Holy Shit! What a Day!

It all started when Mrs. M. woke me from a deep sleep, wearing only the best grin and the most mischievous eyes.  For a solid hour, she did everything I already knew she could, and everything I always dreamed but never thought would ever be in her love vocabulary.  And then, she promised there would be a lot more days like this because she wanted to make up for lost time.  Then there was a quick shower and we ran out before the kids woke up, to grab breakfast at that place I really like.

We got home and the kids were already up and dressed for school.  My daughter had walked and fed the dog, and was getting herself ready to commute to college.  My son went out early to catch the bus, and had turned in all of his homework last night, including getting caught up on all of his late assignments.

I clocked in to work and the boss had sent me an email saying she was giving me a raise, both to adjust to cost of living, and, because so many of my customers have sent in rave reviews of my service already this year.  My callers were all really polite and pleasant, and I even had time to clear my queue of things i needed to catch up on, and follow up on.

I mean, everyone usually is upset about the weekend being over, and having to get back to the first day of the daily grind.  Today was a Monday, but for me it was a Monday like none other.

It was April 1st.

II – Deon’s Demons

II – Deon’s Demons

From morning to afternoon, I’ve known them, circling,
I taste them only when coughing, exhaling,
Doctors can only see random allergens,
Giving snake oil addictions to treat my symptoms.

Medicines, cruel demons, here to stay

Choke, cough, expectorate, medicate, rinse, repeat
Nausea ad nauseum, I don’t want to eat,
Those are the infestations below my brains…
Through my eyes, I’ve welcomed more, sweet, permanent stains

You can’t bleach them or wash them away.

Generation to generation, they ride down,
Hitting tree branches, growing concentration,
So I give them the best evils I’ve gotten,
Though compared, “the good old days” were just as rotten.

Genetics find unfair ways to play.

I can’t concentrate quite enough to finish well,
Retreating from judgement, escaping for a spell.
My wife, from my dad, inherits my mother’s hell.
Failures, words, like anvils on a sparrow’s egg shell.

Disappointing her gives me dismay.

Seasons of sadness enshroud my brain like a pall.
They should be warm and soft, shouldn’t they all?
Instead they scrape, tear and grind, while making me fall…
How many times can I escape, try to stand tall?

Some days I’m OK, then, demon days.

Dragged down by people as much as by demons,
They blame me for myself, as if I had chosen
My feelings, frustrations, of my own free will,
As if my cage could be opened by all these pills.

Past and new bullies are hell to pay.

My brain is on fire, everyone should just run!
This can be transmitted, hell’s special contagion!
Leave me here to fight memory, sadness, time lost,
Come around to be nice to me, warm my black frost.

Isolated

There are times when I want to be alone.  There are other times when I feel like real life is like having been shipped off to 75-year-long summer camp with a bunch of idiots I don’t like, and I’d kill for an encouraging note or telephone call from one of my friends, or someone in my family.

Life sucks.  And I DO isolate myself, I confess.  I swear, nobody knows the real Deon, not even Deon.  And I get depressed because of that, and then spiral out to hyperbolic reasoning, that because nobody is talking to me, nobody gives a shit.  I start with home, where if I do it it’s taken for granted as expected, and if I don’t do it, it’s because I don’t manage my time well enough, not because I’m fucking depressed and don’t want to fucking move, and then I get tired and fall asleep sometimes between the hours of 3:30am and 5 or 6:00am, on a fairly routine basis.  Sometimes I’ll sleep longer, but the medication causes insomnia.

I move on to thinking about family, where no one comes over because our dog is a wild beast who hates everyone because of some past trauma, so he wants to eat you if you show any fear, but loves you forever if you give him chicken or pepperoni or whatever the flavor of the day is.  The spoiled little shit.  And no one comes over because it’s too far, although we moved here to be closer to family so we could see them more often than when the drive was about 10 hours.  We still see them once in a while.  It’s a little more frequent, but we drive over to them, 30 minutes for one side of the family, 3 or 4 hours for the other side of the family.  We sometimes send each other greeting cards.  I have a birthday card I need a stamp for, for one of my family.  And no one comes over because they have a life and they’re busy living their life.

My immediate family is too busy in their own depressed shit, they don’t want to hear my suggestions for anything, and they treat me about like I get from work- they expect everything, and give nothing.  I did a service project Saturday, vacuumed carpets and mowed the grass on Sunday to spite my back from the service project, and today spent my breaks and lunch emptying the lint filter, the trash and recycling and putting away dishes from the dishwasher and drying rack, and washing all of the pans.  No fucking break.  And when I get home tonight after delivering my son to his social engagement, all the dishes will be dirty again so I get to do it all over again, if I have the motivation.  They love to correct me when my thinking doesn’t match theirs, or shut me up if I have a suggestion, or just flat out tell me “no.”

I move on to work, where co-workers on the same level as me commiserate, but management couldn’t give a half a fuck about me as long as I do my job, but bitch up a storm when I don’t.  Ass holes.  No encouragement, no concern, no cost of living raises, no bonuses, nothing.  And they make it hard to take time off, so why should I even try to schedule it when it’s probably going to be denied, but the whole time they act like it’s my fault and why haven’t I taken it?

So yeah.  When my dear daughter, who sometimes is depressed, cries about her loneliness, I suggested that she contact one of her old friends from High School that she maybe hasn’t heard from in a while.  She cried and said she thinks they’re all too busy living their college lives.  But maybe, I thought out loud, one of her friends is as scared and isolated and lonely as she is, and would just about kill for an encouraging, or funny, or supportive, or bitch-about-life, note, or a call, from a friend or a family member.

Isolation sucks.

So today, I got an email from one of my blogger friends, and she told me about something happy and positive, and I got a good smile and even a little laugh from a picture she sent.  She didn’t have to do that.  But I LOVE her for doing it.

Mrs M., although not offering a resounding response to my last bitch-fest, did, in her own quiet way, affirm that she loves me, and assured me that the rumor I hyperbolized was most emphatically NOT TRUE, despite the wisdom of the Latin saying, in vino veritas.  I’ll have to take her word for it, because I wasn’t there except in my sickened, jealous, possibly overactive, but still uncertain, imagination.

My blogger friends:  IF you can muster the energy to be someone’s encouragement, IF you can get past your own feelings, be that.  The person you show up for may, like me, be in a depressed state because life sucks and isolation sucks and all their friends are busy living life and don’t have time to contact them, and the job sucks, and everything would fall to shit around them if they didn’t do something, but they don’t have any energy to do shit so they just watch the avalanche of shit falling all around them, and on top of them.

On today, when I was seriously surrounded and covered by the avalanche of shit, and would have just about fucking killed for a nice note from a friend because of the above, (she’s going to love/hate me for this) thank GOD, that unvoiced request was granted, and she was the instrument of His peace (see also the prayer, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).

>>>>>>>>

Dear God, It’s me, Deon.  About the other requests… if you can send a few other instruments of Your peace, and soon, I’ll write even more affirming things about answers to prayers in my blog.  Which I really want to do.  Even if the orchestra members show up one at a time, please send them soon.  If you could help Mrs. M. create that resounding reply, and give her the courage to play that, THAT would be completely amazing.

<<<<<<<<<

Anyway, readers, if you can, play your love song for someone, or if it isn’t love, then your like-song.  You may think it’s stupid and not worth playing, but please, play it.  Someone needs to hear it.  It may be off key, but it may be the best song they’ve heard in a while.  If you’ve been isolated and feel lonely, I want you to know that although I’m trapped in a head-high mud (please don’t tell me, I know what it really is made of but I want to be in denial) funk, I’m out here, and I care about you in spite of how trapped I feel.  If I can only make a difference by writing, then so be it- that’s my song, and I’m playing it the best I can, for you.  Forgive a few shitty notes.  I don’t really feel that I play all that well.

DM

“Fuck You” Songs

Today I found a jackpot.  No, not the lottery, not yet at least.  I know many of you know these songs are out there.  So why didn’t you tell ME?  I had to find them on my own!!

As if this list wasn’t enough, it wasn’t complete or exhaustive, and I have to say that because several of the songs weren’t a match to my specific angers tonight.  Call it a mood swing, call it temporary, call it whatever you want, I don’t give a shit.  But wait, there’s more:

Well, to be completely honest, I knew SOME of them were out there, I just didn’t know they were all so neatly cataloged in play lists so I could listen back to back and vent the frustration and rage and everything petty about myself over an extended period of time.  And I didn’t know there were this many awesome “fuck you” songs.

When I got done “crying like a bitch,” over “One of My Turns,” I reached the point of “fuck you.”  I confess, it wasn’t when my wife ignored my polite and pleasant request to please read the email I sent (with the link to the prior blog entry).  That just made me mad.  What tipped the scale to real angry was when my 18 year old “adult” daughter was upset about something she wanted to buy but didn’t know what she really NEEDED, I made a suggestion of someone she should ask for help, and in her stress, she yelled at me. “SHUT UP, DAD!!”  So I shut up.  Didn’t talk before they went to bed,  because it’s better to shut the hell up and not say something I’d regret later.  The Bible says it’s a bad idea to let the sun set while one is raging.

Instead I poured a triple-shot and drank it a little faster than I think I should have, over a piece of leftover cold chicken.  And listened to great music.  I did hear an apology for the fucking “shut up” comment, but it still  kind of pisses me off.  And I was still mad about Mrs. M. not reading my fucking blog that explained my feelings and why I’ve been acting all stand-off-ish for a while, not to mention the event that precipitated me having those feelings, not to mention the events that happened before Mrs. M. was Mrs. M., when she proved she loved some other guy in ways she doesn’t want to prove herself to me.

I have a problem with trust.  I trust people too easily.  I take people’s word for their bond, which proves to be my insanity, because I expect, when I’m promised raises, and a career path, and help finding a well-fitting job in my field of training, and the bullshit that has gone on and on in my life, until with this last job, the last one to be infested with liars and cheaters, I realized it, and now want everything in writing so no one will fucking hire me, so I can’t quit the shitty one to even try to find a better one.  Well, to go back to the present rage and my stupid habit of trusting, she said she loved me, so I believed her.  Well, shit happens, I shouldn’t have expected anything else.  She hasn’t read the email I sent to explain it, but I shouldn’t have expected that either, from my wife who doesn’t read.  How the fuck does a writer hook up with a woman who doesn’t fucking READ?

But wait, there’s more, just not on a playlist yet:
Through with You, Maroon 5
Misery, Maroon 5
Wake Up Call, Maroon 5
Maps, Maroon 5
This Love, Maroon 5
Makes Me Wonder, Maroon 5
Payphone, Maroon 5

I think there are several more creepy sounding songs by the group.  There’s one in particular I can’t remember right now.  I wish I could, it was brilliant and very dark.

I think Adam Levine’s voice is great, and his music is soothing, and his lyrics are creepy as fuck.  If I were writing a collection of “Fuck You” songs I would want someone like him to sing them.  He sings stuff about how much he hates the person he’s singing about and wants to do them bodily harm, or murder them, and it sounds loving and sweet.  He’s one of few singers who could sing them like “I’m singing a love song to you, baby,” set to a light, fun-sounding tune, and the lyrics would be …

I— just want to say— I love you today–
But I— know that it’s true— you’ve got work to do–
To earn my trust, to win my love, to hold my heart, baby.
I want to say that I love you, but I doubt the reverse is true

You— inspire me— Your beauty’s all I can see
But you— always act dissatisfied—I know that you’ve lied
And all that I want is to be loved like I loved you, see?
I found out you’ve loved me less than you used to love somebody else.

I—always wanted you to be—the happiest that you could be
But I— can’t compete with the past—If you love me prove it fast
I’m done with working my ass off trying, just to end up crying
You don’t give a shit what I do, it’s never quite enough for you.

You–you think I’m being a bitch—and how come we aren’t very rich?
You–act like you don’t have a clue–pretend you don’t know what to do
I’m sick just thinking of how long I’ve been wasting my time, baby
Doing anything you wanted, insane, when you won’t do the same.

We—can’t dream we will be— forever after happy
We—don’t talk much any more— not to mention you snore
And pushed me away so often, I wonder if you ever loved me.

I– I don’t even want to know why.   Sometimes I wish one of us would die.
Who—who even cares any more? I’m hurt so much more than sore.
30 years wouldn’t even the score, fix my heart, if you could be bothered to start.
I need someone who loves me a whole lot more than you do.

Fuck!!!!!!!!!

DM (Dead Man) 8/9/18

That Moment When I Learned More Than I Wanted to Know

It was several weeks ago at one of those family things I loathe.  I don’t even want to write it but I have to get this shit out of my system.  It’s been festering a while. We’ll discuss it, I’ll tell her how much she hurt my feelings, how much it hurts every time she pushes me away, how much learning this information hurt me, how it hurts every time she tells me how inadequate I am, and she’ll put it back on me by reminding me how fucking inadequate I am and how I need to get another job and work two jobs, the one I have and a part time one, while I’m finding the third, thus far invisible, elusive job that will miraculously triple my income.  We have two teenage kids, and one is starting college this fall.  She’s on a scholarship, and I pray her grades, and her investments, get her more, because I’ve got both jack-shit AND fuck-all to show for my faithful service to the present job.  For my son, in a few short years from now, I pray the same.

Mrs. M has a way of skating into opportunities and making more money than me at every turn, which is great for her and for us, but the way she holds that over my head calling me a failure kills any shred of extra self-esteem that might come up in my spirit.  Don’t get me wrong.  She works hard, the stress is obvious.  She’s assertive.  She gets what she wants, or believe me, I hear about it.

I used to get by, and get what I needed when I needed it.  I work hard too, but I hate change.  Having a routine is the only thing that keeps me from daily vomit, stress asthma, ulcers, high blood pressure, and whatever other (potentially literal) shit the stress of never knowing what the fuck I was doing would offer.  I used to trust people when they told me about how my career would be going places at [fill in the company name here].  I’d settle in to the comfort of a routine, and then I’d find out later they were using me, taking me for granted, and returning boatloads less than they promised.  The jobs that promised career advancement potential, but the potential was bullshit, the advancement was to more responsibility for the same money.  The people who all said they want to help me, but all they wanted was what they could get from me, and then when they’re done, so am I, and there was never any helping Mr. M.  This even happened when I worked for a few churches., and thus far has always happened when I work as a volunteer.

I hate people who bluff, assert pretend dominance, and then bluff some more, skating their way though life.  They lie and cheat and steal and get more than they deserve, and then they retire early, with benefits, while I stare at them in indignant, and I’m sorry to admit, jealous, amazement.  How the fuck do people get away with that shit?  I also hate people who are selfish, which is just about everyone in the known universe.  Don’t believe me?  Go driving, attentive to being safe and driving purposefully, intent to keep your fellow-drivers safe.  They’ll cut you off in traffic and then hit their brakes, yakking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to why you’re pissed off at them and honking your horn.  Try getting that parking space at the grocery store.  That skinny bitch soccer mom trophy wife with the faded plastic surgery markings will drive her brand new SUV into the spot you’ve been waiting patiently for in your old car, laying on her horn, and acting upset because you were in her way.  I hate people who act like other people only exist to serve them, and who only exist to take that service for granted.  And I hate people who fuck with other people and either pretend they care, or worse, don’t bother to pretend, or worst, pretend they’re not doing anything wrong and it’s somehow the fault of the person getting fucked.  With.

I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M.  She’s a beautiful, amazing woman.  She does everything right.  She wants the best from everybody, and she wants her family to succeed.  She truly cares about people, and helps other people when they need help.  Years ago, a lady she knew was going through a rough time and she stayed attentive, looking for ways to intervene in the circumstances, and her friend landed on her feet and is still doing fine.  That’s just one example; I’ve seen it several times, to varying degrees of help, with lots of people – sometimes she drags me along to help helping out. And she loves me.  I love her too.  And you’re all saying, “awww, how sweet.”  And it is.  It’s mostly worked, for more than 20 years.

And then there was a family dinner party.  It was a fancy thing and her sister and her sister’s husband hosted.  Oh, there was fancy food.  Amazing lobster and fresh raw oysters, and Italian beef, and sausages and lots of other amazing, delicious things.  I’m afraid to eat lobster or oysters, because I think I’m allergic to shellfish.  But there were also drinks, desserts, cookies, coffee, alcohol…  The whole thing was amazing and must have cost a mad fortune.  They do this a couple of times every damn year, not that I’d be jealous or bitter.  Yeah, I’m jealous, but only because of the money, not because they have dinner parties.  I hate dinner parties.

I was talking with someone Mrs M had known basically her whole life, they attended the same schools, that kind of thing, and they’re still pretty close.  And we talked about dinner conversation-type things, the family, friendship, the food, new events, blah blah, blah.  I loathe dinner parties.  Another opportunity for Mrs. M. and me to serve.  We helped with setup, cooking, hospitality (translation, serving in ways I can, just to be nice), and cleanup, because we’re under obligation as part of the family.  Methinks the lady had perhaps a little too much to drink, and out slipped an unmistakable sort-of-half-subtle disclosure about Mrs. M’s past, before she was Mrs. M.

Bless her late mother’s heart.  Her mother was a prude who thought that conservative Mr. M. was enjoying his marriage relationship to her daughter a little too much, so she did whatever she did to put a damper on it.  At least, she heartily discouraged any public display or discussion.  Her mom was Catholic, and behaved as though if such a thing were possible, all of her kids, including Mrs. M., were immaculate conceptions.  Thus, I had always blamed her mom, but nope.  It’s not mom.  It’s Mrs. M.

It seems that in Mrs. M’s past, there was another relationship, which I knew about and had dismissed as irrelevant.  But finding out the little detail is what hurt.  Suffice it to say that Mrs. M. has reinvented herself in our marriage, into someone much more prim and proper, perhaps even prudish like her mom.  But in the former relationship, not so much.  The habit of pushing me away, rejecting my advances, of being socially uncomfortable with public displays, of denying my requests to be treated like I’ve always treated her, all started in her mind sometime before our relationship, but certain things went on in this prior relationship, and I found it out from the little drunken conversation.  Which makes her ongoing and regular rejections, since we’re fucking MARRIED, hurt a lot.  She doesn’t always reject me, but makes it clear she’ll do what she’ll do, and nothing she decides not to do.  At the same time, she expects me to do whatever she wants me to do, and unless I do whatever she wants me to do, she doesn’t do much of anything.  We have discussed this a few times before, and she’s aware of how she’s hurt my feelings through the rejections, long before I found out what I learned at the dinner.  Damned family social gatherings.

So, you’re probably insightful and know without me blurting it all out.  If I were hardhearted, and if I didn’t have so damned much time invested in this relationship, and if there weren’t kids, and if I didn’t have this stubborn desire to keep MY promise that I made when we got married, and if she weren’t so damned amazing and beautiful, and if I didn’t fucking LOVE her, I might just say “fuck this, I’m out.”  Instead, I’m going to express it.

I’m very glad I did not win the lottery right after learning about this, because in the shock of the moment, I might have done the rash and drastic thing, and abandoned ship, finally financially free to do what I want, and to have whatever I want.  Instead, I didn’t win, I know what I really want, and what I really want, is reciprocation from Mrs. M., same as what I have always really wanted.

I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M.  I decided before we were married that I didn’t want to hold any of her old relationship bullshit over her head.  And I really didn’t, except this inadvertent knowledge tells me that in my marriage relationship, I am being treated as though she loves me less than she loved some other guy.  If I didn’t think the lack of reciprocation was fair before, how much more unfair do I think this bullshit is now?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, dear Mrs. M., if you love me less than you loved him, why the fuck did you marry me?  Just say “no, ‘we are never, ever, ever, [going to get] together,’ fuck off and die, you’re a pathetic loser, stop persisting you dumb ass, go fuck yourself, and leave me alone.”  Give a guy a clue before you lead him on and say “I do.”  Or whatever the hell we said at the wedding.  I do vividly recall you declined the “old-fashioned” vow “to love, honor and obey.”  I think you said “cherish,” or whatever, “as long as we both shall live.”  Too late now.  More than 20 years too late, and I’m not leaving.  One of us has to die first, and I have no plans of committing suicide.  Nor murder.  I’d prefer the same from you, so just keep on living and don’t kill me, if you please.  So we have to sort this shit out.

Do you really love me, Mrs. M.?  Do you love me more than the other guy, the guy you didn’t marry?  What I want in the marriage is to feel free, unlike I feel in any other arena of life.  Instead, I’m trapped by pain and frustration and rejection, from the unfair way you’ve treated me.  Our wedding preacher and everyone else we talked to about getting married said it has to be more than 50-50.  It has to be 100-100.  And it’s not.  I’m not putting what you want into the relationship.  Why?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

My feelings are hurt.  I’m deeply hurt, and it’s because of something I found out about quite innocently, quite accidentally, probably unintentionally.  The woman probably thought I thought she was talking about Mrs. M. and I, in our marriage, but I fucking know better.  I have about 18 years or so of hurt to process.  I say 18 because it wasn’t until we had been married a while I started to decide what I wanted.  And the cuts from her habit of rejection that were small and repetitive, since the meal, have been re-sliced open all over again, only much deeper and all at once.  If my heart, and by heart I mean emotions, had any blood left in it, and by blood I mean whatever metaphorical liquid pumps through ones emotions, what’s left is leaking out.  If I thought I was dying inside before, I’m dying faster now.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Um…   Mrs M.?  We need to talk.  Again.  Same discussion as before.  Remember?  It was years ago.  When I said, in one of those rare moments when I wasn’t as resolute in my decision, that if the trend continued we might as well get divorced?  What we have is not good.  Your habit of rejection has me already resorting to the couch more than the bed.  Like the song goes, “I want you to want me.”  But here’s what I found out:  you apparently don’t.  So…what the fuck, Mrs. M.?  Seriously!  What the fuck!?  Everywhere else in my life, I’m supposed to just work my ass off and continually give, and then accept what other people offer me without bitching about how it’s inadequate and not what I really want or need, because other people are selfish and I’m supposed to be the nice guy who politely acts as a doormat for other people to wipe their shitty feet on, accepts whatever they want to offer and act like it’s o.k., and then just wash the shit off to be ready for the next person to take advantage of and use some more.  Please don’t tell me our relationship is the same one-sided bullshit as the rest of my life.  I don’t want to be overly demanding, but I don’t think I’d be out of line to say I think you should start making up for 30 years of lost time, and then some, to apologize for the habitual rejection.

Emasculation ≠ Gender Equality

Back in the very dark ages of the gender wars, say, before 1920, women were quietly and submissively hoping for a better world.  Married women, at least my wife, if she’s an example, know how to quietly and submissively demonstrate how women can live in a marriage.  But they (if my wife is an example) don’t do that.  Instead, they exert a very powerful influence over men (if I am an example).  Don’t go calling me “whipped.”

I heard that!! What the hell did I just say?  HEY!!  STOP LAUGHING!

OK, maybe I’m a little “whipped.”  Shut up.  It means I’m 26 years ahead of my time in the gender struggle.  Or maybe it means I’m not rich or famous enough for anyone to bother accusing of harassment.  It’s not because I’m not annoying enough, but at least I know that.

Although I’m not rich or famous enough to bother with, the question arises, when does flirtation become harassment?  Where’s the line?  As a blogger, when I become a rich, famous novelist, will I be found guilty of harassment for something or some things I’ve written in my blog that are only much later, say, 40 years, after the gender wars have progressed even further, be determined as “inappropriate,” or “harassment?”  I won’t know unless a fellow blogger, or one of my two (maybe three) faithful readers tell me.  What if there’s only one comment I’ve made on a random blog somewhere and I’ve forgotten about it, and no one ever told me they were offended?  When will I be informed of the offense?  Could I be alerted of getting close to crossing that very ambiguous line sometime before I cross it?  Or will the flirtation be returned, such that I think it’s OK until it’s too late?  Or maybe a more pertinent question would be, how much money do I have to have to be worth suing, or accusing?

It’s a cynical line of questioning.

I want to believe the claims because many times, men cross the more obvious lines.  A woman is taken in by his wealth, power, and charming personality, drawn in by the promise of possible opportunity, career advancement, being treated nicely, or whatever else a lady may need of a non-sexual nature from a man.  And a man, being either creepy or completely stupid, is looking for whatever a man may want from a woman, and blunders in thoughtlessly or deliberately.  A woman who wants a career opportunity and may be looking for a good professional reference tries to make friends, and does the normal social and professional things, and the guy is all grope-y, or that and worse.  And then he may or may not offer those opportunities to the lady, based on things going farther than social or professional.  Because I know guys can be creepy, I want to believe.

But I’m sorry, I’m cynical.  I ask the questions.  Was she flirting back?  What were her physical and verbal cues?  How was she presenting herself?  Where are the lines of demarcation for when a woman progresses from social and professional to something more?  How are clueless men (and most are) to interpret a woman’s intentions in the minefield of modern gender warfare?  Is she interested in more than social interaction, but waiting for him to “make the first move?”  Was there an interest back then that went beyond mere social or professional goals, and now years later, with social or political or monetary aims, the interest is being denied?

What I’ve learned from dog training applies here, not that I’d imply that men are dogs.  (read in my sotto voce whisper:  MEN ARE LIKE DOGS!  AND SOME ARE DOGS!)  Any self-respecting dog trainer will tell you that the time to intervene to prevent a dog from acting on his or her impulse, is before they start acting.  So before he lunges, charges and bites the neighbor kid, or snacks on the neighbor’s pet, an owner should distract and divert to a different behavior or give a verbal command, and give a reward for obedience.  Cesar Millan, the “dog whisperer” says dog aggression may not be intended as aggression, but instead is curiosity and excitement.  The same is true for a normal man.  Even though I’m married, if a woman wants to talk to me, I am curious and excited.  If a woman flirts in response to my flirtation, my curiosity and excitement will grow.

If I weren’t so very married, I might lose control of my impulses at some point, and I often wonder what that point is for me, but I don’t want to learn it.  Guys are behaviorally similar to their best friends, but if there’s redirection or correction before things get out of control, I think many of those unfortunate biting episodes could be prevented.  Cesar goes on to say that aggression may be triggered by fear, insecurity, anxiety, frustration, and lack of proper socialization.

Don’t be fooled by the guy’s veneer.  We’re pretending to be stronger than we are.  We’re acting calm, but on the inside we’re close to panic or desperation.  We’re motivated by lack of proper socialization, too.  Show a guy a curvy work of art, and he’s helpless.  He wants to study that work of art, by whatever sensory means possible.  He’ll stare, he’ll sniff, he’ll touch if given the opportunity.  Et cetera.  I’m still studying my wife, and damn! She’s still fascinating after all these years!  Thank GOD I’m married, or in the modern minefield of gender warfare, I’d be a different kind of animal.  I mean man.  I mean person.

I believe the line has to be defined, and then respected, by us guys.  It’s our fault if we do something wrong, and we damned well should know the difference between what’s OK and what’s not.  I know there are women who lead men on, but because I’m a guy I’ll go out on record and say if a guy goes too far, it’s his own damned fault.  Not hers.  But I do understand how guys might feel some confusion on the line of acceptable behavior.

When Jesus gave the simplified commandments, He said the first commandment was to love God, and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself.  We guys have to love our neighbors as ourselves, and learn to treat people with that in mind.  Would we love it if girls ogled us or groped us?  Oh, shit.  Nevermind that line of reasoning.  But we need to think about how our behavior will make our “neighbor” feel, and we want to make them feel loved, respected and appreciated, not objectified, hurt, or taken for granted.  Just as we men want women to make us feel.

When my mother read about gender roles in the Bible, teaching me, she read that thing about women submitting, and then went on to read that thing about how a man should love his wife to death, like Jesus loved the church (See Ephesians 5).  Jesus “loved the church, and gave Himself up for her.”  When my pastor shared Ephesians 5 with us in counseling before we got married, he said “it is the wife’s duty to respect her husband, but it is the husband’s duty to be worthy of her respect.”

I try, but I’m not very good at it very often.

My mother-in-law, (God rest her soul (please)), used to make little jokes about me getting castrated.  “Snip, snip.”  Or whatever.  It came to a point I asked Mrs. M. to ask her to stop.

And this is the point I’m trying to make:  There is a point in the gender war where men aren’t just discouraged from being manly.  Society, not understanding there’s a time to stop, goes past pressing the advantages and advances women have made in society, goes too far, and men are neutered.  Men are expected to not act like men.  Well, when a dog is told not to bark or growl, biting is the next dog-like behavior, so they resort to that.  At what point, in telling men to not act like men, does a man resort to another male behavior?

If I haven’t gone on record yet, although I think I have, let me do so now:

I firmly believe that any man who rapes or beats a woman should have a fitting punishment as a consequence, to insure they learn the behavior is unacceptable and to insure they don’t exhibit that behavior ever again.

That being said, I am against the modern trend of social castration.  My mother-in-law hinted at this trend, three generations ago.  My wife often demonstrates a great understanding of having learned from her, and when she does, I fucking hate it, despite my deep love for her.  Men shouldn’t be expected or taught to act like women.  We aren’t women.  We don’t need to be taught how to act like we aren’t men, with masculine traits, masculine thoughts, masculine drives and masculine wants.  Instead, we need to be taught how to be better men.  We need to be taught impulse control.  We need to be taught proper boundaries and proper approaches to proxemics.

Glance at the curves for a half a second, but don’t be hypnotized!  Look away!  Her eyes are attractive too.

A Lesson for Guys in Poem Form:

Study words from her lips,
not the sway of her hips,
Notice hair, what she says,
don’t stare at her legs,
No matter what your brain says,
Never presume she means “yes,”
If you’re married, keep her,
Stir her heart with ardor,
Men, always keep your wits,
no matter how cute she is.

I know what you thought that last line would say.  And you’re right.  Everything women are, that’s different than what men are, is amazing, beautiful, charming, delightful, and exciting.  But the differences aren’t just skin-deep.    Guys, learn what’s ticking in her brain before you try to learn anything more, attraction notwithstanding.  There’s more to relationships than just sex.  What do you do after that?  What do you do before that?  What do you do instead of that?

Ladies, give us a clue before screaming to castrate us.

Guys, unless she marries you, it’s a minefield.  Tread cautiously.  And if you’re rich, get a prenuptial agreement before those nuptials.

It’s the Little Things

Yeah, I’ve got things to be thankful for even as I had to prepare to work today.  Yippee.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, I should be sleeping off Triptophan and whiskey while Mrs M spends money I don’t have on things I don’t want for Christmas “because they’re on sale.”  I’ve got a garage full of things and I can’t fit my car in there, but yesterday I ran across bath toys my kids haven’t used in …10 years?  Does that make them “vintage,” so I can sell them on e-bay and make my millions?  I fear not.

The little things, I’m thankful for them and despite being depressed in general about life events and being barely afloat unless I decide to fix my teeth and set myself back a few thousand, or until one of the cars breaks again (and sets me back a few thousand more).  I say “more,” because we really got drive-shafted last time I tried to keep my old car running relatively safely.  It was a “classic,” a vintage model POS.  You know the type, they cost a ton and the check engine light pops on right after you get it home from the mechanic, or “the razzafrazz chiklitzerings need replacing or it won’t be safe to drive.  It’s pretty urgent.  Those things could break any time, and you could be stranded on the side of the road, and you don’t want that.”  Or the tires spin on 1/16″ of water so God forbid it should snow.  The car shop “fixed” the car once, and it broke down almost immediately and we paid them to “fix” it again, whereupon it broke down a third time, and we declined their services and traded for another used POS.  And we get what you get when you trade one POS for another:  another person’s problems became our problems.  I’m currently driving a newer model POS, so I’m thankful for it, despite the need for two new tires, and the damned check engine light being on, and the back doors randomly locking, and the window motor being broken so unless I keep vigilantly pulling the damned window up MANUALLY it leaks.  I put one palm on the outside, the other palm on the inside, and give the thing an upward jerk (fml, I’m an upward jerk!).  Anyway, the car before the other old car was a REAL POS, and we wasted going into serious debt before realizing the auto repair people were racketeers and we were never going to get the thing working well enough, so we cut our losses a few thousand too late.

We try to be trusting.  But we learned, I hope.  It’s just, we’re STILL trying to dig our way out, and actual cost of living has nothing to do with income, and merit raises have nothing to do with actual merit at my company.  There’s a list of repairs on the cars to be made, my wife drives a POS brand Minivan that has rusted to the point a jack won’t raise it from the side to change a tire.  It broke through the rust last time I tried, in a few places.  It’s possible a board on top of the jack would distribute the weight better among the rusted spots, but I’m not holding my breath.  If she gets a flat out on the road, I fear we’re screwed and it has to be towed somewhere.  Plus, the jack is too tall to accommodate a board and still fit under when the tire is flat and the car is lower.  Yay, car fun.

If I weren’t so blessed I wouldn’t have these first world problems to deal with.  God provides a minimum.  We can afford a little less than the rest of what I believe we need, which I chafe at thinking that I don’t need what I think I need.  There was a generous shot of whiskey, sufficient to make yesterday’s celebration that much more festive for me, and I am grateful.  The good people at a local church have provided us with some food, I am grateful.  Insurance has been granted for another year for our daughter, so I am grateful, as she uses a number of medications and is hopefully learning from a counselor that provides.  Our cars are running, in the style of Penny’s from Big Bang Theory, that is to say, with the check engine lights on.  And we were provided a car for our daughter somewhat miraculously, when it was time for that.  So I am grateful.

But what I want, and what I think I need, is to be enabled to move on to something greater.  (See also John 14:12, from a guy who’s not very good at John 14:15)

I hear some people say there’s a “calling” for their lives.  Am I missing it, or am I here?  And if I’m here, what am I supposed to do?  Maybe I’m here to encourage.  And I’m grateful for people online who care, we are a great community.  I try to be encouraging.  Even when I am feeling none of it.  I spend time when you come to mind, praying for you individually and as a group.  I know Christ-followers say they do, and I’ve been guilty of saying and not doing, but I really do pray for our circle.

I know, even when we have to grin and bear it, or cry and hate it, or vent because no one else will listen, I can.  And I know, even when my heart wants to deny the realities and benefits of my faith, at my core I do believe in a God Who cares.  Life is more than food and clothing (and cars and other shit that falls apart Matthew 6:19, 31-34).  There’s a spiritual component, an eternal component, and we need to be aware of this and handle that business too.

I’m encouraged and grateful for the confidence I have in eternal and spiritual things that goes deeper than I can believe.  Even if the world is completely wrong (and it often is) God still cares and helps me through the lost feelings I often have because the world is completely wrong. (To minimize the reading requirement above, verses 18-24 are really enough to understand, confusing as they can be when life is upside down or sideways.)

I know verses 16 to 18 are there, and I could let that upset me.  Oh, sure, sometimes I let it, but I know I shouldn’t.  It could be a communication issue, because my Christ-following “brothers and sisters” don’t seem to understand well enough (or perhaps are less innocent than just not understanding, but who am I to accuse?) to help.  They don’t know what I really need, because I don’t know what I really need.  And when I have tried to communicate it, I’ve had empty promises or confusion or less than I thought I needed.  I’m grateful for the help I received at that particularly low period in my life.  I have one friend at church who seemed to understand, when I hit that very humiliating and crushing low and reached out.  Actually, Mrs M reached out, because I didn’t think I should, I thought that God should answer my cry for help.  But after that, when another low came, I found out I have a group of “friends” who are in authority who told me they already helped us once, and I should “just” get a better job to cure my esteem problem and my depression problem and my poverty problem all in one fell swoop.  Which would be great, but the “funny” (not very funny) part is, I gave the friend (a deacon) who seemed to understand a resume, WITH my educational credentials and history of volunteer service, but I’m not considered a good candidate when a (paid) pastoral staff position opens.  So, is that really a “friend,” or just a good actor?

And I also know verse 22 is there, and I could let that upset me because I don’t have “whatever I ask,” but I know I shouldn’t.  There are those annoying conditions I’m supposed to meet before we receive whatever we ask, and I know I don’t because I’m not that good at “keep[ing] His commands and do[ing] what pleases Him.”  I’m well-intentioned, but sometimes I’m better at the opposite, or at doing little to nothing, depending on my energy level.

But if I can care about people here online, and sometimes succeed at encouraging others, and sometimes succeed at actually helping others in some tiny ways, in spite of feeling like I’m basically useless, worthless, and helpless at my own life, why can’t I do that in real life, and only here online?

Welcome to The Bipolar Online Church!  I’m pastor Deon Mumple, and I’m here to care about you, and pray for you, and if I can, help you, in the name of Jesus.  Let me know.  I will absolutely do what I can, and will absolutely pray for the rest.  I’ve seen some unexpectedly oddly twisted answers in response to some prayers, and marvelled, despite the lack of very many resoundingly complete answers that I wanted toward any prayers I’ve made for myself.  And thank you for caring about me too- I’ll just presume you do if you’ve bothered to read this far in, whether you are a Christ-follower or not.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I hope you have enough of the little things to be grateful for, in spite of any First (or second, or third) world problems we may face.

With those little things, I hope it was enough for you to have had a good Thanksgiving holiday celebration.  And I hope the weekend is restful enough for us to be on track for a good week to follow.

Blessings.

Deon (the not very reverend) Mumple