menstuff

THE SELF DEVELOPMENT TRAP


Here’s a trap you may not have thought much about:

EXTERNALIZING RESPONSIBILITY

How? the self development rabbit hole.

That’s when you are so consumed by the overwhelming amount of information available online through posts by “influencers” and especially by YouTube “gurus,” as well as an overabundance of books and blogs and essays written to inform you of what you didn’t know. Never ending rabbit holes

Why don’t I allow links to the above in my groups? Now you know. Why over-complicate things?

Not only do I refuse to act as a funnel for every two bit online entrepreneur (though there are some good ones as you know) who has watched a few Tony Robbins videos and attended Date with Destiny (Happy Birthday to Tony by the way), I cannot in good conscience sanction post and links I have not personally vetted for quality. And for simplicity’s sake, I wouldn’t anyway.

I take my responsibilities seriously and do my best to provide a forum from which men can relate to each other as men, while adding content to both teach and encourage discussion, in addition to what group members post.

When guys have a question I think it will serve the group, I post something. Many subjects I have at least a good understanding about and some  things I know in-depth.

These are not off-the-cuff ramblings made by a glib marketer who has speed-read a book here and there, or videos done in one take in front of a laptop camera. Instead, posts are evidence-based, by research and training, and added to by personal experience and a long history of helping others. That said, back to my point:

You can spot the guys in the throes of externalizing responsibility for their personal growth by the latest and greatest recommendations they often espouse, without any evidence they are doing much work on themselves.

I’m not saying that is you. I am saying to be on the watch for this incidental cost to self-development:

A tendency to become lost in a never-ending story of ever-increasing fractions of improvement.

It’s no wonder some guys do nothing much, slowing their progress. Our eyes see out and we look to the environment for simple solutions to our problems. Given the overwhelming amount of information out there, it’s not surprising to see this paralysis of thinking in the well-intended, a guy who just wanted to make life better for himself and the people around him. Admirable goals for sure.

So, this post is to encourage you to keep it simple.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” Victor Frankl

I advise this progression:

The body: The body is the universal address of your existence.

If you are not sleeping well, everything else is going to be half-measures. Learn self-hypnosis and defeat insomnia. Anyone can do it. I have a cheap course on it I often give my clients access to, not because it’s particularly comprehensive but because it contains the 12 ways which I personally used to take myself from a raging 20 year insomniac to quality sleeper in three months.

I still use the techniques.

Now, I can nap by the side of a highway now… with trucks roaring by. Come on…

When my son was born in a high-risk delivery room full of beeping machines and nurses talking and coming in and out, I figured it’d be a long while and so, sat in a chair, just feet away from her bed.

And, I was out like a light in a minute or two. What I did was pretend to be in a submarine and used the surrounding noises as “deepeners” while I went down, down, down in a rapid descent in my imagination into the cold blackness of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.

WALLY , YOU’RE GOING TO MISS IT” was what woke me a few minutes later. I’d forgotten the second pregnancy delivery often comes faster because her parts are now, “broken in” …

It’s why I demand my clients hit the body somehow. Martial arts, burpees, walking, gym time and body weight exercises. It all starts with the body. The brain needs oxygen and exercise makes the brain work better and longer. Intensive cardio in short intervals will extend your whole operating system.

It can make the difference between dying in your sleep at the end of your time, or suffering a long decline plagued by debilitating physical illness and heartbreaking cognitive decline. You don’t want that. I repeat, you don’t want that.

It is sleep that allows diet and exercise to be healthful. Get that right first.

And so. diet is also a key part of your self-development lest you race ahead and forget another fundamental. That would be like building a house without a proper foundation. Do you put diesel in your gasoline powered car? Diet gentleman.

Quote:
“If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.” Walt Whitman

The spirit: The soul is where you carry your potential and possibilities; the spirit is its voice.

This is where you found the wherewithal to even consider changing the approach to life you have now. It’s your yearning to overcome, to survive and thrive. It’s the quiet voice inside you insisting you have more to give than you presently allow. The spirit speaks for the soul.

Oh yes, you have a soul, some say reclaimed by Kant from the rationalists in the 18th century.

What I can tell you is we know epigenetic influences on ancestral DNA is passed down through your DNA methyl groups. Subsequent generations are affected by the ones which preceded them at a cellular level.

That the existence of similar mythologies in ancient times around the world in cultures which had no contact with each other is irrefutable evidence of mankind’s collective unconscious. We are also all afraid of the dark, of heights, etc.

And we now know that the brain operates predictively based on messages from your body (interoception). But more importantly, based  your databank of prior experience (what else was it supposed to go on) all way back to your birth. This is all done subconsciously to inform the brain of the best-guess state to put you in to meet the circumstances before you, and then corrects afterwards according to the social reality present before you.

But it’s that databank of mostly subconscious experience states I find interesting.

I’d suggest these together might constitute what we suspect is our soul.

After all, our operating system is set up in such a way that focus is a super power of being. We can only allow tiny bits of stimulus to enter our minds and disregard most of our experience. We clearly carry some of our past with us and I’d argue that past might be centuries long and perhaps goes back to all of mankind’s existence as a species.

Contrast your environment with that whatever pre-existing programming you arrive in this world with (such as inborn temperament), which would contain the blueprints to your potentials and possibilities, and an argument for something like a soul becomes stronger.

A good part of which was imparted to you at the very moment of your inception by a universe of infinite wisdom.

I’d go further and suggest each of us has a voice within which calls to us. It is unquestionably loudest in childhood but is quieted or silenced while we learn to conform to the demands of the adult groups around us and adapt to environmental circumstances.

But it never really goes away does it? Often we can have at least an inkling of its presence if not hear it whispering, urging us on… to become more, to rise and faces challenges. This is true in times of pain. Often, it’s what allows light to shine through clouds of darkness.

It is the over-comer, the fight-backer, the rise to challenges challenger.

Your spirit is an indomitable part of you, the voice of your soul.

A quick example is addictions, which is both physical and mental, and which I characterize as a denial of spirit. An addiction is a mistaken refusal to honour your God-given (Universe-endowed) obligation to contribute your uniqueness to your environment. It’s an abdication of your King energy, a descent into shadow. There can be many reasons for it, all stress induced, and overcome with guidance.

Quote:
“Be curious, and however difficult life may seem there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.” Stephen Hawking.

The people: Compassion for others helps you have compassion for your self, and vice-versa.

Neither understanding nor taking responsibility for our relationships leaves us confused and often angry. All our disappointments are driven by our expectations.  Buying into the myth of  mother’s unconditional love and projecting that need onto the adult members of our tribe leaves us weak and ineffective. Worse, it brings us their contempt.

Refusing to honour the fundamental order which drives the masculine and feminine energies is at best frustrating, at worst, a disaster. Women’s model for love is the powerful father, yours the maternal energy imperfectly showered upon you by mom.

Staying away from the comparative harshness of men leaves you soft and immature, a boy in a man’s body. Agreeableness is either an adaptation for maternal care at one end of distribution or an adaptation for predatory aggression at the other. Male disagreeableness has been brought under social control in a goal directed collective and drives your competitive spirit. Stop being so agreeable.

Embracing masculine maturation in full soon brings with it a powerful sense of self. A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom. A man’s relationships should come from his power as a man and never be his power. If not her, someone else. If not them, others.

Quote:
“Les femmes aiment les coqs. Elles essayent d’en faires des poules, mais elles preferent les coqs.” – Old French maxim

“Act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” Imannuel Kant

The work: a man must have his own mission and let his purpose find him.

Men build and defend things. We can quickly move from a small group to working within an ever-increasing larger group of other men working on a common goal. It doesn’t matter if that is defending the walls of our city or the borders of our nation. It doesn’t matter if it is building a business, a local shelter for the homeless or a barn for a neighbour. We cooperate.

Men build cultures and women stress-test them. Men work best as a competitive team, women work best in pairs.

Men operate at a more superficial level emotionally, can repress feelings with ease, experience less fear and worry, and have no problem deferring power to the expert among us who has expertise and knowledge in a subject. It’s why there are no true alphas with human males.

If you are stuck on a lonely country road in the middle of the night in butt-fuck nowhere, your muscles and your money count for squat. The only alpha in the circumstances is the fella driving the tow-truck who comes to your rescue.

SO, my call to you is to be careful of using self-development as camouflage for progress. Lip service, they call it.

If you find yourself starting and stopping projects, reading books halfway, doing exercises half-ass or not finishing them, here’s your wake up. Haven’t finished the book? Read it first. Haven’t done the exercises? Do those first.

Haven’t even started to read the book that is sitting on your shelf? Come on, what are you thinking? Don’t buy one until you have finished the previous one.  Have you joined one of my Saturday groups? What are you waiting for?

Quote:
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Frederick Nietzsche

The woods: Give me an ax and point me to the forest and I will go and build a life.

You are a man. Expendable and wonderful. We are here for you. Your role in society is glorious and underpins the whole of it. Never apologize for being a man nor allow public trends to change your essential masculine nature. The answer to problems with masculinity is more masculinity, not less.

But mark my words: being a man, no one is coming to rescue you. It’s a bit as if you are lost in the woods and you must find your way home. People may not even notice you are missing. That’s part of a man’s sometimes lonely journey.

Yet, from when you were a little boy you were hardwired to stand side by side with other men and fight enemies. Other men can help so much with this as we provide each other guidance…  but the walk is yours alone.

During peacetime, usually the enemy is within.

Fight on solders, fight on brothers.

A last quote: “Nobody ever knows the whole of anything.” Robertson Davies

Stay powerful, never give up
cw
©2019 Christopher K Wallace
All rights reservedNew
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NATURE’S EDGE: valued women

NATURE’S EDGE: valued women

You will often read me saying women are more valued by nature and that men are the expendable sex. Sometimes a guy thinks this means I am putting women on a pedestal. Of course, this is nonsense. It’s as if they are saying unless you have contempt for women, you are glorifying their existence. Bullshit.

Perhaps we should glorify each other, which is more in line with what what I teach, and that is a long way from pedestalizing women. Don’t be a fool about that but we should look for opportunities to appreciate each other. A lot. I just realize women’s value is a biological reality and I will tell you why: I see examples of gynocentric favouritism all over the planet in both the animal and human kingdom.

For example, there will probably always be rape. It is why women will never be able to walk the streets in the night anywhere half dressed expecting no one will molest them. It’s not fair but then again, life is often not fair. There will likely always be some lesser value male who cannot compete for females effectively who resorts to stealing something of value from a woman, with tragic results.

It is also why women have been “spoils of war” since forever. There is not a culture on the planet where women have not suffered in war because of their value, and either been raped and killed or become captive slaves or concubines for a conquering army. Note, this goes on around the world to this day, for example in Nigeria and the Syrian caliphate war of late.

Look up any Indigenous tribal culture and raiding for women was rampant. In one wonderful book in my library, A Stolo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas, it details how rival tribes used the tides to raiding advantage heading up the Fraser River in the south of British Columbia.

In what used to be freshet flooded plain between the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, BC, the natives who lived there became known as “people of the reeds,” because they would run really fast over the swamp, knowing just where to step, and escape into the hills, They bought extra time by seemingly walking on water while their pursuers would stop and sink into the bog where they could be killed by warriors lying in ambush.

In the old growth forests overlooking the plain, the tribe had constructed hiding places, camouflaged earthen caves dug into the mountain where women and children would wait while the men fought the intruders.

Women have value, and that value is sought after by men. Put all the men over here in one group and all the women over there in another group and soon you will see the men drift towards the women. It’s an irresistible pull, a natural force of nature itself programmed deeply in mankind’s psyche.

It’s why when the Titanic went down, we put women and children in the lifeboats first. It’s the first thing honourable men protect in a society: women and children.

That doesn’t put them on a pedestal but just recognizes this truth. The w.o.w. effect (women are wonderful) is a measurable reality. Right or wrong.

So is a woman’s other side, her tendency to compete covertly using mean remarks, social exclusion and by trying to win over your friends and allies. Her power can be abusive when it’s turned against you.

Neither is recognizing abuse of empathy as her birthright pedestalizing her.

I’m older, experienced and more educated than my missus—all things which count for fuck-all when we argue.  It’s recognizing her power and according it respect. Value judgments are secondary to appreciating how she is made and operates.

Get bitten by anything in the animal kingdom and the chances are it will have been by the female of whatever species. From mosquitoes to lionesses, females are survivors of the fittest kind first and foremost.

There are key differences between men and women. Don’t listen to the social constructionist “move to androgyny” narrative prevalent in western society. Equality of opportunity is one thing, but generally men and women are too different to be considered equals. This post is about her value to nature, so I won’t go over our many differences. It is enough to say the case is strong nature makes her more valuable than men and that men, therefore, are more expendable.

There are good and bad in both sexes, and context is everything. Using scarcity—a widely accepted measure of value—women are more valuable based of their shorter fertility window alone. She has roughly 20 good years, between ages 15 to about 35, before risk to her and baby go way up.

Men have triple or more her fertility period. I’ve already told you about the 90-year-old farmer in Rajasthan who fathered a baby girl with his fourth wife in 2007. I myself am 62 with an eight-year daughter and six-year old son. Women can’t do that and if they do, it makes international news.

Heck just look out at the bird feeder and see the male Cardinal in his bright red plumage (or most other songbirds). Meanwhile, the female is more buff coloured. If a Sparrow Hawk (American Kestrel) happens to catch the couple unawares, he’s getting it first. That is expendability.

This same male expendability is reflected in society where men are 90+% of workplace deaths, up to 95% of deaths from war, etc. These are all things you know. To think men are not the expendable sex is to deny reality. Seems to me we can accept this with grace and make the best of it, or we can whine about it.

We are also far more likely to die in childbirth and die earlier in life. Our life expectancy is less than a female life expectancy.  There are  more developmentally challenged men as well as more bright ones at the two ends of a Bell curve. Women cluster more safely in the middle of distribution.

I agree there were constraints on women in days of yore that do not exist today. This is largely irrelevant to this discussion and so I’ll skip the presentism to theorize about the merits of old cultural norms.  But it’s also true that: “Ont as tous les qualites de nos defauts.” Translated:  “We all have the faults of our qualities.” Both sexes are good and bad. On that we are equal.

I’d like to see more discussion in society about women’s and men’s preferences and differences but without the blaming (and anger). I also think a man can get stuck considering these things and embrace a disdain for women, and I see evidence of this every day. If your view of women rings with contempt, I suggest that is an unsettled part of your personal maturation as a man. Same goes for women.

Just as men have great gifts of aggression, sometimes this gets the better of us. In one context aggression is critical, in another it’s a detriment. An aggressive man who wants to fight you is one thing, one that will back you up in a fight is entirely another isn’t it?

A woman who can maneuver covertly and win over people to her cause is a bitch when it goes against you. But when she uses her power in your favour. it’s more than tolerable, it’s encouraged. I’ve seen this too many times to discount it. Context.

I have spent the last few decades learning sex differences as a result of being disappointed with my father when I mentioned I was having a hard time understanding women. He answered, “You’re not supposed to,” which I thought was weak as fuck. Resolving to do just that I found my father was wrong: we can understand each other, and it’s not that hard.

I have been following along from a behavioural science viewpoint while observing how women work through my relationship with Gallup and as a Strengths Coach.  As VP for the largest paid sales newspaper company in the world where ran teams of teens and young adults in close quarters for a couple of decades—giving me access to a live lab of sorts.

I was never a red pill type, but I listened to Tom Leykis in the early 2000s for a few months and saw the reality many men were facing (with the traditions of womanhood, shall we say, long on the wane). I also lived through feminism’s heyday, something I find contemptible now. Well intentioned but mistaken idealists I call them.

I just think the answer is to know our strengths and weaknesses on each side of the gender energy divide. I’m aware of women’s faults, but also appreciate her gifts. I’m aware of men’s faults but appreciate his gifts. We are a team, and a people, and knowing our tendencies and proclivities is critical to having any chance at winning any kind of game, the game of life included.

I’m not intimidated by either gender’s powers gone awry; nor am I deterred from finding the awe on each side. That’s the thing about male maturation. If you are to become an elder of your tribe, as a man you will need to discover the inter-connectedness of all things, including this energetic female force you may presently find so befuddling.

Men and women have been banding together since the dawn of time to benefit from each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses. If we were the same, if she were more like me, there would be no need for each other. Think about that for a moment: what kind of egocentricity demands others be more like us?

Fact is, her depth and wider perception balance out your narrowness and single-mindedness. Her power with people and your power with things are what makes you an unbeatable team. Striking a balance which respects differences while recognizing each other’s value and place in the natural order of things is what makes the pair bond interesting and rewarding. What’s bad about her? Instead, try: what’s good about her? Men lead; women command.

It is only when a man is fully secure in his power that he can appreciate the intricacies of his relationships and see magic in those around him. You must push yourself to find this wellspring of strength, even if it is pain which motivates your quest for consciousness is slow. So little of your existence makes its way into awareness that each small realization is a gift of body and mind and heart.

This is what a man’s power really is: it is agency over his being. It’s him taking the hidden parts of soul and the quiet voice of spirit and finding and living his potential and possibilities. You have a bigger mission in life than just understanding women. Make that part easy.

Find it early, find it late, we must all find love.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©2019, Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to men, mentor at large

BOOK YOUR FREE CALL HERE

The rose breasted grosbeak at my feeder. The darker male has white and black colours with a rose breast while the female sitting on top of the feeder just blends into the background and is barely visible…

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JUST ONE THING

JUST ONE THING: re-establishing devotion
Sometimes, it gets to the point between a man and a woman where she feels she can no longer rely upon him, and this is a problem. The pact she makes with the universe to choose the right guy is put into doubt.

This is especially true when a woman has children. This is her Hero’s Journey. For a woman to go through childbirth and create life is a situation that can only be called heroic. How many men can even fathom this?

A century ago, her risks of dying during childbirth were great. My great-grandmother died at age 40 giving birth to twins. For three days the women of Truro, Nova Scotia took turns sopping up blood with towels in shifts until she died. It affected generations of Wallace men. Women still die giving birth today.

We should never take for granted their struggle. And, once the kids are born, there are countless sleepless nights and diapers and suckling and it just goes on for years! My boy was born with some challenges and I can say he would not be alive today at almost six years old without my woman. She says he’s her little bear, and for now, he’s all hers and she is his. There will be time to make him King later.

Outside of war, it can be argued her challenge is as great as any man’s, maybe far more. How many men cry when the baby comes out after witnessing the birth of a son or daughter like the modern practice calls for? I didn’t, but I would not look down on any man who did. Fact is, mothers are heroes.

And her journey, like all Hero’s Journey’s involves subjugating her own existence for the sake of another’s. It’s a sacrifice in service of a greater good. Sound familiar? All the heroes do this down through time. A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom. You and I need to seek ways to do this. She only must have a baby.

Women are way ahead of us gentleman, in the nurturance and giving departments, by far. While it’s true they are also sexual human beings, if there is a man-child in the house, expect the resentment to build over time. She needs a powerful man, not a boy as a partner. Nice guys are boys. |

I was one, admittedly, and I wish I knew then what I know now. It may not have changed anything, but it might also have made ALL the difference in the world. I regret I’ll never find out because we let trust go too far, irretrievably far.

I can tell you this go around I am all man and she is happy… and shows it. I have earned her loyalty.

How to recover? Assuming there has been no cheating, where trust is fundamentally broken on both sides, is there a way back? Maybe. All she wants is a powerful man. She takes a HUGE risk on whichever man she chooses because she has twenty good years of fertility, and she spends most of those years caring for little ones so can’t prepare for old age like a man can.

Think there is nothing to the feminist rant about these things? Think again.

I’ve had guys see success using this simple strategy I’m about to share with you to regain their wife’s trust. It doesn’t always work but it’s a wonderful exercise, nonetheless. Get this, I use this at home every so often to mid things up and everything is going great. And don’t tell me you don’t want my life because I assure you that you do (your version of it).

Here’s what I think is worth a shot:

Guys start and first ask their wives, “what’s one thing I can do for you today?” and then do it. Doesn’t matter how small a thing, just get it done. Fix a drawer that gets stuck, repair a light, tile that needs cementing, a bike tire that is flat, drop off a parcel or pick up dry cleaning, whatever it is just do it. Doesn’t matter if it takes until five minutes to midnight, get it done. Then say nothing. NOTHING. ZERO. FUCK ALL. NOT A WORD.

Next day, one more thing. ONE THING and NO expectations, NO looking for points, NO pat on the head, NO sniffing for pussy or angling for compliments. NOTHING. If she says thanks, it’s “your welcome” and NO smile, NO lingering eye contact, just GO about your business.

You ask: “what’s one thing I can do for you?” and add it into your schedule. Don’t bat an eye.

Next day, one more thing. Just one. And it’s not, “is there anything I can do for you today?” because that’s a trap. It’s always, “what’s one thing I can do for you today?” Said just like that. Matter of fact, no emotion. Like you are asking her to pass the salt. Write it in your book, phone or schedule and be on your way.

SO now, you do it. You take care of your job, your gym time, your children, and your whatever else responsibilities, AND this one thing for her. Just one thing. That’s it, that’s all—no more, no less.

DO this for as long as it takes. JUST DO IT. Stop trying to predict the future. Stop trying to weight the pros and cons. Stop trying to balance fairness and make it transactional. STOP ALL THAT.

Just do the one mother fucking thing every day and forget about it. FUHGETABOUTIT…

Do it for a month. Do it for two months. Do it for three months. If she hasn’t kicked your sorry ass out of the house and you are still there in month four, do it all that month too.

I’m not saying this will work for you. I’m saying I’ve seen it work for dozens of men in my time. Not all, but some of them probably bullshitted as to if they did it perfectly or consistently… or at all.

A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom.

What part of that don’t you understand? It’s about service. Living is giving.

And the guys who do this find that their women respond. Not right away, she’s too smart for that. She’s been gamed before by the universe, most notably when she chose you. She needs a track record of service like she has a track record of service to her children. You are not one of her children, and that was the problem.

No woman can love a man unconditionally, and it’s best to disabuse yourself of this expectation for good. Oh, maybe she can muster it for a short time, but don’t get sucked in by this, not one bit. Your mother didn’t (bless her heart) love you unconditionally and neither can your woman.

We band together as man and woman for mutual need, to shore up each others’ weaknesses while benefiting from each other’s strengths. It’s about surviving against a harsh world. No one has time for white flags.

One of your strengths is supposed to be your power.  Her archetype for love is the powerful father. It’s a gal’s first love and she will never lose this need for the masculine’s powerful love. You were gamed by your mother’s love and it left you searching for her in your partner. My missus has some of my mother’s qualities, but can she love me like my mother could? Ha! Not my missus. Can’t happen. In fact, she loves me just as my mother did, conditionally disguised as unconditional but clearly conditional.

Don’t be fool.  The boy must leave his mother to become a man.

In time, the men who have consistently applied this strategy have reported good results. Some guys save their marriages. It’s because as they get lost in the daily habit of doing just that one thing for their partner, the joy of service to each other returns to the pair bond. That’s where the sacrifice lies. Would I die to save my woman from harm? Of course, I would, I’d easily defend her to the death!

Then, why wouldn’t I do one thing for her? Each day.

Sometimes a few days or weeks or months go by before she starts to respond. “Here, I sewed that shirt you ripped last year,” she says as she hands you a bundle of material and turns and walks away. That’s a test, a shit test if you like. Or maybe it’s something else, but her nature, her very nature is to nurture, for God’s sake. You think if you give her an opportunity to do what she is best at it won’t surface? Chances are it will.

Don’t count on it. If her one thing is “sign these divorce papers giving me the house,” see a lawyer. Don’t be stupid. Don’t jump off a bridge because someone told you to. You may have heard your mother tell you that.

But if you can re-establish service, you often can re-establish why you got together in the first place.

Almost 70% of things in a marriage are not resolvable. My wife hides shit. Changes where she puts stuff. Opens something and leaves everything right where she opened it. Used to drive me nuts. She couldn’t take a picture of me and the kids worth saving. And, the house was not up to my standards. It’s not that I’m Felix from the Odd Couple, but I like stuff to go where it’s supposed to go, so I can find it again.

So, I bought her an expensive camera for Christmas one year. She’s frugal. What does she do? She opens a photography business and learns to take pictures. We live on two hundred acres and soon she has people over posing in front of our artisan well, the apple blossoms in spring, the old rail fences, etc. Her goal was to pay for the camera. She’s been at it for three years now and has added to her income every season. Camera has paid for itself twenty times over, and it was a gift! She takes great pictures of me and the kids now. She’s a whiz at photoshop.

Once the kids were in school, she searched for something she could do, yet still be able to cancel at any time. She tried having daycare kids over last summer but didn’t like it. One kid was a handful and despite my help at times when he acted up, she lost her taste for it.

She starts cleaning houses for $25-30 bucks an hour. I shut up, remembering what happened with the camera. Holy shit, wouldn’t you know it, not only was her calendar full of happy customers, it shows at home where she elevated her game and lowered her tolerance by several degrees. I just stay out of her way and never complain about her approach.

She still hides my shit though. “You can’t always get what you want,” goes the Rolling Stone’s song, “but if you try sometimes, you will find, you get what you need.” Indeed.

We train each other. And the magic is in having a little more awe for our partners. Awe, that sense of being small in front of the stars, or the majesty of a mountain, the distance of the sea. A man with a loyal woman by his side has the wind at his back… but must stay out in front of her to feel it. Holding space in your heart for awe when it comes to your partner is part of what makes it all worthwhile.

Just do one thing, selflessly. Women command, men lead. Do it because you can. Not because you have to, not for any reason other than you are a man and you can do this one thing every day for this woman.

It’s what men do.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

CHRIS WALLACE
Advisor to Men

©CKWallace July, 2019 all rights reserved
Book time with the Advisor to Men here

ASSHOLE: accepting criticism


  1. So, I once knew a guy, we’ll call him Bill, and as he’s growing up, all kinds of shit goes on leaving him living with shame. Dad hits him often, told him how “disappointed”  he was with him almost every day. Seems like the only time he got attention from his mom was when things went wrong.  Only, he doesn’t know this lousy feeling inside of him is shame because he has internalized things so deeply, he thinks it must be the same for everyone.

It’s funny how that works, but how could it not? “I’m a human, you’re a human, we must be the same,” is a fair conclusion to make. “If I feel this then you must feel this and so this is how we all feel,”  is how a kid might think under the circumstances.

He doesn’t pay much attention to life and how it seems kind of shitty. There always seems to be someone telling him no, or some good reason he can’t get what he wants, usually because he comes up short somehow. It’s him, he knows it, and he gets the message loud and clear, over and over. You are not enough, it says.

This pisses him off. He sees others who do seem to get the things he wants and wonders if there is something  to gaming the system. He starts to compare more and more, and he concludes there is no justice between men. It`s all who you know in life, what your connections are, luck of your family.

In fact, his sense of injustice is so great, as time goes by and he develops into a teenager, he begins to fight back. Only now, his body and mind are greater allies. He has muscles and his brain can spot the bullshit faster than ever. When the inevitable criticisms come his way, he doesn’t take it anymore.


The first time was when someone called him an asshole. It was high school by the smoking pit with no teachers around. Boom ba-ding bing bang! He punched the shit out of that person and felt great about it.

Soon, he got a reputation. No one talked to him that way and got away with it. He had no real friends and the interactions he had with others were mostly utilitarian. He could sense people were a bit afraid of him, but he thought that respect was better than being mistreated. His isolation was worth it.

Soon enough, Bill was out in the workforce and he had to negotiate a new set of circumstances. He often found himself drinking with others on Friday after payday and felt great laughing and joking with people while having a few. He managed to find a girlfriend this way. That relationship was difficult and his anger a problem between them. But they loved to drink and lose it at the bar.

Until, inevitably, someone there would call him an asshole. Boom ba-ding bing bang! Off he’d go and punch someone out. Soon, the cops would come, he’d be charged with assault, taken away in cuffs.

At work, he’d be criticized for his performance and argue with his foreman about every little thing he was supposedly doing wrong. He thought they demanded way too much and just didn’t like him. The foreman was the asshole, he thought. Until, one day they gave him his pay and told him not to come back.

At the bar that night, a repeat of what happened months before at a different bar. A fight broke out, it was the asshole thing again. Boom ba-ding bing bam! The cops come, he’s charged again, and this time, his girlfriend breaks up with him. He thinks it’s unbelievable at how she is taking the other person’s side!

He lives like this through most of his twenties and now he’s thirty. He moves cities and jobs often. He’s single, drives an old car, has had a succession of lousy jobs, and a series of girlfriends but none who will stick around. He hangs around low-quality people who are not great company but who don’t give him a hard time.

One day, his father dies. He was never in good with the old man, who he thought was a prick. His grandfather was an angry man and so his father ruled the house with an iron fist the same way. His ma was his one refuge the odd time but even she wouldn’t stand up for him when the old man was in a rage. It was just how it was done.

He was ambivalent about his father’s death. A part of him didn’t give a shit, and why should he? He did notice his dad never amounted to much. Worked at the same garage his whole life, had few friends, and drank every weekend. In fact, it was his liver which took him in the end.

Maybe there was more to life, he thought for the first time ever. He saw that he wasn’t going anywhere with his own life either. He didn’t own a house, had no family, had loved and lost some decent women, and would only work at a job so long before the nitpicking by management became too much.

My father was an asshole and I’ve grown up to be just like him, he thought to himself, never admitting it to anyone else. It was his worse fear confirmed. He sat with that reality and felt the weight of its burden.

At the bar after the funeral, he stayed long into the night. He had a lot on his mind and was tired. He didn’t drink that much but hung around talking to Marty, the bartender. They had a good relationship. Marty seem to get him and as he sat barely sipping his beers, Marty listened in between serving others.

Sure enough, a couple of guys down at the other end of the bar got a little rowdy. One of them knocked over glass and it shattered on the floor. Startled, Bill could feel his blood begin to boil but checked himself. Marty will handle it, he thought.

A while later, he noticed one of them eyeing him a bit. He’d seen this look before and knew that it was the beginnings of a challenge. He was being tested, and there might be trouble. He saw the routine play out in his mind: the fight, the cops, the screaming people, the weekend in prison, the appearance before a judge, to maybe losing his job for not showing up on Monday. His car would be impounded, and shit, he might even get barred from his favourite watering hole. Marty sensed it too.

But no, the two rowdies weren’t going to take his problems into account and emboldened by it being two of them and one of him, they played their dangerous game. One of the two of them tries to start a conversation, a half-ass effort he wanted no part of.

Our man tells him he’s not interested in talking and they should go about their fun. “Too good for us,” one of them says. Marty intervenes, and out of the side of his mouth, he quietly explains the funeral, cautioning them to leave things alone. Marty is good like that.

“Oh, sorry about your father dude,” says one of them loudly, insincerely. “No reason to be an asshole.”

And, Bill feels his blood pressure rise. He can sense that this is beyond the pale. What an outrage it is someone would say something like that on the day a guy buries his father! This is just too much.

He takes a deep breath. And, from out of nowhere, the pressure releases and he answered, “Sure buddy, there are times where I probably am an asshole.”

What? How the heck did that come out? Did I just say that? he thought to himself. He was tired and drained and really didn’t want to have to take on the two of them and piss Marty off, so he let it stand.

He hadn’t agreed that he was an asshole in that moment, only with the possibility. There’s a big difference. Surely, everyone’s an asshole at some point whether they realize it or not. He’d lived long enough to know that for sure. Like these two fucks over there sitting at the end of the bar, for example.

There was no doubt in his mind, looking back over his history, that he had indeed been an asshole at other times. These flashed before him in an instant—old bosses and girlfriends, times at school—so that when he said it, he meant it. It was convincing because it was true. He rarely intended to be an asshole but had to admit, it happens.

It was as if at that very moment he finally allowed himself to be human. His walls came down suddenly, and he was no longer a guy who had to keep up an image as a hard ass. He was just a faulted human being like everyone else. He could, indeed, be an asshole, just as the other fella could too.

And in his confusion, Bill could feel relief. As soon as he said it, he lost some of his anger.

The tension which had been building seemed to dissipate into thin air. He no longer had the usual imagined scenario playing his mind, the one where a brawl ensues and mayhem rules. The foregone conclusion carried by the power of the asshole word, was gone. Asshole as an insult held no power over him. The trigger was neutralized. These two assholes would have to find some other asshole to be assholes with.

Sure enough, that seemed to satisfy Rowdy Boy at the end of the bar too. In fact, he answered, “that’s true, we can all be assholes at times, sorry again for your loss,” as he went back to his friend and his laughter, moving to a table over by the dart boards.

Marty looked at our man incredulously and smiled. “What the heck man, way to go. I didn’t think you had it in you, but you handled that like a pro. Next beer is on me, Bill.” But, he didn’t want to drink anymore, so declined the beer and left soon after.

In the weeks and months to come, he tried his strategy over and over with everyone he could. When the boss at work gave him feedback, he took it and agreed that sometimes he came up short. “Well, I suppose that’s possible,” he’d say, realizing the criticism was over THE WORK  and NOT him personally. Boy, that was a revelation, one that allowed him to sidestep the painful parts of learning while getting better at his job.

The new girl he’d begun dating sometimes complained to him about something or rather and his new tact was to agree with the possibility she was right, without agreeing completely. “You know darlin’,” he’d say, “you might have a point, that’s possible.” Slowly but surely, she felt heard and they managed to argue less and less.

Best of all, he’d been in at least three other situations where someone had directly insulted him, once using the actual asshole word, and he practiced agreeing with the possibility. It was the greatest thing ever, because it gave him time. He used that time to get out of the situation and consider it more carefully later.

And, the truth was he got a bit of a chuckle out of how it affected others, at how it deflated their attack. He felt like it was a perfect defense, like the boxer who leans on the ropes, gloves by his ears and elbows pointed out, jaw completely protected from any attempt at a knockout. When you sort of agree with someone, they’ve got nothing.

If someone told him he drove like an asshole, he could say, “Yes, it’s true, sometimes I’ve been known to drive a little fast,” and come back to the scene in his mind later.  Maybe I was driving too fast, maybe my passenger was scared, he’d think.  It was about the driving more than it was about me, he’d say to himself, differentiating between genuine criticism and beating himself up as a lifelong habit. That was important.

He no longer accepted someone’s disapproval as if it confirmed his low worth, instead searching for the truth in their words. Suddenly, just agreeing with the possibility allowed Bill to review and contemplate and become aware. And this, introduced the possibility of change. Bill began to see most his problems were his own, just repetitions of the messages of his youth.

Over time, he realized he’d been fighting his father all this time. It was his father’s criticism which hurt him the most and which made him feel so ashamed, so ashamed to disappoint him. When people criticized him, he was that little boy again, and he felt their disapproval each time like he was losing his father’s love once more.

And, he knew his father was unfair and he was just a kid and now, he was an adult and his father was gone. He saw his father in a whole new light and realized his grandfather had acted harshly with his father and so his father had acted that way with him. “It was all he knew,” Bill told his girlfriend; he could see it so clearly.

One day, a few years later, once he’d married his gal and she gave him a beautiful baby boy who played and laughed and called him “papa” and followed him everywhere when he was home, he got mad at the kid.

In that moment, he saw his grandfather and his father and him and his son as a continuous line of faulted men who were handing down their pain to the next generation. It dawned on him with all weight of the ages bearing down upon his soul, and he screamed inside against this injustice squashing his spirit.

He sat sheepishly on his front step. The sun was shining, kids were playing down the street, a slight breeze rustled in the trees as the end of summer neared. It was the house he’d grown up in. Bill and his wife had moved in with ma to look after her in her final years. Here he was, on the same steps he played on as a kid, looking over the same driveway where his father often yelled at him.

Behind him lay the rooms of the house where he’d hidden when his dad was mad. These streets, these trees and fences, and beyond, these fields, were a road map of his existence. He could see the generations now, the longer history of his family line down through the men who had preceded him.

As he sat there, an epiphany came to him all in a rush and he stood up and declared, “The pain stops here,” vowing to do everything he could to end this line of harsh denunciation. He vowed to encourage his son, and to learn to handle his own pain without transferring it forward to an innocent. No matter how bad he felt, he couldn’t get past that it’s not the kid, it’s him. And, if that were true, it was probably true for most other situations too. If I’m pissed off, Bill said to himself, it’s MY problem.

Thereafter, he would sense these feelings and give them their due. He’d allow himself the space to acknowledge the shame he carried. Now that he had it identified and labeled, he was set on getting good at recognizing this shame, and letting it go. He understood his reactions were a way to compensate for feeling lousy inside. It was all held in him, in his belly, and it was up to him to let it out.

When he felt triggered by these old shameful feelings, he began to take a deep breath into his stomach, so it swelled up like a balloon and then, let that shame he carried there empty completely as he slowly exhaled fully. This gave him just a moment to compose himself and seemed to reset him, allowing his best side to surface.

And, the more he did this, the easier it got. It was as if he was parenting himself, while parenting his son. Instead of denying his pain, he sometimes had to say he was sorry when he let it get the best of him. They’d all learn together he figured, and he could see why it was so necessary to lead his family away from his father’s legacy and into one of his own choosing. If all he did was break the chain of pain by not transferring it to this little boy, that would already be enough.

He wanted love for himself, his wife and ma, and especially his son. By having more compassion for himself, he had more tolerance and understanding for others.  That’s where it all started, with him. With possibilities.

That little boy in the house deserved better. The little boy inside of him did too

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Chris Wallace
Advisor to Men
©July, 2019 all rights reserved.

DO I LOOK FAT?

DO I LOOK FAT?

This is a question which comes up often, dreaded by western men everywhere. How do you answer this interrogation? And, is this even fair to ask of a man?

Despite all the hoopla about objectifying women, while imploring men to focus purely on their partner’s “inner-worth,” everywhere you find men and women this question is asked. Someone, somewhere, is posing the question today, perhaps before heading off to church with the family.

Women’s concern on this issue is often laid at the feet of the supposed patriarchy. This would be where men objectifying women’s bodies has ostensibly put enormous pressure on women to be the perfect avatar for male lust. Of course, well-intentioned but mistaken idealists cling to this narrative, often desperately. “It’s your fault I have to even ask this question,” it says.

If you ask men about this dreaded quiz (and it is not always dreaded), their answers generally fall into two camps. Denial and acceptance on one side (includes bullshit), and naked truth on the other. Both approaches have consequences.

If a man answers his gal with, “Yeah, I noticed you lost weight,” even if she hasn’t, he’s set off her bullshit detector. You’ve heard the expression, “Never lie to a woman.” Now he’s fucked, because she knows full well she’s ten pounds heavier than a month ago—probably the last time she asked this damn question!

Or, maybe he senses the trap. No fool our man, he tells her she looks perfect to him—just the way she is—and he can’t see anything but her inner beauty. He thinks this gets him off the hook, and he basks in his virtue, feeling impregnable to criticism.

And, truthfully, this may seem like the romantic’s answer, an exemplar for all men, salve for the female neuroticism at the core of the question. But, mostly likely, he’s dead-wrong.

Hearing this, she tells herself, “You asshole,” and contemptuously, “so, you think I’m fat, thanks,” said declaratively, as surely as if he’d uttered the words himself.  His avoidance tipped his hand and she wasn’t fooled, not one bit.

Aye, it’s a litmus test this one.

Some men seize upon this scenario to introduce a little self-improvement into the marriage. One man was asked by his beloved if there was anything wrong with her. To which he nobly answered he loved her no matter what, but that she has a hunchback, probably from poor posture, and wondered if she’d like to improve how she sits at the computer to alleviate her condition.

There’s discord in that household, still ongoing.

Another fella took the high road (as he saw it), and in answer to the question “Do I look fat?” responded using the infamous turnaround, the rebound, the redirect, the mirror, by asking a question in return.

“I don’t know, do YOU think you look fat?” To which she answered, “Yes.”

His response? “Okay, you got your answer, but it’s not about what I think, it’s about what you think. To me, you’re normal but what you see is what matters to you. My love has no vision.”

He reports, bewildered, she insists he called her fat. Poor sap.

So, what women are looking for when they ask this question is anyone’s guess. The risks involved are real, as you can see. Perhaps she’s looking to confirm the diet and workout plan she’s been on the past week is paying off. Or, maybe she’s looking for reassurance she’s loved in all her glorious imperfection. Those two possibilities are pretty much the limits of most men’s perceptions.

But, it could also be a setup, a way to punish a man for something he did this morning, yesterday, last week, or last year—real or imagined. The question could be her version of Firestarter, like the flint, birchbark and moss you have tucked in your combat pants when you hit the back country.

There are layers to these kinds of trick questions, and trying to discern the true motivations behind them is to descend into areas of subterfuge and feminine energy. This disadvantages most men.

If you are the sun, the stars, the fire and the light, she is the deep of space, the vastness of the oceans, the power of the wind. That about sums up what you’re up against, my brothers.

There’s another context we need to keep in mind when considering this question. We think we are involved as a principal player: a reasonable conclusion since we are being asked and we are usually present during the asking.  Not at all.

Fact is, she’s probably not even considering you in her question. It’s far more likely she’s asking you what OTHERS are seeing and could care less what you think. She’s already fucking you, and knows she has your loyalty.

Women tend to compete firstly with their peers, just as men compete with other men. Do you primarily compete with your wife or girlfriend? Pretty rare.

Men tend to compete above board, either heads on, “best man wins” style, or by putting someone down. One is prosocial, the other antisocial, but both approaches light up the same competitive reward areas of the brain.

Women tend to compete differently, sometimes by maneuvering covertly using mean remarks, social exclusion and by winning over each other’s friends and allies.

Women can do pretty much anything a man can do but have general preferences. Whereas men tend to know many men in a diverse number of groups, and operate easily between them, not so for most women.

Our gals tend to have a small group of sisters, friends they guard jealously, usually less than five and often just one or two, and with whom they rely upon for emotional regulation. You could argue their standing among their close peers carries more risk because it also comes with more reward.

Like I said, women are deep. Men are shallow, thankfully (not said at all derogatorily).

So, the question, “Do you think I’m fat?” could just as likely mean, “Do you think OTHERS think I’m fat?” Duh. Uh-oh.

It means she’s asked you how she presents to the outside world, to those she competes with on a daily basis. At his point, mentioning her hunchback means you are telling her others see her as a hunchback. How’s that going to go over?

Now, to be fair, some couples can manage literal honesty between them. This kind of union exists and thrives on pain and suffering as a stepping stone to lust and bliss. If she asks a question, she’s getting the truth. It goes both ways.

To these types, there is a power and trust which develops as a result of their brutal honesty. But, there is also hurt feelings. And, in every case I’ve witnessed, over time the man learns to soften the blow of his forthrightness as his emotional IQ blossoms under her influence. She is the power of the wind.

Now, just how does a man safely negotiate this age-old question?

You could try the finesses answer. She asks, “Do I look fat?” and you answer, “Did you get your hair trimmed, it looks great!” standing fast with smiling admiration.

It’s a signal you’re not answering such an asinine question, suggests you didn’t even notice her body, and can only see and appreciate her overall radiance, refreshed somehow in this instance. Add in a, “you must have done that just for me,” followed up by a rush to hug her powerfully. If timed right, it might get you off the hook completely.

You could also try saying, “Yes, you look fat and I hope you put on another ten pounds so I can watch that jiggle bouncing around all over upstairs when we’re alone. You must have put that on for me, nasty girl,” and see what happens.

But a better option when dealing with the “Am I fat” question is to say “No.”

That’s a powerful stance for a man to take. He sees through her classic overthink—loaded in the question like high caliber weaponry—and simply sidesteps her neediness by refusing to play by her rules.

It is him recognizing she sometimes needs to be rescued from the brink of her own insanity. As her powerful man, that’s your job and you handle it with grace.

A simple, “No” and moving on to something else puts you back in control. I’ve been asked this question; I usually try to grab her ass as I answer.

You own your thoughts, feelings and behaviours; she owns hers. And, never the twain shall meet. Boundaries here are critical. Maintain them now and set the pattern for later.

But perhaps first ask yourself if perhaps she’s asking the question because she does not feel suficiently worshipped. Check that opportunity box first. Otherwise, in the moment, the simpler the answer the better. No reason to complicate this more than needed.

Seems simple enough: Just say no

Stay powerful, never give up.

Wally

© Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to Men
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UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

MA’S INFLUENCE
I was once married for 24 years and nine months. I knew at the quarter century mark, I’d have to stand up to say the time we had spent together was the best a man could hope for, that I’d do it all over again. You hear guys say they were lucky to have found such a woman.  I knew I couldn’t do it.

Interspersed among those years were some good moments—I’d raised a son to adulthood, largely defining me as a man—though, my overall matrimonial experience was a nightmare. I couldn’t celebrate it, not in the least. Our friends knew of our challenges. I also realize it was not all her fault.

I was raised by parents who stayed together. It was in a different era to be sure, the baby-boom. They raised nine children to adulthood, out of ten pregnancies in twelve years. My mother died at home a few years ago, surrounded by all her adult children reaching out to touch her while she lay helplessly in the hospital bed we’d set up in her living room. Her husband of sixty-two years held her hand and whispered sweet reassurances to her as she went.

Throughout their long marriage, my father was a diminishing force. First, he beat booze, giving it up when I was just a boy and attending meetings for decades. Not enough, his uncertain sense of self—inherited and formed from ancestors and upbringing—became a weight too great to bear. It left him weakened, violent at times, needy and distant. Eventually, his burn-out led to early retirement.

Yet, for all his troubles, my mother stood by him. These people were my avatars for love. With 33 meals a day to cook, ma was busy. Overwhelmed is a better word. The baby girl before me had died. The boy above my dead sister had bronchitis. The sister after me was sickly but survived. Our eldest, my remaining big sister, tells me these two took up a lot of my mother’s time. I was born at nine pounds ten ounces, the big, fat, happy baby, and left in the crib, the back of my head flattened from the hours alone.

I had a hard time with toilet training. I needed more attention than ma had to give. I didn’t stop wetting my bed until grade two. Attending a French school as an Anglo, where I didn’t understand a word, I felt further disconnected. It was during this time I realized my dreams of pissing meant I was probably doing it at that very moment. It became my signal to get up and go, and I defeated it thereafter.

I remember yearning for my mother’s approval. She was tough on me about toilet training, oft-times berating me, accusing me of having accidents on purpose. My remembrances the stuff of Freud, it made me need her more. I called for her in the night sometimes, or I begged her to lie with me at bed-time. It was so I could feel her reassurance before the lights were turned out and darkness in the cold of my parent’s basement prevailed.

I don’t blame my mother for she did her best, providing just enough loving encouragement to make me think more was in order. It was she I turned to for every need. She was indeed my north, south, east and west. With my father absent in the early part of my life sailing the seas for the navy, I had only ma. Even when my father refused further postings and promotions for the Armed Forces, so he could stay with us, we still had only ma.

THE SOUL
That’s the thing about children: they experience families physically.

Without the cognitive ability to evaluate the world with intelligence or morality, emotional states are locked into the child’s body forever more. In fact, this is what feelings are: predictive responses to circumstances based on your databank of experiences. These are only corrected after-the-fact by the social reality at hand.

A baby has few emotions in the beginning, added to as it lives with more complexity. No two of us feels the same thing. There are no basic feelings; there are only shared experiences which give us a semblance of what another feels.

The brain relies on interoception through the tenth cranial nerve—the vagus system connected from the skin and organs to the brain stem—to discern the body’s needs and prepare your best emotional state. It’s done faster than you can think, on a best-guess basis. I suspect what lies locked away in your body by way of methyl groups from your ancestry, and emotional states from your history, constitutes your soul. Add in mankind’s collective unconscious and the soul triumvirate is complete.

These influences carry over into adulthood for all men. The need to belong is universal in humans. All of us have a part of our being which fears we may not be good enough, and because of this, we may not be loved. Some of this is innate, but much of it comes from our first relationships. Attachment to others is critical to your survival.

Darwin said: “Natural selection will never produce in a being any structure more injurious than beneficial to that being, for natural selection acts solely by and for the good of each.” And as my old prison pen-pal Conrad Black often says, “Self-interest is paramount.” Despite her efforts, mother cannot help but attach conditions to her love. The self-centered child cannot see this clearly.

MARITAL MYTH
In observations over many years, I’ve heard enough behind the scene curses from mothers displeased with children to know their elevated status as virtuous and blessed with infallible loving is only partly merited, and mostly unrealistic. In fact, it’s an ideal, and it’s not in any way restricted to women. Men also love their children to the best of their ability and come up short. Daughters are affected too. No one becomes a parent with anything but good intentions.

And so, you may say, we don’t marry our mothers. Well, that’s the problem, we must. On some level, family of origin influences are bound to carry over into adult relationships. You see, we exist in each other. It’s not enough to say you are over there and I’m over here; indeed, if we spend time together under each other’s influence, a part of you will remain with me.  Most men, subconsciously, that is, without even realizing it, believe our partner will love us unconditionally— like we may have thought or wished we were being loved by our mothers.

While normal for a child, as an adult it’s an irrational belief, a transference of a childhood pattern where mother is all-powerful, and we crave her acceptance. As we grow through childhood and into adulthood, the hope to be loved unconditionally is imprinted upon your soul, seared and branded there as if your worth depended upon it.

Of course, all your disappointments are driven by expectations, and this is one your adult partner can never meet.  Kind of an impossible quest in many ways, and decidedly an unfair burden upon her and the relationship. It results in living up to a preposterous model she can never satisfy, and which should never be fulfilled. Furthermore, and more importantly, it keeps a man a boy.

I wish I knew this then. It may not have changed anything but it may have. What’s important is this: I know this now.  Missus is not my mother. Heck, even my mother was no saint. My expectation I’d be loved unconditionally in my first marriage meant I didn’t show up as powerfully for my woman as she needed. After all, I was me! I’m a great catch, right? We’ll emulate my parents! Nonsense. A man who believes his woman should love him unconditionally is giving into his boyish need to be loved by his mother. Cute for my five-year-old, not much more than pathetic for a grown man.

FREEDOM
It was in his book, Iron John, where Robert Bly writes the keys to a young man’s freedom lie under his mother’s pillow. He must steal them from her while she sleeps and escape the comfort and confines of her castle, turning his back on safety and embracing danger and adventure as his own man. It is only from venturing out from under his mother’s watchful gaze can a man find himself and learned to live without her. Once gone, he must never return. He must leave boyhood behind for good.

This is what lies at the root of many a man’s weakness around his woman. My missus is a lot like my mother. Many of her traits I find quaintly familiar, but only now after many years together. Attraction is like that. It’s programmed deeper than awareness, but like other emotional states, it can be corrected by the social reality before you. If men are anything, they are adaptable.

My woman is not my Madonna. She is no saint and holds no perfection though at times she is perfect for me. As an intuitive woman she may seem vast and as deep as an ocean, but she can also be as shallow as any bog, a swamp of wants, demanding in her needs.

Remember Darwin’s counsel. Your woman is completely unrelated to your family. She is not at all kin until you make her so through your children and history. I don’t advocate becoming a trader in your relationship, with every deed bargained for like shopping at the butchers. No. Not at all.

It is enough for a man to repudiate once and for all the notion of unconditional love. To see it as this: clinging to a childish expectation you will be loved no matter what. No again. There is no respite from earning your way in love just as in life. There is no coasting, relying on an emotional bank account too easily overdrawn. Who keeps that ledger? Taking the metaphor further, it’s far better to make regular deposits, and let compound interest do its thing.

As ma used to say, “there’s no rest for the wicked.”

I know she meant that in the kindest possible way. Or did she?

Stay powerful,

© CKWallace Nov, 2018 all rights reserved

Christopher K Wallace
Advisor & Mentor
for a free 15-30 minute strategy call click here


Ma with me at the Governor General’s for our coat of arms unveiling in 2012
I have her nose.

THE BET (true story)

Some of the best and worst of humanity can be found at the crux of competition.

In a larger sense, competition over food, over territory, over commerce, occupies the macro, the endless ways in which groups all over the world serve their constituents, be it government for people, or public companies for shareholders..

At the personal level, we compete against each other for jobs and sustenance, for partners, for status within our group, each a micro-level expression of wanting to be worth something, to belong somewhere, to best our rivals. Competition is proving one’s worth.

What often motivates us is death, though not usually directly. No, it’s subtler, beneath the surface. Perhaps we compete to be sure this is not the day we die.

DIFFERENT CONTEST, DIFFERENT FOLKS
Men and women tend to compete differently. As generalizations go, those differences have exceptions, where traits thought masculine are found in a female, and vice versa, depending on the actors. There are plenty of feminine men and masculine women. So, we’re speaking of majority only here.

Thus, if Susan Pinker writes that women tend to maneuver covertly, using mean remarks, social exclusion, and by trying to win over your friends and allies, it’s not a rule set in stone for all women. In fact, these are strategies sometimes used by men. If not used by men, men can learn from them.

Men tend to compete slightly differently. They like to best each other straight up, mano a mano. But not always, for another way men compete is to put each other down. I remember reading in Scientific American some years ago about brain scan studies showing both approaches satisfy the same needs. Competing directly or by put-down lights up identical reward areas of the brain. One approach is social, the other not so.

Because one sure-fire difference between men and women is the level of their boasts. Perhaps this is the opposite of putting someone else down, boosting self instead. Men brag about being able to do something, as if to dare someone around them to challenge them on the spot. And they do. Invariably, they do.

THE RCC

Let me tell you about a guy named Dave and a bet he made.

We were doing time at a Burritt’s Rapids facility, also knows as the Rideau Regional Centre. It was a minimum-security place, a few dozen miles outside of Ottawa where I’d been sent for shooting a guy (which was out of character).

Discharging a firearm with intent to kill they called it, allowing them to sentence much more leniently, but which hardly disguised the original charge of attempted murder. Semantics maybe.

We lived in dorms, I think about twenty or so inmates in each. The dorms faced each other so you could see another dorm across the hallway through heavy wired plexiglass. When I was there, it seemed to be full. On any account, rather than work on the farm during the day, I’d managed to secure a job as a pool porter in a nearby town days (something I wrote about in an essay called Forms of Bliss).

We had some real characters in the place, and nothing anyone had done was all that serious comparatively, which is why they were in minimum security. And the fact it was out in the country meant we got the local crowd of country crooks populating the prison, some of whom were entertaining guys.

In the dorm opposite me there was a gay couple even. Well, that’s what you’d call them now. Back then they were just queers. It was a slight balding guy of about 30 and a younger guy of 17 or 18 or so I remember. The younger fella had the last bed, way at the end of his dorm where these two would sit and flirt with each other all during lights on time. No one much paid them any attention, and I remember they were protective of each other.

When everyone would be off at the gym or elsewhere, they’d sneak physical contact. Everyone knew it but just ignored them.

My father had taught me about homosexuals when I was just a boy of 10 or so. Not a formal lesson mind you, but just one of the half-dozen memories I have of him where he was a stellar parent. Before that, I had the usual homophobia of any young boy my age and of that generation, seeing it as a severe taboo, having a strong enculturated prejudice against it straight from the school yard.

I’d called my sisters lesbians and earned a trip to dad’s room for a talk. This was a time of luck, where a talk with pops was possible, instead of the usual, where violence ruled. During his discovery of me regarding the complaint which brought me before him, we found I had no idea what a lesbian was.

He explained it perfectly, telling me it was women who loved each other, just as men and women loved each other. He added it wasn’t a choice, but rather how they were made. More importantly, he mentioned these were people looking for love like anyone else. I remembered that last bit, it stuck. It was probably 1968-69.

The first pot growers I encountered were in this prison. These were like every pot grower I’d come to know afterwards too: indignant, righteous about their cause, feeling maligned by the state. Of course, they held my sympathies.

These boys had taken the seeds out of their Mexican weed and tossed them into the ground. Lo and behold, a few months later they had pounds and pounds of the stuff, for free! They were pretty hush hush about it all inside, because they didn’t want their “secret” to get out. Since I always had a gal bringing me hash on the inside no matter which joint I was in, I got the inside scoop.

That’s something laughable now but back then, the connection between the highly illegal pot being bought, sold and smoked, and the potential of the seeds that came with it (before seedless pot hit our markets), wasn’t well-known. In fact, growing yourself was a crazy good idea very few followed for many years later.

Another fella there was a short muscular red-head who had to be 30-35 or so, pure farming country good old boy. He was friendly, and always had a laugh to share as a steady ball-buster. That was the thing about prison. I’d been kicked out of the house at 15 when dad broke down and therefore lost access to my four brothers. I found lots of brothers elsewhere.

And what had country boy done? He’d gotten drunk with friends and they all were hungry. So, he went into a field outside Kemptville where beef cattle were kept. There he killed and butchered an animal for its best steaks, leaving the rest of the carcass behind and fucking off with the meat. When word got out the next day, someone remembered seeing his car on the road the night before.

If remember right, while recovering at home, and still shit-faced, buddy woke up to cops looking at all the blood on the seats of his wheels sitting in the driveway.

But back to Dave, for he’s the best example I know of male competitiveness. You see, Dave was a pimp. Or, at least that’s the gist of it.

It was back in the very early days of the escort business, where the Yellow Page folks finally allowed escort ads. It blew open the pimp business as gals and guys lined up to make money. There are always women willing to sell their body for a few bucks, but it can be dangerous work. They use men to set them up and drive to the appointments and make sure they’re protected. Dave did that for a cut.

He was a good-sized kid, maybe late twenties. He wore glasses and was smart enough, verbal. In other circumstances, he would have made a good manager or business owner. He also had a twinkle in his eye and a ballsy determination. Of course, he was in for assault—something about him and another guy beating up some john who had messed with one of his girls. The usual.

Dave always had some broad visiting. Not a good-looking gal mind you, but he got visits. We’d see each other in the visiting room and know I’d soon have shit for sale. His visits didn’t bring him much. He just didn’t have that kind of pull with people. Those who couldn’t smuggle would have relatives visit and leave them $50 bills. We traded goods for that currency. In every joint I’ve been in except county buckets, there was cash to be had for drugs. Dave had neither.

But, Dave was a determined-type, we had a lot in common that way. We weren’t content to do time and wait to get out. We were proactive mother-fuckers.

I’ve been to a few comedy clubs in my time. Especially since the advent of Yuk Yuks and place like that. I’ve busted a gut in a half dozen cities I’m sure.

But I have never laughed as hard as I have while inside. It’s the war-stories. It’s reports from the underground. It’s guys who are living at times, sometimes all the time, right on the fucking edge of sanity and insanity. It gets very funny, in an incredulous way. Oh, the shit people get into.

THE BOAST

And those ball-busting war-story boasting sessions were just the kind of place where one-upmanship can be brought to a whole new level. It was at one of those gatherings of the haves, the ringleaders of the joint, where Dave uttered his infamous line, “I’d just about do anything for a $50 bill.”

Wasn’t long before suggestions were made. The usual, let a cat lick your nuts, diddle your cat, eat the pussy of a 300-pound fat chick, eat shit, etc.

“Wait a minute, did you say you’d eat shit? No way!”

Dave, not one to back down, flatly replied, “I’d eat a whole shit for a $50 bill.”

And wouldn’t you know it, guy pulls one out, red Mounties right there, waving it around while making sure the guards aren’t walking by. “I’ve got to see this. You’re on,” he says, calling Dave’s bluff in front of the boys.

Dave: “I’ll do it, wait until tomorrow when I have to go,” said matter-of-factly.

Get-the-fuck-outa-here!

And so, the next day, I’m thinking this has been called off. Nope. Dave was in my dorm, so I got to witness the plan’s progression. During the day he’d smuggled out a plastic fork and knife and small paper plate out of the dining hall. He showed them to me, asking what I thought of by way of stash.

He signaled to me when he was going in to the toilets to get his stool. “If I’m going to eat shit, I’m eating my own,” he said. Couldn’t argue that at all.

Near after supper, he’d produced a lovely stool, decent consistency, and curling in a half moon on the plate replete with tapered end where his anus had pinched it off as it exited his arsehole.

There he was, slightly acne’d and puffy faced, a little soft but his muscularity from regular workouts now showing through his shirt, and his overall demeanour a curious look of high concentration. It was as if he was treating this as no big deal, indifferent to the challenge, wisely creating a conqueror’s mindset, long before that word ever entered popular psychology’s lexicon.

And I believed him. If anyone could do this, Dave could. He was a lower echelon dweller, from the projects, living among the poor and the profane, places where suburban realities did not exist. He had banged lots of fat girls, maybe even his sister (if he had one). For sure he had his red wings, an honour gained by eating the pussy of a menstruating woman, maybe his sister’s friend or the neighbour.

He was a gladiator of gall, a welfare warrior, and mercenary of mooch. He was a sick-fuck our boy, and we were proud of him.

THE CRUX
Someone kept six at the door but didn’t linger. Instead they’d keep moving and walked across the hall while glancing up towards the offices as one by one, the guys from the night before filtered into the dorm, sitting at different beds pretending to be visiting a person here or there to not attract attention.

When the six-man signaled the guard was off the range and had moved into another one, it meant there might be twenty minutes before another appeared. It was then Dave nipped into the washroom to retrieve his prize.

The shit had congealed into a shiny, waxy state on the paper plate. You could smell it. It smelled just like shit. Only, you weren’t smelling your shit, which I presume you’re at least somewhat used to by now. No. You were smelling Dave’s shit. It was an entirely unpleasant experience. It reeked of bad food from a bad body. A ripple of moans and suffering remarks erupted from the gathered.

I insisted he do it on his bed. No way it was coming near mine. Finally, someone called him on: “You gonna do this or what?”

Dave asked to see the fifty. Then, there was the delicate negotiation of who would “hold” the fifty, you know, in case the bettor reneged. This resulted in more insults and calls for respect. Finally, the group prevailed and the holder of the fifty was persuaded to hand it off to someone he could easily take it back from if necessary.

Dave put the plate on his lap. Gingerly picking up the plastic fork and knife, he began to cut off a piece of shit, like someone cutting into a steak. Only, it didn’t give any resistance, but did cut nicely. He broke away this piece onto his fork, leaving a brown shit stain in its place on the plate.

He lifted the fork up to about chest high as he sat on the edge of that bed. He had water ready in case, or maybe it was a pop. He’d invested in whatever remedy he’d need, for fifty bucks for nothing is a rare thing in prison. That’s the way he looked at it: He was getting money for nothing.

Lifting the fork to his mouth, the collective leans back and away from him in disgust, not able to quite take their eyes from the fork and shit in front of his face. The person sitting directly across from Dave suddenly realized the precariousness of his position and made a bold move out of the way at the last minute… just in case.

Dave put the shit into his mouth. He looked fine. It was in there and his mouth had closed. He began to chew.

It may have been a few chews, but it wasn’t much more. Involuntary seizures hit him as surely as there was something knocking him on the back of the head. He soldiered on and tried to swallow, tears forming in his eyes as his body convulsed, dry heaving, chest rising and falling.

Through tears in his eyes, doubt suddenly appeared on his face. Perhaps it was the difference between what his mind commanded and the way his body responded, but he looked at once tyrannized and confused. He gulped as if to swallow once more and his throat stopped mid-way and reversed course. He began to show just a bit of brown spittle at the corners of his mouth. His lips were glossed in brown, like he’d been eating baked beans, no napkin.

He rose up, the assembled fell back on the beds before him, spreading apart on both sides like a peeled banana. Dave convulsed again, this time raising a hand to his mouth area. For the last time he tried to slide that piece of errant turd down his throat, but it would not go. His mouth remained open, where you could see the mashed shit on his tongue and teeth, like when a rude person who speaks with their mouth full.

He ran towards the bathroom stalls next to us, as people cleared their legs and feet out of his way. There, through the full-length plexiglass windows, we could see him puke up the remaining shit from his mouth, and any other shit in this stomach. Great heaving occurred as he emptied his being of any possibility of shit.

The bettor snatched the fifty from the holder while all of us moaned in sympathy and in awe. Everyone broke protocol and spoke too loudly and too often, describing every second of that scene in minute detail. “Did you see him put it in? Fuck off!” and, “I thought we about to be sprayed with shit, goddamn it!” and “Fuck me, I can’t believe I saw someone put shit in their mouth!” and, “I never thought he’d do it, no way!!” and on and on.

I’ve never fully told the shit story until now. Over the years, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in passing, that I once saw a guy try to eat shit on dare. No one seemed all that interested in hearing about it. I know why. Surely, no one would believe it. And the other thing is you can’t mention it in mixed company. Bit of a mood-killer maybe.

Dave came back out of that bathroom a dejected man. He was almost apologetic. He kept saying something like, “I thought I could do it, but it just wouldn’t go down no matter how hard I tried.” To him, it was now about failure and the lost opportunity. It was rehashing the technicalities. More importantly, it was about not being able to best the fella who taunted him. He couldn’t command his body to win this one on will alone.

I’m pretty sure the rest of that bit I never let Dave get close enough to me to smell his breath. I know he brushed his teeth, I lived with him. It was just… something.

I wish him well, hoping his experiences in prison exposed his frailty. Maybe it put a convincing damper on his invincibility, and perhaps kept him alive on the outside. I hope he lived to tell this story. After getting out, I never saw him again. Never forgot him either though. How could you?

That’s what happens to men, and to boys. We compete at an entirely different level than do the girls. It’s a big difference between us. It’s unlikely in your lifetime you will ever encounter such an ordure ordeal, such as eating shit for dollars.

And if you do hear of such a thing, you can bet almost anything it won’t involve a woman instead.

Just don’t bet eating shit. Can’t be done.

Ask Dave.

Stay powerful.

cw

©CKWallace, November, 2018, all rights reserved.

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

THE BET (true story)