and growing my network.
And it’s not that I’ve not met any women, it’s that the women are not the women I want. So I have to change my strategies and get out there to experience all that life has to offer, even while gritting my teeth to get through the struggles I still endure.
Personal strength is the ultimate multi-task. You have to try shit you don’t want to to meet people you would potentially like to date. It signifies squirming and exhaling to get yourself through the toughest parts. That on the other side of that sick feeling in your stomach is the promised land you so desperately want in your life.
So that for me means more yoga sessions with people I don’t know. That means looking at dance classes, cooking classes, and self defense classes. Church? Maybe, but I’m not ready to cross that bridge.
It means growing my expertise while I’m growing my circle.
The pause means nothing if you do nothing during it. The pause isn’t a pause if you wait too long to make a move. The pause is meaningless if you don’t take advantage and help yourself.
I’m most certainly further and better than I was two years ago. Did it have to take two years? Most certainly it did not.
The pause button is there for you to press if you want a break, collect your thoughts, absorb what you’ve learned. It’s meant to be momentary, not forever. That’s what the stop button is for.
So, my new goal is to unpause, hit the play button, and see what happens.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Atticus Finch
One of my favorite books of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird.
Harper Lee’s classic is still taught in schools today, and resembles a very hard look at how we used to be as Americans concerning race. So many threads permeate this book, including perceptions, perspectives and how to listen to them, the socioeconomic toll of racism, the dangers of not thinking critically, and many others.
For this particular blog post, I’m going to be looking at the most popular character of this book and what he stands for. I am going to examine the masculinity crux of what Atticus Finch represents in terms of what makes a man masculine. Does might make right? Does mindset determine what makes a man a man? I will be using historical references, especially Rome (because it’s me) and discussing why “alpha and beta are contextual” (as Rollo has stated) and a one size fits all attempt to box in masculinity will only leave men with more questions.
There is a steady thread in this book that truly defines Atticus as masculine, even if he comes off in the book as a “Beta”, as many men have stated he does.
Atticus is a lightning rod for debate and has been co-opted by several movements seeing themselves as the group he was fighting for in the book. But I believe not only has he been unfairly ridiculed and chastised, he has also been unfairly propped up for being a symbol of other movements that he would not agree with.
For the time, he was a new type of man that had never really been seen before, or as Rome dubbed any man who was the first in his household to be in the Senate, novus homo, or “new man”. A man who wasn’t about brute force but about brute will. Yet a man that more than likely couldn’t win a fight, too weak to punch back, and too timid to step forward.
He is many times seen as “weak”. He doesn’t fight back when confronted with violence. His supposed weakness in allowing his kids to be attacked in a situation where he was powerless. His dealings with the gang trying to lynch Tom Robinson, etc.
He is called into account on several occasion and he doesn’t respond the way a “typical” man would.
Also, remember that Atticus’s behavior is seen through the eyes of Scout, so we have to take into account these things are filtering in through her perspective.
So what’s the rub here? Is Atticus Finch, one of the central characters in this book, a weak man? Or can we see that his actions indicate a man of integrity, honesty, and truth?
I won’t try to answer any of these questions. This essay is being written to simply have the discussion about what makes a man masculine, why might may make right or not, and why, while violence is the ultimate yes or no answer, it’s not so black and white and as we have seen throughout history, non-violence has moved mountains that the strongest man couldn’t move.
As with everything, there is nuance that needs to be addressed here, and my job is to facilitate discussion over a man who has stood for so much, yet been chastised for it as well. Yes, I tend to agree that he is very masculine, in fact more masculine than the biggest fighter or strongest warrior, simply because his will is iron, and his convictions are his weapons.
It also raises questions about other male characters in the story, like Boo Radley, and what they would be considered in terms of masculinity. I love exploring this subject and anything I can do to talk about one of my favorite books is always a welcomed task.
Atticus is much maligned for being a weak individual. He doesn’t fight, doesn’t brag, doesn’t get upset, very rarely raises his voice, and generally lets men stronger than him do the work. With Miss Maudie’s house, when it catches fire, he doesn’t help very much, with Tim Johnson where he consistently swears off wanting his kids to see him use a rifle, to being powerless when Bob Ewell attacks his kids. His kids see his discipline as passive, and he reads instead of being active.
He doesn’t retaliate when he’s spit on by Ewell. He doesn’t get upset with his children when they disobey him. He’s much too even keeled to have an effect on a situation, and he consistently blames his age or his weakness on things that he can’t do.
Especially in the first few chapters, he is what many in the sphere is the quintessential “beta”, a man who is weak physically, avoids certain situations, and doesn’t take control. From the perspective of Scout, Atticus could very well be seen this way, and what’s great about the book is that as it goes on, Scout’s perception becomes different as Atticus reveals more of who he is.
In the book, Atticus Finch is a lawyer, father, and state representative in the Alabama congress. He is an older man, having had his kids later in life and having lost his wife, Atticus, along with his house keeper Calpurnia, raise Jem and Scout (and sometimes Dil).
The first questions arise with every interaction Scout has with Atticus. Is he a masculine man?
Atticus, in many ways, is very stoic. He is a part manifestation of what Marcus Aurelius would have been, and we’ll be talking about Marcus later as well. He doesn’t raise his voice to his kids, in fact, his parenting style is seen as disapproved by the other townspeople, as well as his sister, Alexandra. He raises his kids in a very masculine way, simply because he is very straight forward, direct, but not necessarily too strict. He understands his masculine fatherhood has an effect on Scout and he brings in Alexandra towards the end of the book to help raise Scout to be a “proper girl.” Atticus believes in education, he is well read as are his children (sometimes socially to their own detriment), and his ways are not questioned to his face, even when his sister tries to gain some control over the house, he quietly places his boundaries.
If you have read this classic, you’ll know that several times in the book, Atticus tends to downplay his talents, his role to his kids. Scout and Jem many times ask what the hell their father does, whether anything he does means he’s a man, let alone a strong man, and for several chapters, question if what he does as an attorney, as a state representative (as they hadn’t seen anything else), and as the story unfolds, they slowly discover the type of man Atticus is. His masculinity is put into question early and often by Scout and Jem as they discuss what he does. The scene with Atticus and Tim Johnson (the rabid dog) gives his kids a glimpse of what kind of a man he is, and witnessing Atticus (who is known as the best shot in the county) changes Jem dramatically. He begins to truly respect his father and sees exactly what he does. Atticus’s actions through the rest of the book only galvanize Jem’s respect for him.
Through their interactions with him, they discover their father is a man of character, a man of honor, and a man of immense courage. The interactions with the gang trying to lynch Tom Robinson, and the bravery that Atticus exudes when faced with potential violence, even potentially sacrificing himself to protect Tom. The example I can think of is Ghandi, who’s use of non-violence changed India and granted them independence from Britain. Britain, just like the gang, could have used violence to get what they wanted. However, the cost of that violence would have cost them more than they could have imagined. Ghandi’s death at the hands of the British, just like if Atticus had been killed or beaten by the mob, would have done greater damage to the situation. Many of these men were Atticus’s friends and acquaintances, he knew these men. He knew their families, and with his kids by his side, he faced down the mob and won.
It was the same when confronted with Bob Ewell. Atticus was confronted by Bob Ewell because he had the temerity to defend Tom against a dishonest attack. As we see many times in the novel, Bob Ewell is the anti to Atticus’s pro.
Atticus Finch isn’t going to overpower anyone with violence. He’s powerless in the one part of the story where lethal violence is attempted. Boo Radley, on the other hand, was the one who used violence to stop Bob Ewell and help save Atticus’s kids. But he is a recluse, and we only ever meet him once, while he stays in the background until he is needed to save the day.
And let’s not forget the crux of Atticus in the story, that of standing up to racial bigotry. That alone qualifies him as masculine. He stood, alone many times, for something he believed in, through threats of violence and bullying, to try to defend Tom Robinson.
Ultimately, a man’s masculinity is determined by what he stands for, how he stands for it, and how he carries himself in pursuit of it. And even in the face of death, a man standing for something he believes in ultimately is the purest form of masculine power.
I love to do historical comparisons of fictional characters because it makes me very happy to try and draw lines on strengths and weaknesses that these two groups of people have. And what better way to compare than with Rome.
Atticus reminds me a ton of two famous Roman Emperors, Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. He really falls in line with Augustus, who we have historical records on as being very weak and sickly. Augustus however, while lacking in physical strength, had incredible charisma, as well as strategic and political powers that were well above the average. He maneuvered his way through tough Roman politics and faced down enemies with ruthless efficiency. But, he could not have done what he did had it not be for Marcus Agrippa. He provided the brawn to Augustus’s brains. Augustus would certainly not have had the long reign he had were it not for the army he controlled. But also, remember, in order to control the armies, you have to earn their respect. And Augustus did this in spades, through his portrayal as the “princeps” or “first citizen”. His charisma made him larger than life. Without that, Augustus would never have graduated from Octavian.
Marcus Aurelius is another comparison, simply because “the philosopher emperor” is such a huge draw for men studying stoicism and the effects he has one it. Truly, Atticus is just trying to live his life, do his job, and be magnanimous in his dealings. Marcus could fight sure, but his strength was in his command, as well as his philosophy. He commanded armies because of his calm, steady, and even handed leadership.
What’s funny about history, is that many of the most powerful men in it’s annals haven’t been able to be physically gifted or had the ability to fight well. Look across the spectrum and you’ll see even the most powerful men like Genghis Khan, Mao, and Napoleon were not your typical warriors, had to make deals with other tribes /leaders / countries, and couldn’t overpower enemies unless they had cunning, skill, and ruthlessness.
None of the men in “To Kill A Mockingbird” are overwhelmingly what would be called “masculine”. I think Lee goes out of her way to make that very apparent. She draws her masculine through the eyes of Scout, and Scout’s prism filters even very tough, masculine men with a hint of subtlety, bringing out their feminine sides.
At the beginning of the story, the weak are supposed to be Atticus and Boo, but in the end, it’s those two that make the story through their actions. Atticus with his iron will, and Boo with his timing and humility. It’s not enough to just be strong to be masculine. And I think Lee makes this very apparent. The crescendo of how these two men go from perceived weak to perceived strong with respect is always a funny arc that Lee paints.
In conclusion, would Atticus be compared to our most masculine men these days? Would he be a Jordan Peterson, Scott Adams, or would he be a Donald Trump, a Joe Biden, a Vladimir Putin, etc?
I leave that for you to ponder and discuss.
In my mind, Atticus makes up for his physical weakness by his almost indomitable will. He stands for what he stands for, because he believes it to be right, and men have shaped worlds with that attitude. Yes, violence is the ultimate answer, but charismatic, directed violence, as well as a unrestrained strength in the face of it, is also an answer, and more often than not, especially in the historical references, men who have the capability for violence are merely pawns in the chess game of men who understand the importance of violence as an answer, but also the importance of a strong will.
Without the will, violence is just violence. With the will, violence and even non-violence become much more effective tools.
Violence can only answer true or false questions in a world full of multiple choice, and as Atticus showed us, he can be threatened with absolute violence and still come out ahead in the end.
There were times I chose to stay away from the crown, yet the crown was always, at some point, placed on my head.
There were also times that I wanted the crown, but I didn’t get it. So I went after it.
This natural move towards leadership for me started very early. My father was a leader of men, a man who has inspired me to be the person I am today. Throughout his life, he has been a business leader, entrepreneur and while his management style left a ton to be desired, leadership found him, again and again, until one day, he took the crown and never looked back.
And heavy was that crown. I saw how leadership and the responsibility behind it affected my father, because when the shit hit the fan, he had to clean it up. It took it’s toll. He struggled with other parts of his life because he did prioritize his business life and career first. Every time he tried to turn it down, it still came for him, and so, this was his role in life.
I didn’t realize the burden he had to shoulder until one day, after I had agreed to work for him in 1998, he sat me down and showed me all he was responsible for.
It blew my fucking mind.
He had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Not only his family, but his friends, the people he hired at his business, his business partners, his carriers, his customers, EVERYTHING.
He had a list he wrote out to me very early on of 25 things that he had to remember every week for his business to succeed. I keep this list, now 25 years old, on my desk in plain sight every day. It’s a testament to his leadership style, and while it could be rough, he’s been successful in everything he’s done.
I always wondered why my father was in a bad mood most days. It’s because of what he had to shoulder.
I never understood it until I took over for him after he retired. It’s a tough burden to bear, but one that he bore for over 35 years. I used to be so critical of him because I just didn’t get what he was doing. It wasn’t sinking in, but finally did when I took the helm. And fuck was it hard.
You don’t sleep well, knowing you’ve got people counting on you to show up.
You always fret, because you’re not sure about all the unknowns.
Your setbacks could be fatal to the business.
You are always on. ALWAYS.
Too many folks want to be a leader without the consequences of being a leader. It’s great to win on the battlefield, but remember there was a losing general.
Especially in business, leadership is vital to it’s success. And that means you have to be aware of everything, plan accordingly, and steward the ship through all the bad weather, as well as the sunny days.
You command those who respect you. You gain respect by being in the trenches with your people.
You command fealty through your ability to weather these storms.
My father was a tough boss, but he also led us through some very difficult times, because he knew what I didn’t know, and he acted on it. He saw the big picture.
This makes me look up to him all the more, and his example taught me what it meant to be a leader.
Leaders Are Made
My father had a hand in my life early on, in high school. His leadership in all areas of his life got me to take on leadership roles. The first real opportunity was in school.
There isn’t a more textbook example for how I became a leader of men but for my story of my band career, one my father supported whole heartedly.
I don’t have some legendary meteoric rise story to tell, it’s one where I was the band geek that decided that I wanted more.
In my early high school days, I was a fucking nerd. No doubt. I had not yet understood what it took to be a leader, hell, I didn’t even care to show up to school most days, but I got into marching band and music in general (playing the trombone) and found that I loved it.
I wasn’t a leader, wasn’t thinking about being one, but my natural attraction to music and being able to enjoy something besides video games got me hooked. And as naturally occurs, as I was enjoying what I was doing, I naturally attracted people to my banner, regardless of what it was, but I developed some friendships to where I was the pace setter. As I participated more in marching band, my leadership skills grew. I would run practices with my fellow trombones, and when my senior mentor got drum major her senior year, I took over the section with baritones, tubas, and trombones looking to me for leadership.
My senior year, my opportunity came up for drum major. It was a role I coveted, so I prepared long and hard for the interview. When the day came, I sat and thought I did extremely well. However, I didn’t get drum major. I mishandled one small answer that cost me the role, and I was pissed about it.
But, the missed opportunity provided me with motivation to be the best damn section leader ever.
So, rather than stew in my disappointment, I decided to step up. My father encouraged me to keep fighting, keep showing up, and keep being present. That’s how leaders are forged.
I would be the guy who got the band out for warm ups. I would be the guy who played the best, taught the newbies the best, and worked the hardest. I got a solo for one of our performance songs from “Les Misérables” and continued to work my ass off. It was to the point that I was outworking the drum major. I had a major grudge over not getting picked to be drum major, so I took that and pushed myself to be the leader I could be, and humbly not overshadowing the true leader.
The results I got blew me away. I became a part of 7 different performance groups (jazz band, pep band, concert band, marching band, symphonic band, orchestra, and musical pit orchestra), and led every damn last one. I was far from the shy nerdy guy in my freshman year, I was in command of my trade and owned every damn minute of it. I shot up in height, now at 6’4″ from 5’7″ in freshman year, and I was exuding confidence.
It resulted in a sweep in the band department awards that year, including the coveted John Phillip Sousa award for most outstanding band member. I was so happy, as my father looked on as I accepted the awards.
And I hadn’t been looking for any of it. As a dorky freshman, I was just going through the motions. But after I developed a true love for something and went after it.
The best part about all of this, is my father watched as I did it. He supported me in my endeavors and encouraged me. I love to tell this story because it truly was the first time I had taken command of something, anything, and my father got to see my growth into a man first hand.
5 Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned From My Father
The lessons I learned from my band days were lessons that continued to be given when I went to work for my father. And it was leadership school every damn day. Good or bad, class was in session when my father went to battle to try and build a business. He really taught me so many lessons that I take into everything I do today. They’re the usual leadership lessons, but he showed me in real time what these lessons mean to building and maintaining a business, a family, and a life.
And here are just a few of them I’ll share:
Leaders aren’t always popular
I’ve been called an asshole by many an employee over the years, and it’s one thing that I pride myself on. I don’t mean you HAVE to be a jerk ass to people, but sometimes, doing what’s right for your business and the people you are in charge of isn’t common knowledge, and you may have to make some decisions that won’t be popular. But if you aren’t looking out for your business or even yourself, what the hell are you even here for?
2. You will make mistakes.
You will be asked to make split second decisions and many of those decisions will be wrong. Your job is to minimize the risk and fallout from those decisions. It’s okay to be bold and take risks, but be very careful as you are playing with the livelihoods of people in your employ. They put their trust in you to lead and guide them. Stop playing with fire.
3. Trust your instincts
You are in the position of leader for a reason. You have earned the trust of people who are counting on you to make the decision. You have some skill, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be where you are. Trust your gut and make decisions based on what you feel is the right.
4. Choose your advisors wisely.
A leader cannot properly lead without trustworthy people around them. You must choose your advisors wisely. Look who’s been around you and has your best interests at heart, because they are inextricably tied to you and your success.
5. Stand up for your beliefs.
A leader will attract a following by being cemented in their beliefs. You operate with a set of values, morals, and convictions. Stay with them, even when everyone else is against you.
My father taught me so much about all of these lessons, by his own mistakes or by his own wins. Over the two decades I worked for him, I saw it all, I saw his struggles, I saw his triumphs, but all in all, I saw what he did to operate in a hostile environment, and it took balls of steel to do many of the things he did.
I’m sure he was scared at times, but he also stepped forward and forged his life, business, and world against some of the toughest things life can throw at you. And he did it many times, with a huge smile.
His influence on me as a leader can’t be discounted. I have no regrets having been with my father in both a family and professional setting for a quarter of a century. Much of what I’ve learned from him has been learned at the other end of an ass chewing, but he believed in himself so much, and got so frustrated when those who worked for him didn’t see his vision, that he would get upset.
But it’s because he cared so much for what he was doing.
A leader without heart isn’t a leader, they’re a pariah. He’s holding a chair for someone else, and you’re doomed to follow them to failure. A charismatic leader, someone who would do anything to help you find the way, even go into battle with you, is what you want.
And that was my father to a tee. There were days I cussed him under my breath, but there were other days I truly looked up to him, because I finally understood what he was dealing with, and finally understood what he was trying to do. He was trying to protect his family, trying to build his vision, and trying to take care of those who trusted him.
He is and was a true leader, and I’ll always respect him for what he did.
I love you, Pop.
Thank you for showing me how to take command of my life.
And thank you for all you did to help me become the man I am today.
“Everybody wants to change the world, no one ever wants to change themselves.” – Nothing More – “Do You Really Want It?”
Lately, I’ve been unengaged because with almost every facet of my life, my progress has ground to a crawl.
My weight loss is still steady, but certainly not the numbers I was pulling earlier in my journey. As I get closer to my goal, the scale numbers tick smaller, as I’m starting to get closer to my second, and final, goal of 215 lbs.
My dating life has been unremarkable, getting ghosted and flaked on by girls I want to date, and getting hit on by girls I wouldn’t, leads are low.
My family is struggling with my father’s increasing health issues.
My job has been stressful, and even though we are doing well, the frustration of potential stagnations are always over the horizon.
Lately, it seems that “hurry up and wait” is the buzz phrase for my life.
But that’s the problem. I think that I have to “wait” for good things to come my way and instead of waiting, I need to be proactive and make things happen.
So in essence, I feel “stuck” by claiming that the circumstances around me are putting me in a box.
That’s not empowerment, that’s victimhood.
Looking for validation so that you can move forward is like waiting for a sign from God in the form of a burning bush that doesn’t burn.
You wait and as you wait, the walls close in around you. And it becomes more difficult to scale them, let alone tear them down. You’re looking around now and find that your situation has become a bit more tricky because you’ve not planned for this eventually.
Life will block your ass in.
I’m really good at dispensing advice but not taking it, especially my own.
And one of my favorite tweets I’ve ever written is – “If you’re feeling stuck, MOVE.”
Like being in a cave and trying to move through a 3 foot hole, you can’t go back, so you keep pressing forward (I’m claustrophobic so this analogy works for me), and it’s the only way to go, even if it’s INCHES at a time. This agonizingly slow progress, especially for me, a person who has zero patience, is part of the reason it seemed easier to just stop and wait. But the hole isn’t getting bigger, the cave isn’t going to magically open up to a staircase to the light, nor are you going to be able to find another way around this portion of the earth.
But you just can’t convulse or wriggle just to do so, you have to move with purpose and meaning. Doing jumping jacks in a cave isn’t going to get you out of the cave any faster, and it will only wear you down when you really need the strength to climb past a wall or through a crevice.
Which is why I am calmly stepping back from the mess that is currently around me and figuring out the best way forward. But mind you, it is a way FORWARD, not simply staying still. Too many times, I’ve defaulted to blaming the situations around me as the reasons that I’m not progressing the way or the timing of what I want.
“It’s where I live that I can’t meet the girls I want.”
“I’m not losing any more weight so why go to the gym?”
“My progress has stopped on my finances, time to impulse buy something that makes me feel good but I don’t need.”
“It’s pointless to try new things because I don’t have any real interests.”
Comfort zones can kill you, especially those you continue to push to justify inaction.
My inaction is a direct result of being afraid of what my actions will bring.
So, I’ve decided to move. I’ve written down things that I CAN do to make some progress in other areas, as opposed to running a list through my mind of things I can’t do.
It’s too easy these days to lament the things we want but don’t have, as opposed to taking real stock in the things we do, as well as plotting a course on how to get the things that elude us. It’s too easy these days to complain about the world at large being against us, raising a fist to the sky and cursing the “forces” that continue to keep us down, not realizing it’s our own actions or lack thereof that keeps us in the same place.
As FoE (Fraternity of Excellence) has taught me, in the absence of anything, action still makes a difference.
But it still needs to be hammered into me, by me, that I need to continue to take action, even if things out of my control are taking hold of parts of my life I want to improve.
Fitness dialed in? Awesome, continue going to the gym and being consistent so that you can get your goals.
Not seeing results in other parts of your life at the moment? Find some part of your life where you can take quick, immediate action and fix. In my case, it’s annoying things that I haven’t fixed in my home (leaky faucet, stuck toilet seat, trimming the landscaping, pulling weeds).
Not getting the girls you want to date? Start looking at why and focus on what you are doing to attract (or not attract) these women. Also, where are you going to meet new women? If you’re sitting at home after work by yourself cursing that there’s nothing you can do to meet people, realize that in REALITY, you are doing nothing to meet new people and sitting at home cursing the fact that you won’t go out and try new things to meet new people.
Altering reality to fit the fact that you don’t want to do the work to get better doesn’t change the reality, it’s only purpose is to make you feel better about your inaction.
I’ve tried to justify my lack of forward progress, in dating especially, by lamenting that I’m not in the right area to meet a good woman, whining about having to go back to online dating to swipe and sleep with unattractive women because there’s no one else out there, all while I’m sitting at work trying to motivate men to go out and make things happen. I don’t take my own advice, until now, and it’s my way of trying to motivate myself to get out of this victimhood rut. So my tweets trying to get myself out of my own head are only words, and they haven’t inspired any action from me, only wishing I would take action but not knowing how to proceed forward.
But sometimes doing something, ANYTHING towards another goal in your life can make the other parts of your life seem much easier to fix and control, and instead of waiting, you are taking action to make something positive happen.
We don’t know how close we are to a break through, but we’ll sure as hell drop the pickaxe because we’re convinced the diamonds don’t exist, even though we know damn well that they do, because we’ve held them, we’ve seen them, we know.
So, in the meantime, we sit, we wait, we hope something good will happen. We damn the bad shit that’s going on as the universe trying to kick our ass.
It’s testing us, and we are failing the test, because we are upset we have to take the test, not truly working on trying to get the best grade we can. We have to study, we have to prepare for these tests every day, so that we can pass with flying colors. But instead, we dread the test, we curse it. This has been me for the past few weeks.
“Why me?” is the question we ask as we look up at the sky.
It’s not you, it’s the world. It’s how it tests everyone. Some tests are harder than others, and that means that you have to be extra prepared for the tests.
And here’s the funny thing, WE KNOW THE TESTS ARE COMING. Yet we still postpone, get angry, piss and moan, but we know they are coming. And we still procrastinate or justify inaction, or cram and fail.
So, I’m writing this to remind myself that nothing is going to change until I take action. Regardless where the action is taken, a positive move to ANY direction is still forward. The cave isn’t going anywhere, the mountain isn’t going to disappear because I complained I have to climb it.
Tim, get your head out of your ass and get to work. You’ve dominated many things in your life, and these are just more things you need to dominate. You aren’t going to die alone, but you sure as hell aren’t going to get any women you want by sitting and complaining about it. You aren’t going to be rich if you don’t get your ass out there and do your thing by making money.
You aren’t going to weather your family through a crisis if you constantly lament that bad things happen because reasons.
You aren’t going to show anyone you’re serious until you face the fact that you have to stand up for who you are and fight everyday towards your own independence.
You aren’t going to truly have the life you want until you fight and claim every inch of it for yourself, and be prepared to fix it, to defend it, to build it sturdier, to admire it, and be the man you want to be with no more doubt in the pit of your stomach.
Doubt is the spark in the house of your life that can burn the whole mother fucker down.
Action is the hammer, the nails, the screws, the concrete, the structure you need to make sure your home is stable.
Those words still echo in my head to this day. I don’t remember much from that night….when I was driving home from my local pub after getting loaded with a couple of friends.
I don’t even remember driving home, but I do remember stumbling into my house as my ex was dropping off the kids and the look of fear, confusion, and morbid curiosity on their faces. Like they’d just seen me shoot up and were absolutely shocked by it.
They shouldn’t have had to experience that. They shouldn’t have had to wonder why they, at that point 8 and 10 years old, why their dad was coming home reeking of booze and bad decisions.
The night was a blur, but what wasn’t, was the looks my kids gave me. And it’s burned into my skull.
My kids hadn’t seen me this blackout drunk before, sure, I’d drank in front of them, but as of that point, my drinking was getting worse. I was drinking heavily at least 3-4 times a week, to the point where I had a growler that I would routinely fill and drink by myself on nights I was at home without the kids.
The auto pilot drinking life, the bar flies, the people who filled my life with “have another one” because their own lives were filled with it, was the cornerstone of my social game with women, with my friends, with everything I was doing. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, I wasn’t having fun. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, I was offending those who were just “having a good time” and “blowing off steam”.
Along with my being overweight, this was a lifestyle that I had cultivated for most of my adult life. From the time I was in my early 20’s, it’s all I knew, it’s all I did. Very seldom, during the tailgates, bar trips, clubbing, or winery and bar crawls did I think that someday I wasn’t going to be taking a sip. This was an automatic in my life, as was just eating the shit out of everything. It was me. I had gotten so used to these things defining me.
But I had to make a decision. It seemed like a hard one, but in the bigger picture, it was the easiest decision I ever made.
I was going to stop drinking. COMPLETELY stop.
Yes, I had to, for my sake, but also for the people who depended on me, the people who look up to me, and the people who were looking for a healthy, strong example in their lives.
I finally realized my kids were watching me, and this was the biggest stage of my life.
I’ve heard many things in the addiction world, but the one thing that stuck with me was that addiction goes away easier when you find something more important to be addicted to.
And for some, it’s easier to “snap out” of an addiction than others. But, they all have to have their “come to Jesus” moment. And some never get that moment, and even more aren’t strong enough to break away.
And it was this fact that I had to come to terms with. I didn’t want my kids, seeing a father addicted to bad food and alcohol, getting addicted to things the same or potentially worse than those things.
The behavior cultivates their behavior, and if I was going to pull out of this, it wasn’t just going to be for me. I had to do it for them too.
And at that point in my life, my addiction to alcohol was getting worse by the day.
I drove home drunk multiple times (over 100 as far as I can remember). The consequences for doing bad things would eventually haunt me, even if I wasn’t getting caught.
So as I laid awake and still buzzed with my kids sleeping in their beds, I got up and I walked my house for over an hour. I watched them sleep, kissed their foreheads, and made a promise to myself.
It was immediate.
The very next night, when my kids were with their mom, I went to my normal bar.
When my usual bartender asked me if I wanted the usual drink I usually had, I stopped her.
“Water, no lemon.”
She looked at me like I had just shot someone at the bar.
“Yes, Lisa, really”, I responded.
So she filled it up. And as I sipped it, I saw all the people I had hung with during those drunken nights. And they weren’t very interesting on no buzz.
It was like taking the beer goggles off and never putting them back on again. The whole world was different. The women I had been hitting on weren’t as attractive without the buzz. The guys I’d been talking to while blitzed had very little to say except what alcohol they loved, the sports teams they were betting on, and why they hate their home lives with a griping wife at home.
Sports wasn’t interesting anymore. It wasn’t even a topic for discussion. I figured now that I wasn’t drinking, the novelty of it all was wearing off.
And it certainly was. So, slowly, I stopped going to the bar. A bar that I had frequented 4-5 days a week, a bar where my visitation points were going to get me a personalized mug. A reward for being a drunk.
So 5 days passed, and while not craving a drink, I was craving the life again, so I went to the gym.
Every time I started to feel like I was falling back, I kept thinking of my kids and those faces the night I walked in drunk.
As the days turned to weeks, I started noticing my weight dropping. The hundreds of dollars a week I had been spending on booze was put towards debt. I could go places without having to worry about driving while drunk. I cleaned out all the mugs and growlers in my home. It’s like taking all the bad food out of your house, you know it sucks, but you know it’s for the best.
My weight loss, a result of focusing on fitness, was accelerated without all the extra calories. I felt better, was sleeping better, and had more energy. I was more confident in my body so I didn’t need the liquid courage to talk to women, I had my improving physique, my improving finances, and my improving outlook on life was gaining the attention of more attractive, but also more healthy, women.
We as humans tend to look more longingly at the short, 30 second montage than the months and sometimes years it actually takes to get over something, achieve a difficult goal, or break through a tough obstacle.
But it’s hard. It’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be for everyone. I’m firmly in the camp that there are just some people who will succumb to addiction because they just aren’t strong enough.
But I also believe that people CAN become strong, they just have to either avoid or disbelieve the lies they are being told. It’s on them, but it also takes good friends and family that provide good influences.
But what do you do when you get there? Many people become bored and fall back into the addictions, because they achieved then fell back to what they knew, instead of pushing further.
The Next 1000 Days
I don’t take 1000 days, or 1000 anything, lightly. Nearly 3 years ago, I decided to make a choice, a choice for me, a choice away from a life that, at least for me, wasn’t fulfilling at all.
It was bouncing from one manufactured high to the next, trying to escape a mediocre life through booze.
So I decided to rewrite the story to one that, even if minute and insignificant to most, is of great importance to me.
My journey has always been about righting the wrongs of my past, all while trying to show men that a second chance is always there for the taking.
Your life story CAN be rewritten with you as the hero walking away into the sunset.
You just have to pick up the pen and start writing.
It will be the hardest thing you will do, changing a book you are writing in the middle of it to something that you can be proud of, something that you can say you achieved, something that you can say fulfilled you.
But don’t throw the writings away in the fire. They are there because they represent you, a different you from the current you, but you nonetheless.
Learn from those pages. The years you were addicted weren’t lost, they were a lesson for you to navigate this life, a map for you to follow to the point you want to be at. It taught you that things aren’t easy, but they can be overcome.
But more importantly, look who is watching you. Many times, we can’t see who’s watching our journey, but they are out there, rooting us on to make a better life, wanting to be a part of the rocket takeoff, wanting to succeed right along with us.
They’ve seen us at our worst, but they still hope for our best. That was the reality I was dealing with on that cold, autumn evening when my kids stared back at me in disbelief.
My kids are watching me. They are counting on me. They are on the journey with me, and I owe it to them to make this journey worth it. My success is their success. My happiness is their happiness. My world is where they live.
They need to thrive, not question. They need to be protected, not lost. They need strength and stability, not consistent doubt and confusion.
And they’ll now get it from me, after years of wondering.
My addiction is over.
The next chapter of my life is being written being high on life.
So, I raise my glass of water to the next 1000 days, may they be the best of my life.
“It’s just for a little while, until you’re yourself again, until we can control the anger, until you can learn some techniques for helping with your triggers.”
I had just walked out of his office after another outburst at work, and I really wasn’t looking forward to what he had planned with me.
“We will prescribe this, and you can take it side by side with a session of therapy per week.”
I didn’t ask what it was, I didn’t ask what the side effects were, I was just going along with it because I was angry, angry much of the time in my life. I trusted that this, along with therapy, would finally solve the issue of my anger.
My anger had been a problem before. Several times, throughout my career at my first job at my father’s trucking company, I had outbursts. Throwing stuff on the dock, punching a hole in a wall, yelling and screaming at co-workers. I had a handful of confrontations when I was “squeezed” at work, meaning that I was put into a fight or flight situation, and the flight wasn’t an option. This would involve irate customers or carriers and having to speak with them. I wasn’t good at diffusing situations and would absolutely lose it if put into a situation where I had to accept responsibility for a screw up.
So I got hauled to anger management three times between 2007 and 2015. Each time I passed with flying colors, but most of the crap I did wasn’t effective (only because I didn’t practice any of the techniques). I was going just because I had to, not with the goal of getting better.
So I was sitting in the psychologist’s office for my first session, because it was finally time to make a change.
My mother and younger sister had been pushing me to take pills to “help” me with my issues.
So today was the day I was starting this new path. A path to peace, I thought.
It certainly was a path, but the way I felt, the way that the drug affected me, felt like it hollowed me out inside. No passion, spirit, or drive, but more of an auto-pilot option, just to weather life.
One A Day Chases The Blues Away
“It’s going to take a bit for the pills to take effect.”
At this point, I didn’t care, I’d tried everything, anger management wasn’t helping (because I wasn’t working to be better), so I took a pill.
The drug I was prescribed (Zoloft) was called sertraline. It’s purpose is to increase serotonin in the brain, essentially helping with mood, memory and “leveling” you out.
I was having horrendous mood swings, so my psychologist figured that prescribing it (standard with most of his patients) would help regulate me and keep me more “even” headed.
And, it worked. It evened me out, keeping me “sane” (or what I thought was sane) because that’s what everyone around me wanted me to be. Sure there were side effects – one being I had trouble climaxing during sex, but I figured I wasn’t having sex anyway (at the time, I was in a sexless marriage), so I took the pill.
I was struggling with my anger and I sure as hell didn’t want to start punching walls or throwing stuff out on the dock, so I took the pill.
My mother and younger sister were worried about my mental health. They wanted me to be more even headed (which later felt more like me being “complacent” or “obeying”) because they could see the stress of my struggles, so I took the pill.
Everyone around me wanted me to get better and with therapy, I could. So I took the pill…
It’s only a pill a day. It’s easy. It’s quick. It’s painless. Small side effects are nothing compared to the feeling of not feeling.
And I think that very reason is why people do this.
They’re afraid to feel strong emotions, and when they do, they don’t know how to express them. And this was my problem. I wasn’t allowed to have these emotions, because they are “unnatural” (actually perfectly natural) and when I was being unhealthy in expressing them in unhealthy ways. But no one ever told me how to do it, they only told me how to avoid doing it.
So I took the pill….
But what it did to me, how I felt, wasn’t right. It never felt right. All of my life I’d avoided the rollercoaster. But instead of finding out WHY I hated the rollercoasters (the falling feeling, the noise, the fear of the hill), I just avoided it. Why subject myself to that mess? So I took the pill…
It gutted the passion, the thrills, the fear, the joy, the fun of the emotions. It was assumed I couldn’t control myself (which I had shown) but had I really ever tried? So I had a choice to keep taking them and avoid the coaster.
And that’s what I did. I chose safe. I chose to level out my feelings because I didn’t like how they made me feel, as well as everyone around me telling me it wasn’t healthy to feel them.
So it hollowed me out, and even when I was supposed to get angry, passionate, or show emotion in a healthy way, I didn’t (or couldn’t) because it wouldn’t let me. And it affected my relationships, especially with my mother and sister, because I became more pliable again. My wife and I were too far gone, but my even-keeled mind was avoiding anything that required passion, reaction, and emotion. I was a Vulcan, and it sucked because this pill sucked the life out of my at the expense of my emotions.
I had swapped problems. Sure, now I wasn’t having the anger outbursts at work, nor was I having the erratic mood swings, but now, I was a hollowed out man. And as I did more research on the drug I was becoming more and more convinced that this thing I was taking was hurting me more than it was helping.
Cease and Desist
So, in September 2021, I called my doctor. I told her, after much research, that I wanted to ween myself off of this medication. I had found out that it affected my testosterone levels as well, after I had tested at a lower level (but normal to the regular medical community) and was concerned that the low T was affecting everything in my life. And I had her full support. I was a bit scared on what it would do to me.
Would I have the mood swings again? Would I have untapped aggression towards the world? Would I have to warn people that I was off my meds?
Still, I almost wanted that over the feeling I was having. There were times during sex I couldn’t cum, and that feeling alone pushed me to stop these meds. I was tired of not feeling anything, not having those hormones pumping through my body, not being able to have an emotion without an unnatural check on it.
I was tired of being a hollow man.
So, with the wind at my back, I re-lit the pilot light.
And as each day passed without the dose, my mood improved. My blood began to feel electric again. My energy level increased. I started to take my aggression out where it was healthy, the gym and the bag.
I kept even-keeled, even after a month of no meds. I looked for triggers and addressed them. My ability to control my emotions, yet express them in a healthy way, without the constant drug induced “meh”, was getting better with my mind out of the fog.
Two months passed. My mood got better, my energy increased. Whenever I was confronted with tough situations, I stood my ground, stuck my chest out, and weathered it.
I continued to get better. Months 3 and 4 came and went. My worry about relapsing to violent, emotional Tim became less of a concern. My new concerns were wondering why I didn’t do this sooner, what I had missed, and more importantly, what I was going to do with this new found ability to control and emit my emotions in a healthy manner.
The iron helped tremendously. I dropped the pills and picked up the weights. I channeled any raw emotions into the gym. I took situations that I had just drifted through on the medicine and manned the helm to push through them, learning how to navigate those situations with my emotions and sanity intact.
I was ACTIVELY trying to get better and managing my life, as opposed to letting the drug take the wheel so I could sit back and relax.
Doing that forced me to face emotion and deal with it.
We all have to deal with it, we can’t run away from the fight.
Now, at 6 months drug free, I have turned a corner. I continue to work hard everyday to address any raw emotions that bubble over, but instead of medicating myself, I work through and face the issues head on.
The best part? I’ve actually become calmer. I’ve channeled my inner anger, an anger that I thought would come roaring back, to becoming a better father, calmer and more direct boss, and a better, more masculine, more civil son and brother.
I’ve become more even headed that I was when I was on the meds, but without the lack of testosterone and the fear of overflowing emotions. My self control has kicked in. Breathing exercises, along with some quiet meditation as well as taking time for myself has really paid off in terms of my mental health.
I didn’t need the pill, but I thought I needed it.
Everyone was telling me it was the only way to improve my life.
And all it did was take me out of the driver’s seat and just sit in with no control.
In order for me to have control, I had to understand that there was a possibility of a wreck. But if I drove my own life well, and paid attention to how I was driving, being defensive at times while at other times taking advantage of what the road gave me, I would enjoy the drive much more.
There’s a reason cars have high speeds on their speedometers. And it’s not always about driving the limit.
But you have to use the brake, you have to steer away from trouble, and you’ve have to be aware of everything going on so you can get through it.
And you don’t need to drive under the influence of any drug, no matter how many doctors tell you it will “take the edge off” of your life.
Stress is a part of life, and if you have anxiety, no pill is going to help you face those pressures. You have to pit yourself against life and get tougher, not take a pill to give you an excuse or a way out.
There’s one way out of life and that’s in a cedar box.
You must get tough and fight it out, learn to deal with setbacks, and address your emotions face to face, toe to toe with them. Understand your triggers and work them out in other areas.
There are many people that need medication, but the over-medication of society has to stop at some point.
Stop medicating, especially if you use it as a crutch for the issues in your life.
The bitter pill is the only medication you should take, and accept that hardships will surface and overcome them.
Because life isn’t going to stop tossing you around.
You have to become the boat with the strong sails to smooth it out.
The ability to be mentally healthy is inside of you, and no amount of medication is going to change that fact.
“The lesson divorce teaches you isn’t to not get married, it’s to not get divorced.”
The lessons. So many, too many to count. But I’ve managed to boil it down to 20 lessons.
I’m still learning, every day.
But I’ve honed these lessons to make sure that when I get married again, it won’t end in divorce.
Because, as bad as divorce is, it’s worse the second time.
My experiences are lessons that I can share with those willing to understand their own fallacies as well as understanding that they control who they marry, who they sleep with, and who they allow in their lives.
You control it. You have the keys. The system is unfair. It won’t be changing anytime soon, but you still have control. Stop listening to those that tell you that you don’t. Because they didn’t and don’t have control either.
I’m not a relationship expert, I’m a “what not to do in a relationship” expert.
So, without further ado, here’s my list. Enjoy and learn from my mistakes:
Lesson 1 – If You Don’t Know Who You Are and Love Yourself as Such, You Cannot Marry Someone Else Without Encountering Major Issues
I didn’t know who I was. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. And it showed in the marriage. The baseline, foundational things that you need to be in order to love someone else must be there. Your convictions, beliefs, purpose, and boundaries must be there in order for you to make good on your promise to love, honor, and cherish.
How can you marry someone when you don’t know who the hell you are? If it’s checking a box, it’s wrong. Marriage is for good and you better damn well know who you are, your likes and dislikes before you walk down the aisle. And if she can’t respect any of it, she doesn’t get to be your wife.
Lesson 2 – Stop Escalating and Start Connecting
In the heat of an argument, the best thing you can do is stop letting emotion dictate your response. Her emotion is boiling over and she needs to know you’re there to stop it from completely spilling. She wants to vent, not argue, many times over, because women are emotional creatures. She needs to feel you there for her, your strength, your control over yourself and the situation. Sometimes, she just needs to let emotion take over. Nothing may necessarily be wrong, and if it feels like she’s picking on you, sack up and understand that this is something she does to make sure you are there for her.
She values you as her husband and values that you take the time to connect with her, listen instead of dictate, as well as understanding her and what she’s going through.
Lesson 3 – She Won’t Love You Unconditionally, But She Will Love You
The biggest issue that men have to deal with is that they won’t get love the way they want from a woman. She will not love unconditionally, but neither will you for her. It doesn’t work that way, especially for a man and a woman, as conditions do dictate love. So provide conditions that you are happy with. Men have to provide, it’s what we have to do. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can have it your way. But she will love you, but you have to give her something to love and adore. You are the key to all of it, be it your own self love and what you’ve built in pursuit of that love, for her to truly love you for who you are and what you stand for.
Lesson 4 – Vet and Vet Often. You Can’t Prepare for Every Eventuality, But You Can Have A Damn Good Idea of Who You’re Marrying
Take as much time as you need. The honeymoon phase in a relationship over, time to start vetting her. Put her in as many situations as you can to see how she handles herself. That will tell you all you need to know about her. You can’t prepare for everything, but you can have her in enough situations to see how she’ll do when the real deal is upon you. This is good, bad and neutral situations. Get experience with her, gain knowledge about her faults, bad habits, and general demeanor. If she greets you with an ultimatum, walk.
Lesson 5 – Neither Person Gets to Dictate Terms
Terms are agreed upon and negotiated.
Both parties understand what they bring and they bring it.
You want contractual obligation? The State wants marriage in those terms, but you aren’t the State, nor are you a monolithic organism. You’re a human being and so is she. If either side starts dictating, the other side needs to walk. There has to be compromise and agreement on principles in the relationship. Know your roles and be comfortable playing them because it’s who you are. Be prepared for quick negotiations or unforeseen disagreements that must be hashed out. But do it together, and in ways that both of you are comfortable with all that each of you are doing.
Lesson 6 – Communicate. You Can’t Read Minds and Your Partner Can’t Either
Talk early and often and your marriage will be solid as a rock. Get to know each other by talking to each other, early and often, over anything and everything. Know where each other stands on things that confront the marriage and overcome them. Communicate how your partner made you feel, good or bad, and face those issues head on, together. You don’t get to not engage, especially when it may be important to her. If it was important to you and she walked off, you’d be pissed.
Lesson 7 – Sex is Critical
No sex is a deathknell for any relationship. If you’re not having sex in your relationship, it’s dead and needs to be revitalized. No sex is a critical problem that many marriages cannot overcome. Because without sex, she’s just a roommate who helps you with the bills. Your intimacy is of the utmost importance in your marriage. Take it from a guy who didn’t have much sex in the dying days of his marriage, you need to be having sex, but also, having fun with your partner. Try new things in the bedroom, be adventurous, and be aggressive towards each other in the bedroom. You both love each other, so show it, dammit.
Lesson 8 – Better People Make Better Marriages
The bitter truth that most people don’t want to hear is that when you and your spouse are striving to be better, it improves your marriage significantly. Because you are a better, healthier person, you can have a good, strong, solid marriage when you and your partner have boundaries, share in triumphs, regroup after setbacks, and have each other’s backs. The proof is in the pudding, for take a sputtering marriage and add two people trying to get better either physically, mentally, spiritually or all three, and see the infusion of that energy revitalize that marriage. I’ve seen it happen so many times with men who weren’t motivated in marriage suddenly turn things around to the point where everyone associated with the marriage is re-energized. Kids, wife, everything starts to level up as the man rebuilds himself.
Lesson 9 – It’s Okay to Be Wrong. Own It, Fix It, and Move On
Yes. It’s okay to be wrong. But you have to do the one thing you don’t want to do. Swallow your pride and own the fuck up. You aren’t infallible, and neither is she. But you are capable of being an adult, and that means taking the heat when you screw up. The heat is the easy part, because you then have to fix your fuckup to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Because you’re a functioning part of this marriage, your humility will be mirrored by her, because when she sees you screwed up, when she does it, she’ll want to show that she’s human too. If she doesn’t, you still take the L and move on. Because you are the lead in this relationship, you will hold yourself to a higher standard. And with that higher standard comes her having to raise her standard as well. You set the tone, regardless of what you do, be it right or wrong. Learn from it and move the fuck on.
Lesson 10 – Love Doesn’t Negate The Legal Ramifications of Marriage, but The State Doesn’t and Shouldn’t Get To Interfere In The Loving, Spiritual Bond You Have
We get wrapped up in the State and why they get involved in the institute of marriage. If you don’t want the State involved, you can most certainly choose other options. But as of right now, this moment in time, and for the foreseeable future, your local government is involved. That means that in the eyes of the State, you are in a contractual agreement with your spouse. And depending on the state that the marriage occurs, you may or may not be able to draft a prenuptial agreement. All the more reason for the man to know who the heck he is marrying and the woman to take her time to make sure that this is the real deal. But never, ever does the State get to be involved in the spiritual aspect of your marriage. If you are religious, the church has that on lockdown, and so make sure you aren’t losing the real reasons for marriage in a myriad of tax implications. The state only matters when you get married or when you get divorced. Kick those fuckers out of the bond.
Lesson 11 – Do Things, but Do Them With Meaning and Purpose – Enjoy Each Other on Purpose
The issues I had with our marriage was that my wife was always goading me to do “something” instead of what I was doing, which most of the time was playing video games or watching TV. She wanted me to go experience life with her, and that isn’t an inconvenience. It’s a necessity. Enjoy your spouse by enjoying your life with her. Cherish the things you do (active or passive things) and share that with her, as well as her with you. Try new things with her, be adventurous, solve problems together. This will only strength the bond between both of you. Then, as you do these things, you become better together and start to enjoy more. The snowball gains momentum and gets bigger. Enjoy your marriage by doing things together that you love.
Lesson 12 – Be Her Biggest Cheerleader, and She’ll Be Your Biggest Fan
Support in marriage is one of the biggest deficiencies for men. They are looking for loyalty and a support system, but you have to do the same. She needs to know you’re there for her to support what she wants to do as well. Keep cheering her on what she wants to do, and you will see a woman ready to support her man with anything he’s doing as well. But you gotta show up in her corner, every time.
Lessons 13 – When Your Values Align, You Both Win
When vetting for a woman, pay close attention to her values. If they are radically different from yours, you will have an issue that will be a killer for the marriage. You have to have a partner that is paddling the same way you are, because if you don’t, the boat spins. And you want to move forward and beyond, not stay stagnant. So watch how she conducts herself. Does she hate kids? Then why try to make her a mom?
Does she have liberal values? Then why marry her if you’re a staunch conservative. Does she have issues with her family? Then why try to bring her into yours if she can’t have a healthy attachments to her own kin (save for extraordinary circumstances). You wouldn’t buy a dog person a bunch of cats so stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Lesson 14 – Your Kids are Neither Conspirators Nor Accessories to Either Parent
They’re kids, and they function best in peaceful settings. Your kids are the souls you are raising. Stop trying to weaponize them against your spouse in the hopes of them proving your right or wrong. It’s not fair to them for you to put them squarely in an adult situation when they are anything but adults. You are acting like a child if you are using kids to exert power over your spouse. These aren’t chess pieces, they’re your flesh and blood and they need parents who are adults.
Lesson 15 – She Doesn’t Owe You Anything, Nor Do You Owe Her
The concept of entitlement should not exist in marriage, especially not one way and not the other. No one owes anyone anything when it comes to marriage, but you both owe it to each other to be present and engaged in the marriage. She doesn’t owe you sex because she’s your wife, and you don’t owe her money to pay off her loans because you’re her husband. You both are giving because you are both getting reciprocated by being this way. Stop hanging expectations on someone with no intention of holding them up.
Lesson 16 – Alone Time is Important; Never Underestimate the Importance of Spending Time Away From Each Other
You need your alone time. You need time to decompress and get yours. Refilling your energy meter is important to every person in your life, because you can pour from an empty cup. If your significant other is trying to monopolize your time, it’s because they don’t value your alone time. You have to be able to get away to get right sometimes, and they have to respect that. As a matter of fact, alone time is essential in a marriage because if you were around your spouse 100% of the time, you’d cease to exist as a person. You both were separate people before you got married, and you remain that way even after. Your alone time is golden to do the things you like to do to relax. And if your partner loves you, they’ll respect that time and take some of their own.
Lesson 17 – The Work Doesn’t Stop When The Honeymoon Ends
Never stop working to be a better person, regardless of marital status. You set the standard and you keep improving each week, each month, and each year. Bring it, and she’ll bring it as well. But you have to keep dating your spouse, you have to keep working to be a better person, and you both will revel in the rewards as you continue to grow as a couple and individually. There should be no let up for either of you after the wedding cake is eaten. Too many folks suffer from “get married and let it all go” syndrome. Don’t be that person. Cherish yourself and your significant other by getting after it every day.
Lesson 18 – You’re A Team, But You’re the Leader
Men lead, women follow. The traditional roles may be the new bad words of the 21st century, but it still holds true. You are the leader, you set the tone, and you protect the clan. You’d better be ready to lead, because she’s counting on you. Just as I have said men are the frame while women are the painting, it falls to you to be the foundation on this marriage. The strength and protection you provide is what she needs in order to do her thing and assist you in yours.
Lesson 19 – How You Handle The Hard Times Will Make The Good Times Better
Hard times make better marriages. How you both overcome obstacles says a lot about the health of your marriage. Blame, guilt, and shame have no place in a marriage, when you can replace them just as easily with strength, fortitude, and perseverance. See the tough times for what they are and work through them, never blaming each other for anything out of the other’s control. You can’t be resentful of someone because something happens to them or someone they love that isn’t in the cards. Even when you or your loved ones make critical mistakes, stop, listen, and connect then fix it. Seeing through these times will strengthen any marriage more than anything.
Lesson 20 – It’s Marriage, It’s Messy, It’s Difficult, But It’s Worth It
Marriage is work, but it’s also a teammate for life that supercharges your life. It’s nitrous in your engine, and when you have a committed and dedicated person to your cause, your goals get that much more attainable. But also, you get to share a life with someone you care about, someone whom cares about you, and together, you dominate and build an empire. That’s a “Ride Or Die” to me, and the most successful people in history have had a significant other who watches their back.
I don’t have to tell you that these lessons will work for everyone all the time, but through my trials and tribulations with my marriage and divorce, I can tell you that doing them will only help you and your spouse grow a stronger, more loving bond. Be the man that she wants to follow. Be the woman that he wants to protect and nurture.
But do it together, and do it for each other.
I hope that I get married again someday. And following these lessons, I know my second marriage will be my last.
My social awkwardness and ineptitude shown through every time.
At 22, I took a first date to dinner and then to my new home being built. That was my plan, and she silently seethed as I told her the layout and how I was so proud.
“Take me home, okay?”
Dated a bigger girl just to try and lose my virginity because my friends ragged on me. Got cold feet after taking her to a friends wedding and had another friend do the deed and take her home because I couldn’t bring myself to have sex with her.
Went out with a girl 4 times and we never even kissed, just did awkward things and chatted as friends over dinner until I invited myself to her house and ghosted her before I came over.
Embarrassing fails, then came my ten year marriage and the trials and tribulations with 4 of those years being nearly sexless (1-2 a year) and my continual struggle with women, as I saw it, was the cause.
During and after my separation and my divorce I stopped giving a damn. Broke, depressed and downtrodden, I let any girl with a passable face and a penchant for saying yes in my life, and these broken women made it even more miserable.
But hey, at least I was getting laid?
Then, I discovered the Red Pill, and Pick Up Artistry.
As I got better with, the women got hotter, but also more fucked up.
My definition of success was to “get good with women”. I had no other goals beyond that. I had no aspirations for a healthy relationship because I honestly thought that just be getting good with women, all the other things would take care of themselves. After all, it wasn’t me, it was the women I was meeting, right?
Tried to fake it at first. Faked my way right into the friend zone in LA. Then back to the dead zone for having the temerity of being a player with multiple leads.
But I was having a blast, and enjoying something that had eluded me for my whole life, the experience of dating multiple women.
So, consider it a checkmark on a box that I had set out with long ago.
But it’s not, and will not be for me, considered a success.
Because all it did was bring on more problems, bigger problems. The short term brought me more sex, more women, but in the end, it brought me no closer to a long term relationship. It merely told me that I could have as many short term flings as I wanted, but that I wasn’t going to be loved, nor would I love anyone, because love is weak. Love is for men who have feelings, who have emotions, and who are simps.
And for as much fun as I was having, this was the bottom line. You have to always be hard, emotionless, and use dread game to keep your woman in line, because “all women are like children”, and they need to be in the “presence of someone who can tell them what to do”. “They won’t ever love you the way you want”, nor will they give you the deep, meaningful love you seek.
As I’ve found, PUA and LTR are incompatible terms.
In PUA, you get what you wish for, but you also get dead ends that don’t lead to anywhere good, because it all boils down to playing the game in the shallow end, when really what you need to learn is to swim in the deep end, and then you get to jump off the diving board.
As part of my journey, I’m having to deprogram myself from PUA thinking and it’s been incredibly difficult. With every passing day, I still catch myself using pick up terms, lines of thinking, even trying to be mindful on how I’m communicating to women because many of the ones who I would be willing to have a LTR with are turned off by these statements.
“The NOTCH is the GOAL”
PUA thrives on escalation, quick and extensive, in order to get to the almighty notch.
And it doesn’t matter HOW or WHO you get it with, just that you get those numbers.
And this goes with everything, approaches, either cold or lukewarm, day game, everything, because the bottom line is hasn’t changed, it’s not about getting you comfortable with talking to women, it’s about getting you comfortable talking to women then sleeping with women.
Because it’s really all about the notch.
When you get the notch, you can brag to the community about it, because you’re doing hard things. And they pat you on the back and you go out and do it again and again. But notice when they get the notch, notice how it doesn’t fulfill anything but going out and getting another one.
The beautiful unicorn is the goal, but it isn’t having a relationship with her, it’s about landing her for even a brief moment (she’s not yours, it’s just your turn) and moving on to another one.
If you’ve read “The Game” by Neil Strauss, he got so good at picking up women that it became nothing fulfilling in his life. Only when he started to have feelings for women did he start to understand the consistent dead end of this lifestyle. And by that time, the damage was done. Many PUA’s have had horrible relationships, including Mystery, because they didn’t understand that simping doesn’t die simply because you said it does. They didn’t understand that self mastery and “fake it until you make it” don’t jive in real life. They became personas, never found the real “them” and tried to apply that to all parts of their lives, with horrible results. So now it’s “don’t catch feels” and everything is cool. And it’s led to an absolute mess of a dating scene.
Look, I get it, some guys want this lifestyle and die with a smile on their face after climax. But it isn’t realistic, nor is it sustainable. Which is why many of your gurus are happily married (or at least pretend to be) with one woman. If you can pull of haram game go for it, but a majority of guys just want a ride or die to support them, love them, and be there for them. We can argue all we want about monogamy being a broken concept, but the fact remains that a majority of this world still believes in it, and as a man who didn’t believe after his divorce, I am a believer too.
Quite simply, the long term love of one trumps the fleeting love of many. It’s shallow, empty, short lived and transparent. And it gets old. You’re the dude in the club at 55, with the pony tail, who fucked his way through the city in the early 00’s, and now you’re hoping for that magic to rub off. But all you’re getting are ladies from the retirement bus, because you never bothered to make a life for yourself, a real life, and lose all the other bullshit that worked for a while, but has since stopped. There’s only one Hugh Hefner, and you ain’t it, and even after that, man made it seem as if this was the life, the world that every man wanted, even as Hef bungled his way through different marriages and arrangements.
“But at least he was getting laid by beautiful women.”
Men consistently have trouble getting laid, and this was the deficiency that PUA was supposed to eradicate. But it took the feels from the game, and it took the reason for being and boiled it down to whether she spreads her legs for you on the first date, whether you’re getting that girl in accounting to go down on you after a meeting, or whether that girl you approached on the street is a “good girl” that you have no shot with. It’s a “Dear Penthouse” that men dearly want but can’t get. It tried to quantify EVERYTHING, so that you can just look at the numbers to see what women are doing, how they act, and how a majority of them believe in “monkey branching”. Hypergamy doesn’t care, until you realize that the majority of women who we blame for hypergamy were broken human beings in the first place, with either bad upbringings, domineering or no fathers, and have no interest in taking responsibility for any of it.
And if you dare to believe in monogamy, you’re labeled blue pill and you’re doomed.
I’ve seen, in person, many men who have good women in their lives, and I see what it can do for them.
With some PUA, dishonesty was a hallmark. “Don’t tell women anything you’re doing” was the go to. Then, it was “you spin multiple plates and tell them up front what you’re doing”, but brutal honesty only works in a progressive, dystopian dating market where everyone’s trying to fuck everyone else.
You may win in the meat market, but you lose in the life partner game.
And I want to win in that game. Because it’s what I want to do.
Nothing punched me in the face more than when I was trying to get into a real relationship and the reality of my PUA programming came up.
Women looking for a relationship don’t want to hear that you’re fucking other women and they can just take that to the bank.
And why would they?
I consistently say to men that if they found out a woman they were dating was screwing other dudes, they would be a bit concerned. And yet, many modern women do just this, and get upset when men do it as well. But it’s not ideal whoever does it, and while it shows disastrous double standards in dating, it also shows how detached we all are over sex and healthy long term relationships, and how the lines have blurred for everyone.
But the reality….the reality is much better than what the gurus tell you or want you to believe.
The Notch you get from strange women is much worse that the sex you have in a relationship.
Why? Because in a deep, committed relationship, you and your significant other open up sexually, and sex can be anything you want.
But they don’t want you to know that. Why? Because hate and anger sell. It’s easier to blame others for your lot in life than to take responsibility for yourself.
But more, it’s easier to sell gimmicks to guys who don’t want to do the work.
If you read “The Game”, you saw that in Los Angeles, when hundreds of men tried to get some of that genie in the bottle that was released, women started catching on to the ruse. Men who had used old time favorite pickup stuff like “The Cube” were suddenly being outed by women they were trying to hit on.
IT GETS OLD.
It’s cliché, but it’s true. We see men dropping out of PUA and the old guard weeps not because guys are doing what’s best for them, but because they miss the old days when they were hitting up models and actresses in the streets of the cities they haunted. Guys understand there are useful things in both PUA and the red pill, but it’s not a place they need to stay at for long. Because time doesn’t stop in those worlds, and eventually it becomes old, boring, and less important that a man getting on with his life.
“Get good with women” is and was the only end game, and once you get there, you’re adrift again because you’ve hit the mark and now you have nowhere else to go. You see men who in their prime were the best PUA’s ever, now reduced to shells of men talking about the days of game like a 43 year old over the hill dude talks about his 4 TD passes in the high school state championship.
Men have to have forward motion, they can’t just rely on inertia or momentum, because it ensures they’ll be stuck forever. Some guys can pull it off. But most cannot.
And instead of giving them consistent tools for building and growing a good life, they give them tips and tricks to get to that next phase, and drop them off like a bus stop. And we wonder why many guys are bitter about what’s happened to them.
You have to think past the notch. The best notches come at the hands of a woman who loves, supports, and is there for you. Men, married men that I know, that have taken control of their lives and become patriarchs, are having the best sex in life. Because they have a trusted person whom they break bread with every day, and they have someone who believes in them and what they are doing.
They’re having hot sex after breakfast, instead of hoping the fat girl at the end of the bar at last call is drunk enough to go home with you.
They’re going on amazing trips and doing fun things with their families, instead of getting high at a friend’s house before going out to the club to see if you can pull some girl younger than 35 tonight.
They’re having children, instead of pulling out and hoping that next phone call isn’t the girl you had sex with saying she’s late.
They’re living their lives, moving on and growing in other directions instead of harkening back to the halcyon days of when they had a threesome while high on cocaine.
I choose the group who’s creating more in the present, instead of remembering the good times, and I won’t apologize for it. It’s my choice to move forward and be more than I could have ever imagined, and there are women, many women, out there that I don’t have to dazzle with a card trick or a palm reading to get them to look. I am the game, and many women are eager to play.
Get out of the past, get passed the notch, and get on with your life.
Or be doomed to stay in the same place, in the same world, in the same dull life, forever.
11 miles of the same telephone poles, the same asphalt, the same houses, and the same blades of grass.
Every year, the seasons change the colors, but the objects remain the same.
The wind swept fields, the rainy roads, the sunshine blessed treetops, all of it stands the test of time. I notice many of these things every day, during shorter days, longer nights, dark mornings and sun drenched afternoons, but they all stay the same.
The rainy days are just as grey as they were nearly a quarter of a century ago, when, at 22 years old, I decided to go and work for my dad after college. The job offers were many, all over the country, Chicago, Philly, Houston, but I decided to go home and work for the family business.
I could’ve done anything. I could’ve gone to Argentina to get my major in Spanish. I could’ve gone to a big city and rode out my 20’s in an exciting, albeit, broken world.
I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, depending on who was asking. So why would a guy fresh out of college decide to work for the family business when he had a chance to make his mark on the world in other ways?
Because sometimes, it’s not about the glory and excitement of new avenues, it’s about the joy and satisfaction that comes from building something up and succeeding through long hours of toil.
As I traverse the multitude of left turns going to work, then the multitude of right turns coming home, it reminds me of the stability that I have had in my life.
It all stays the same, but it’s all wonderful to see for me everyday.
Boring? To you, maybe. To me, it’s the world I’ve helped build and it stands on my untiring effort everyday to chisel a world out of the world just for me.
Legacy is built one brick at a time, over time.
We crave stability, but we don’t crave what it takes to create or sustain it.
One of my favorite speakers this past year at CME (The Conference of Masculine Excellence) in Las Vegas was Hotep Jesus, who’s number one quote in his presentation was “Show up.”
He specifically talked about being the man who just showed up and made things happen. And when you show up, things happen.
Showing up is the start of consistency and gets you there 100% of the time when you’re present.
Out of these years I’ve been working at my own business, I’ve been absent less than .1% of the time. And it’s because I love my job and know that there are people that count on me daily to “show up”.
Which is how I’ve had to approach my life, especially recently. While I was showing up at work, I wasn’t showing up in my life.
I would be there for everything at work, but in my life, especially when I was married, I wasn’t there for my wife at the time, my kids, or myself.
My fitness cratered and I ballooned to 308 lbs. My wife and I divorced. My kids and I were distant, and I wasn’t showing up, I was merely a ghost, a place holder pretending to be a father, husband and man.
I was practicing consistency at work, but I wasn’t bringing it to my personal life, and it showed.
So, on my 40th birthday, sitting alone at a bar, drunk, I had to make a decision.
Nothing was working out in my personal life, but my career was going well.
I was tired of seeing success in one area and no success in everything else, because I wasn’t SHOWING UP in those other areas. So, I decided, each year, to add these areas to my consistent effort and get my weaknesses handled. I took one – two areas each year, for the last 5 years. My first goal was getting my weight down and getting better with women.
So I got 80 lbs off and I got decent with girls. It was the start of an amazing transformation that is still taking place to this day, in my life.
I found a passion, helping men through my own experiences, so the next year I decided to get my blog going, as well as be on Twitter and IG as a man who was living his journey and sharing his experiences with other men. And I have grown this blog and twitter to over 11k people.
The next year was traveling to meet people that I had met as well as getting out of my shell. I overdid this, traveling so much that I was neglecting time with my kids. But I consistently traveled and got better socially. But I realized I was drinking way too much, so I also decided to get sober, which I have now been for 2.5 years.
In 2020 and 2021, I used the pandemic to get consistent on the home front, getting my home in order and get closer to my kids, I needed to be a better father, but I wasn’t showing up with them as much as I needed to. I’ve been learning to be a better dad as well as understanding that my connection to my kids is extremely important to their health and well being. I’ve been working in the Fraternity of Excellence to get better as a father and a man.
And now, in 2022, I’m dialing my fitness into the next level. My fitness goal has been to always look sexy naked, and with my trainer Phil Foster, I am pushing myself and establishing new consistent boundaries on how I work out and how I look. And, mercifully, after a year, I will be getting my finances in order and will be debt free except the house in a little over a week of this writing. Then I get to pay myself and spend my money on savings, investment, and college for my children.
I’ve also brought my consistency to my relationships. I’m reaching out to old friends I left on hold. I’m learning how be better with women in my work with Dr Taylor Burrowes. Before it was just pickup and sex, now it’s something more I’m looking for. I’m learning to vet these women, consistently and with consistency in my own values, boundaries, and behaviors.
All of this, every aspect of my life, has been addressed. All because I decided to show up. Sure there are important things that take precedence at this moment, but in general, I’m raising the level of my life and as a result, the level of those around me. People can count on me again, because they know I’ll show up.
My meetings, I’m there. My kids, I’m there. My fitness, I’m there. My friends and family, I’m there.
There’s something to be said about knowing someone will always be there.
And, when you can look into the mirror and know that you are bringing it everyday, the most important person that knows you’ll be there is…well….YOU.
But I’ve hired good people to help me get there. When you have the people to help you and you are willing to “show up” and help yourself with their tutelage, the sky’s the limit.
Going into 2022, I had several resolutions that I had been working on since Sept of 21. Guys have asked me how the hell I can get behind all of these resolutions and, you know, actually “DO THEM” but it’s become so ingrained in my mind that I need to get better everyday that many of these resolutions have become commonplace.
In order to get to your goals, you must “show up”, so I started the First of the Month Challenge to motivate people to take the same steps I took, the same consistent baby steps to get to their goals.
One of the things many people have stated about me is that my consistency is top notch. It hasn’t always been that way, but the way that it started was through my New Year’s Resolutions. So, I took it upon myself to show folks through the first quarter of this year, that 30 days becomes a habit, 60 days becomes a pattern, and 90 days becomes a lifestyle. Whether it’s fitness or something else, it will behoove you to follow through and be consistent in your goals. Just do one thing, one, for that amount of time and watch as you are able to apply that to other aspects of your life.
You’ll become unstoppable because you bothered to “show up.”
The stat that really stood out to me was that after the first month 80% of people quit their resolutions.
And I see it every year. The gym is packed the first two weeks of January, then people leave in droves and it’s back to the usual folks in February.
But, as I’ve seen year after year, there are the 20% that show up when the gym opens or are there when it’s about to close. It’s the 20% that push themselves to be better by “showing up” every day to get to their goals. It’s time to increase that percentage and hold folks accountable for their proclamations. And to hold them accountable, I want to be there with them as they take these steps to break out of their own dead end cycles.
So, if you’re looking for the magic code to be consistent, it’s nothing else but showing up when no one else does.
And it’s certainly not magic, just a sense of personal discipline ingrained in yourself by yourself to forge ahead and get what you truly dream of in life.
The magic of consistency is created by the commonplace activity of attendance.
And being consistent will bring that dream to a reality.
Third game of the young baseball season. Double, standing at second in the bottom of the third inning.
The adrenaline of the young season already pulsing through his veins. He had scholarship offers from three D-1 schools, but this season was going to put him in the elites. The team was eliminated in Semi- State last year, but the championship would be theirs this year.
Single. He comes around easily to score. This was going to be his year.
Bottom of the ninth. He walks. He’s already scored three times, but their bullpen had issues and gave up a two run homer. Game was tied. He’s 264 feet from the sweep.
Bunt drops. He dives for second. Safe. One step closer.
He’s been giving it his all, not just for the offers, but because, he believed, he was the best on this team. And of course he was. Led in most catagiries, defensively good in the outfield, and brought it every game. Great teammate, and this was going to be his year.
Next batter. Shallow single, but not shallow enough. Give him the sign as he rounded third to hold. Fuck that. He picks up steam. He slides focusing on the plate, and the catcher has the ball. Time to collide.
He hits the catcher full speed, ball drops out. Game won. But in the commotion, in the heroic act to win the game, he comes up wincing.
“Probably just a sprain…”, he thinks. Then he feels the sharp pain in his knee. He drops. The team, in their celebration around him clears for the trainer and coaches.
He’s sure it’s not serious. But damn it hurts. He goes for X-rays. Torn ACL, sprained MCL, the blood drains from his face. There it goes, the offers, the state championship, all of it.
This was supposed to be his year.
Sometimes, we’re so focused on checking the box, pushing so hard to get it done, that we destroy everything else around us in this singular focus.
The idea of hitting a goal, at whatever cost necessary, sets us back further on other, more important things.
Instead of losing one thing, we lose everything. In the example above, the best player that the team needed, pushed when he didn’t necessarily have to. And in his push, it cost him and his team the championship. It cost him offers. But most of all, it cost him himself.
Sometimes, playing smart means taking the short term L for the long term W.
Blazes of glory don’t do you any good when you’re dead.
Injuries don’t help you because you can’t play.
We give people shit sometimes for not going 120% all the time, because we think they aren’t trying hard. Whereas, many of them are playing the long game, understanding that it’s difficult to go undefeated if you don’t have your best on the field.
The goal of fixing the light socket doesn’t really matter if the house is burning down around you.
For a long time, at my job, I have two chess pieces in my office. A king and a queen. I knew I had to be a king to get the queen. But for years, and even recently, I’ve been caught up in checking that damn box and getting a woman that I could call mine.
I’ve written so much, so many times about how a woman shouldn’t be your focus, and here I was, making it that, trying to check that damn box, because I thought, after years of frustration, I had finally gotten to the relationship I wanted.
Nothing else mattered, no how she felt, not the timing, not the whole situation. Taking my time wasn’t in the cards, because I had to check that box.
So here I am again. I won a battle, but lost the war. I focused on home plate, but wasn’t concerned with this woman’s reaction to all of it. It wasn’t fair to her. She didn’t get a say. And that wasn’t right.
We, as men, are taught to lead, and they will follow. But we also can’t go off half cocked, shooting from the hip, especially when there are other people involved. It does zero good to build a life with someone by smothering them in your plans, aspirations, and goals without talking to them.
Assumptions are the mother of all fuckups.
If you want a “Ride or Die”, she has to be holding onto you right on the bike, not being dragged behind by a chain.
All because I wanted to check that box.
All because the idea of a significant other overrode all other scenarios. I didn’t make her a teammate, she was a subject, an object that I gave no mind to, all for trying to check that box.
It hurts because it was an unforced error.
It hurts because it could have been prevented.
I was too selfish to see that the plate was blocked, and I was going to get hurt sliding in.
Many of the lessons I’ve talked about in my past posts on this blog have only been given lip service to me and I haven’t truly lived some of them, especially in relationships.
It’s very humbling to have your words used back at you to tell you you haven’t been true to who you say you are. It’s mirror work that needs to happen, and as strong as I am in many aspects of my life, my relationships with women still need a ton of work.
And that starts with me. It starts with applying the lessons I’ve talked about, but apparently haven’t fully grasped.
It’s leading, not dictating. It’s strength, not dominance. It’s empathy, not stubbornness.
It’s confidence, not desperation. It’s abundance, not scarcity. It’s outcome independence, not hanging my hat on a star.
It’s patience, not pushing. It’s understanding, compassion, and humility.
A man who is measured, strong, and content in his life won’t be eager to check a box. He sees home plate and a shallow single, but also sees the hold sign at third. He knows that he’ll still be playing in the next series, win or lose, because he listened instead of busting ahead haphazardly.
I wasn’t ready. I was only ready to check the box. And checking the box doesn’t mean shit if the whole world is burning around it.
It does you no good to be sitting out injured while your team goes on without you when they didn’t have that choice. You made that choice when you rounded third, and you hurt those who depended on you, who loved you, and who believed in you.
But most of all, you hurt yourself. You made choices that you know weren’t right in order to justify checking that fucking box.
This blog has always been a journal for me, taking the lessons in life, the experiences that have shaped me, and applying them and learning from them. But there are still lessons I haven’t learned. Still things I have to apply. Still places where I’ve fallen short, merely pretending to learn while not truly grasping these situations.
This isn’t a simulation. This isn’t a sheet of paper with boxes to check off. This is real life, love, and other people with feelings, goals, desires and aspirations. They matter too, and in the quest to find a quality LTR, they have a say. They’re your teammate. They’re your lover, they’re your friend. They aren’t a mark on a paper, a post on social media, a trophy that you can add to your mantle.
I have work to do. I’m still trying to be the best man I can be, I’m working everyday to put what I preach into practice. But there are still blind spots that I need to address, especially when it comes to relationships.
But as I’ve always said, and recently forgotten: “You can’t have a quality relationship until you love yourself.”
Everything about you has to be sincere, honest, and representative of who you are striving to be.
I’ve forgotten some of that, and those closest to me have made it very clear that this is a pattern I need to correct. And I intend to.