Tag Archives: relationships

Calling It What Is

https://youtu.be/-RV0kUChjG8

what is IT? What may start out as early morning ramblings will undoubtably evolve into either something very true or something incredibly pungent.

Look beyond the story that is told. Even the smallest lies can have an alarming impact. History is told by the winners, but it’s the victims who rue the day.

Extremes: you’re either in or out; it’s black or white; either you’ll stand for IT or you’ll fall for anything…

Propaganda!

We are talking but no one is listening. The “fake news” is only real when it’s happening to you. The survivors only survived because they had a choice. But those who didn’t survive could not choose. But some choose to tell the story of the victim because it pushes their agenda. It makes them feel but requires far less sacrifice.

We can either become victims or we victimize. The oppressed or the oppressor. The law of hierarchy. Survival of the fittest. Eat or be eaten. Hunt or be hunted. Who IS Maslow?

Anyway…

Is there no middle ground? No lukewarm?? Must we take a position on EvErY thing?!?

(Breathe)

I can’t breathe because you’re choking me. I can’t live in peace because there’s too much noise. The noise is in my head AND all around me. You too are making noise. That’s why you can’t hear me. I’m right HERE!

Stop. Wait. Go back and click on the link above. And just listen…

Listen to what’s not being said.

Guilt-Free V-Days

Two days before Valentine’s Day, I find myself sitting at a kitchen table while my student reinvents herself through a group science project. A project that is designed for a group, yet doled out for an individual student while she’s on medical leave….

THIS is what I’m facilitating as a blog from one of my favorite bloggers catches the corner of my eye.

Beauty Beyond Bones is one of the few blogs I read–mostly because I get an email every time the author publishes. But it’s easy to proclaim a favorite when there aren’t many others for which I will sacrifice my time. For as long as I’ve been on this reflective journey as a blogger, her blog has caught my attention. I suppose it’s because her persona reminds me of someone who I once loved. I say this with no guilt, however. And that’s because I gave up guilt for lent nearly four years ago.

That’s right! I gave up guilt for Lent. Here’s why:

This person I once loved, she has a name. But for simplicity, let’s just call her Love. She had convinced me that she was the one the Lord held aside just for me. She’d been praying her whole life for what she called “my sweet king-to-be” (MSKTB) for which became the moniker for this blog thread. She waited her whole life–and I mean she WAITED.

Her unrelenting chastity was something I honored. I’d figured that she was worth the sacrifice especially since she’d already sacrificed so much. But as the years passed I began to question the validly of a “sacrifice” of something that was never experienced. I longed for the integrity of a pure relationship. After all, no relationship prior had yielding a godly outcome.

This particular relationship did not come without its conflict and confusion. This was uncharted territory for me. I’d been divorced for nearly five years. My beautiful children and much-needed experience where the fruits of that union. Alas I’d experienced a sex-free marriage. How hard could an abstinent courtship be?

And believe it or not, it wasn’t difficult at all. The challenge was understanding the “rules” of an abstinent relationship. Love, well she didn’t make it easy. This courtship, as she called it, forced me to recall medieval times when marriages were arranged and fathers held the key to the mystical chastity belt. Weird!

It made me wonder if there were occasions where restricted access was circumvented somehow. Or if the whole concept was more-or-less a myth. I suppose I had a front row seat to my own private show. It was an interactive one-act play where I was both the star AND the antagonist. It hinged on torture, but Love led me to believe that it was necessary to truly appreciate the sanctity of marriage.

She had a hold of me. To my circle of friends, it looked like a circus. I thought I was the lion-tamer. Nah, I was merely one of the clowns (the one without the makeup).

As our relationship entered its first Lenten season, I asked her if she’d given any thought to what sacrifice she’d make for 40 Days. I figured it would be akin to my own fast of soda or chocolate. No! Hers was much deeper!!

Intimacy!

Huh? What?

I was confused. How much more un-intimate could we be??? I pressed her for an explanation. She obliged.

She said she’d spoken to God about it, and he told her to take her sacrifice deeper.

I thought this was a joke. But Love doesn’t joke about God. I began to plead with her. And then I realized that there was no integrity to in that at all. So I encouraged her to explain further. She said “no touching!”

Yeah ok.

“No kissing…”

Huh?

“No lustful gazing…”

To which I replied, “where will you be staying?”

This is where she became confused. I continued.

“When you spoke to God, did he tell you where you’d be staying when you come to visit me?”

I realized at that moment that I was venturing into a very ugly territory from which there’d be no return. But there was no turning back.

I gestured gingerly, “Hun, I know that you come a long way to see me. I know the sacrifice that you make to be with me. You are tired when you arrive, and most weekends you want to lay down; which results in you spending the night.”

“But you’ve also got to realize the challenge that comes from you spending the nights here when my children are home–the challenge created from trying to model this righteous behavior in the face of being “chased”.

My daughter had begun to emulate pristine behavior. She asked for a purity ring of her own. She spoke of the importance of waiting…

What father wouldn’t want that? Now I was offered an opportunity to step up. I’m not taking one for the team. I’m embracing a responsibility far greater than a “man-in-waiting” (is there such a thing?); or was my search for masculinity manifesting into a fatherly responsibility?

It didn’t matter. For a moment–perhaps minutes at best, Love melted. Her eyes gazed upon me and I felt appreciated.

But that too was confusing for me. And so I did what I do best. I stuck out my chest and…

Ruined it!

She asked me lovingly, “what will you give up for Lent?”

“Guilt! I’m giving up guilt!”

Love was lost.

I defended that if God was going to have a private conversation with my love, I was going to assert my role in my relationship with God. I looked up to the ceiling and continued, “you can’t stay here, wear sexy pajamas in my kitchen, tell me I can’t look at, touch, or kiss you and stay here. It’s teasing and it’s mean.”

Well maybe I didn’t say it was mean. It was a bad memory. What do you want from me?

“I Am giving up guilt for lent!” The Lord died for my sins. The fornication, the lust, the adultery, and all the other illicit stuff that I reluctantly confess to. I don’t need to harbor any guilt.

I sorta thought that I should have consulted a priest on this one, but…

I’m not catholic.

Love left that night. She went home to her father’s house where he and her mother later praised me for raising my own daughter to be a queen. I’m not sure how I felt about that, but…

Now THAT Ash Wednesday did not fall on Valentine’s Day (like it does this year), but the sheets have been cold ever since. Well, cold on Valentine’s Day at least.

As a middle-aged man who is on the cusp of denial, I will love myself this Valentine’s Day. And once you get your mind out of the gutter, you’ll probably do the same.

In case you didn’t know, the boxes of chocolate go on sale after 6pm at most pharmacies. And the Ex-lax is a few isles over.

Happy Ash Wednesday!

In the Friend Zone (a short read)

After posting what I thought was an interesting satire about relationships on my Facebook wall, a friend ignited a rage in me. I don’t care for the expression “feeling some kind of way” but there may be no better way to say it.

Women and men approach relationships differently. Not every man approaches a woman with the intent of starting an intimate relationship.  Cautious men are perceived as too delicate, too polite, or too shy. How much caution is needed to say hello?  Cautious men, because they are not assertive, are successful making friends, but not much else.  As a result, they end up in the The Zone. The Zone is often a point of no return.  How does one navigate around the Zone?

  
Butthurt

Trying to navigate through the “friend zone” after a friendship is established is painful.  A fellow once claimed on social media that women want a REAL man, but he proclaims that he is a Gentleman and waiting to be recognized.  Gentlemen will find themselves in the Zone more often than anyone else.  We don’t consider ourselves to be entitled.  We are humble and accepting.  Some of us will leave this world the same way we came into it–not naked, not cold, but alone.  What is misunderstood about the Zone is that it can be a safe, comfortable place.

Defending the Gentlemen in the “friend zone” is not a difficult task. After all, we are not under attack.  To the contrary, we’re barely noticed and certainly not a threat to the REAL men making moves.  But are they making moves or merely making noise?  Is that passion?  I’m passionate about the Zone because that’s where I’ve spent most of my time.  I was fortunate enough to fall in love instead of being sentenced to the Zone.  But the Zone is a happy place that I share with the rest of my Lady friends who are comfortable to be there with me.   It takes a certain level of maturity, security, understanding and compassion to withstand our type of relationship.

  
Would you like a more detailed version of this story?  Check this out:  In the Friend Zone

In The Friend Zone

Preface:  This was penned with some objectives in mind…to empathize with those who are in the “friend zone” and to offer an understanding of the people who find themselves there.  If that’s not your cup of tea, in the words of Kermit, “ain’t none of my business…”


After posting what I thought was a interesting satire about relationships on my Facebook wall, a friend ignited a rage in me.  I don’t care for the expression “feeling some kind of way” but there may be no better way to say it.

The proposal was made, and I engaged.  My Queen sat nearby and witnessed a transformation.  Moments before, I was calm and playful.  Even she laughed at my post.  But once that first “sideways” comment came in, my mind shifted to “game-on” mode.  I was enraged for several reasons.  “How could someone take something so cute and harmless and convert it something mean?”

I have to laugh about it now because anyone who knows me is familiar with how my social media reflects my personality…drama.

My best friend sat back and watched the episode unfurl. Let’s explain…

Women and men approach relationships differently.  Volumns have been written about the intricacies.  I confidently admit that men will never truly understand women and their mannerisms.  Women understand women–which is probably why they don’t get along.

Not every man approaches a woman with the intent of starting an intimate relationship.  There are men who approach women with caution.  Even a friendship runs the risk of rejection. Who likes rejection?  Plenty of us want a pleasant interaction.

Cautious men are perceived as too delicate, too polite, or too shy.  Assertive men are more desirable probably because they are resilient. They’ve endured plenty of rejection as a result of calling on plenty more women than the cautious men.  In the end, successful interactions blossom from pleasant experiences between compatible individuals.

How much caution is needed to say hello?  How assertive must a man be to have a friendship with a woman? If his intentions are pure, this point is moot.  It’s the assertive men who appear to be unable to have friendships with women.  Assertive men cause concern amongst the women they prey on.

Cautious men, because they are not assertive, are successful making friends.  The “friend zone” is not a derailment. It’s a destination for some.  Certainly there’s an opportunity for that relationship to grow.  But friendships are essential to any lasting relationship.  In many cases they are one in the same.

The Zone is often a point of no return.  Both women and men can find themselves there.  It’s a safe place.  The only people who get hurt there are the people who don’t want to be there.  Escape is futile and often the precursor to the death of a friendship.  This knowledge is powerful.

How does one navigate around the Zone?  By making our intentions clear at the onset of an interaction, feelings can be saved.  At the onset…!   Don’t wait until the friendship is established.  It’s too late then.  Falling in love is just THAT!   Falling!   It can’t be planned or calculated.  It’s the result of a release–loss of control or reason.  It’s beautiful and natural.

Those who’ve experienced this awesome feeling know it’s true worth.  It creates a glow that plenty of onlookers want to feel–so much so that love lusters long to linger in its essence.  Enough with the alliteration though!  A lot of people don’t know what love is.  They’re simply reaching at straws, hoping to get a taste.  And it tastes good.  It’s addictive.  Those who find it bask in its greatness and fain its loss.  Others invent what they can not find.

Butthurt

Trying to navigate through the “friend zone” after a friendship is established is painful.  Feelings get hurt and friendships become stale.  In fact, stale is an understatement.  It’s the equivalent of a break up without the opportunity for make-up sex.  To endure that kind of pain without having experienced any of an intimate relationship’s glory is…ridiculous.  Love hurts!  Better to love and lost…?  Hmmmm…

A fellow once claimed on social media that some women say that they want a REAL man, but he proclaims that he is a Gentleman.   We exist!  The fact that not every woman who has a gentleman can appreciate his worth is not too disappointing.  He is seeking a Lady.

Gentlemen will find themselves in the Zone most often.  We don’t consider ourselves to be entitled.  It’s that expectation of entitlement, in my opinion, that transforms itself into disappointment, anger, and eventual rage–especially when things don’t go as expected.  A gentleman understands what it means to earn. We earn respect.  We earn our money.  We earn the adoration of our woman.  It’s that adoration and appreciation that keeps us.  Can the other guys pull that off?

Some of us will leave this world the same way we came into it–not naked, not cold, but alone.   Those who have love experience something so entirely different than loneliness.  In love and in life, the majority of us want to be in the presence of someone who can reciprocate our feelings.

What is misunderstood about the Zone is that it can be a safe, comfortable place to be.  The fact is that it’s rare that someone invites themselves into the Zone.  It’s perceived as a pergatory from where there is no escape.  Both men and women find themselves there when they realize that there isn’t a mutual benefit of progressing  into a intimate relationship.

My thirst for defending the Gentlemen in the “friend zone” can now be quenched.  I’m passionate about the Zone because that’s where I’ve spent most of my time.  I was fortunate enough to fall in love instead of being sentenced to the Zone.  But the Zone is a happy place that I share with the rest of my Lady friends who are comfortable to be there with me.   It takes a certain level of maturity, security, understanding and compassion to withstand our type of relationship. To each its own…