a messy movember morning
that slide right into the afternoon
Martha hates her baby.
For the last three weeks, she’s wanted nothing to do with her.
Though Steevie is only four months old, Martha would love to just abandon her.
Martha is pregnant again and attempting to wean Steevie. Steevie is confused and distraught to say the least. How was she to know that her momma was getting a visit from the vet with a syringe filled with stud seemen?
As a brood mare, Martha has a job to do. Steevie will have to find other sources of soothing and comfort. This is a process we all have to go through in one way or another. Sometimes this happens quickly. Other times this is a more gradual process. Either way, the separation from out mothers is a Necessary Loss we all endure.
Half of all life is loss. Every aspect of your life you will eventually lose, including your life. In her book Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst explores some of the primary losses that come with being human.
The first loss we as humans experience is the loss of the total care and connection that comes from being inside and essentially part of our mothers. Birth is a loss of unity to both mother and child. The next loss?
That’s what Steevie the horse is enduring right now. Baby formula is a relatively new invention. Most humans who have humaned were nursed at one time. Being weaned from a mother or another mother’s milk is the second, preverbal loss we face.
Nursing is a significant action. Laura Perls noted that babies, immediately after birth and placed on a mother begin to look to nurse. The instinct to find food and soothing is innate to us mammals. Sure, as humans we have choices.
This instinct to nurse, to suckle and to suck continues with infants. Soothers and thumbs become stand ins for moms. Some of us still find great soothing through our mouths. Those mouths of ours are weird. They are a source of both soothing and aggression.
Typically, a child’s first act of aggression is to bite mom. Hard. This is the beginning of separation and differentiation. It’s where be begin to understand that you are you and I am I and we are not one being. All of this is to say that children have a special relationship with their mothers.
What’s more, in most cases, children continue to be better soothed by mom’s and dads. Does this mean that women should stay at home bare foot and in the kitchen? Nope. Not at all. But again, pheromones, and smells matter. Biology matters. Regularly men are critiqued these days for not contributing enough to life in the home.
I’ve attempting to process a changing world, writing drafts and jam stuff out every day and justify an experience.
I’ve been looking to create things for men so we don’t need to take every criticism so seriously.
In pretty much every couple I’ve observed, moms do a better job of soothing and caring for kids than men.
The biology of it seems to be a big part.
The goal of this?
I want you dudes to have some emotional and intellectual self defense techniques for those overbearing critiques who attempt to diminish, silence and control you through shame.
Let me get really simple and really real.
Men want the approval of women.
Most of the bullshit I see in families and with men struggling with their mental health is in relation to women.
We want love. We want acceptance.
And there are a lot of hurting dudes like me out there with wounds of rejection and feelings that we aren’t worthy.
An entitled acting pushy dude?
That’s a sign of an insecure man desperate for the love of a woman.
So many dudes either annihilate themselves or their families due to female rejection. I wrote about that here.
Typically so many male suicides are related to love.
Dudes who write pop music, write pop songs about love and loss. Male rage and anger around this gest expressed in songs like this, the ultimate break up song. It’s an anthem male liberation.
In our current culture it seems that ordinary men are always the problem. We show up as either the idiotic, self serving ‘Randy’ in South Park or as sexual predators like Andrew Tate. Then of course, the modern day everyman, Homer Simpson is an avatar for all of the scorn our society currently directs at men.
So why the article on the wage gap?
I wanted to introduce Reeves and his writing as an example of just one of the ways we dudes get shit slung at us based on a narrative that is neither true nor helpful.
The criticism is driving us away. The places young men are going are dark, nasty conspiracy ridden hell holes filled with misogyny.
We’re numbing with alcohol, pot and porn.
And when that stops working?
That’s when the middle age suicide crisis hits. Impulsivity plus access to guns makes male suicide a big hit among my demographic. Ladies, I hate to say it, though you do make your attempts, you’re neither trying often, nor hard enough. When it comes to suicide, men are just better at it.
I know. As a front line worker with boots on the ground, I see clearly two things: 1 Men looking for and calling out for help and 2 we live in a society that does not give a shit or blames men for their own suicidality.
We need to do something about the crisis facing men.
Here’s a good place to start:
We, as a culture need to stop the lectures on manspreading and mansplaining - arrogant behaviours exhibited in both sexes. Regular reader Heater M in a comment earlier this summer confessed to being caught ‘mansplaining’ by her son. She proposed that it be changed to ‘splaining’. And when it comes to the homes of so many married dudes that I know? They get to spread out in a small room in a basement, or a garage.
We spread out in public because frequently, there’s no damn room at home.
As I write these words, every over bearinging upper middle class elitist, classist masters degree having fuckwit is floating through my head with their made up bullshit jargon words. These words were created by an ideology with little desire to build on what we have. Critical Theory has a stated desire to ‘control language to control the discourse’ while acting in ways that are difficult to understand and intentionally confusing. This is done in order to disrupt the current power dynamic in our society. I’m talking about gender theory, critical theory, crt, anti colonial theory and the like.
I will no longer tolerate nor listen to people who use words like cis colonist straight white supremist privilege and the like. Why? This is a power grab from the margins attempting to marginalize and silence the middle. I’m tired of the edge cases - both billionaires, high performance athletes and weirdos getting all of the attention.
Men are tuning out and dropping out and turning to incel conspiracy theory bullshit and porn because they are being welcomed there. They are finding soothing and solace there. They are finding a place that reassures them and helps provide meaning to life.
This is a feature of the alienation and devaluation of men, not a bug.
This needs to change.
My writing here and the focus of my work in general is to provide a different path for men who neither wish to submit to the demands of the power zealots who seek to humiliate us into silence1, nor wish to get lost in the darkest corners of Jordan Peterson inspired misogyny.
And this is a damn difficult path to walk.
Already, since the beginning of Movember, in writing about men’s issues and mental health, ten percent of my subscribers are gone. Just the kind of rejection I’ve been avoiding my whole life. In avoiding rejection from others, they’ve had power over me. That’s ridiculous. And foolish. Goodbye and good luck! I’ll take the rejection! Gladly! Thank you!
I’m here for you dudes who want to develop some emotional and intellectual self defense against the constant shame slinging people who feel so entitled to blame dudes for all of the problems today, or come up with single sided arguments as to why and how we need to be ‘different’ in the world.
We are not victims of these people. Despite that fact there are forces at work attempting to diminish the role of men in society, you don’t have to listen to them. In fact, it’s far better when they are ignored. But when confronted? Some tools would be helpful. The best tool? Relational confidence.
You need to me more yourself. You need to find yourself acceptable. For this?
You’ll need to accept yourself.
In this Prof G Podcast with Christine Emba, that I mentioned in an earlier post, this impacts women too. Women at expensive universities outnumber men. Those there, the top 10% of male mates have such a wealth of choice, they end up acting like dicks.
What’s worse, I’ve worked with several young men who, when they look for love, look for mates in face to face ways, not based on swiping on profiles? They get accused of harassment.
And the drama, attention and status that comes from claiming victimization? It’s too juicy of a plum for many women to ignore.
Dudes are giving up in droves.
I’ve been late with my posts in an attempt to handle this delicate subject delicately.
It’s already been costly. Advocating for some traditional male values and criticizing the victim olympics status games that plague our culture has cost me friends. I get accusations of being reactionary and right wing. Funny thing though? The right wing dinks feel like victims too. No matter where you look it’s a victim game.
But the world is a better place with powerful, connected men of purpose.
I’m here for the dudes, so we can have real conversations about what it’s like to be a man, a fucking true, born with a dick man, socialized with all of the expectations that come with it.
Without the constant critiques about how we’re killing / ruining / problematic / sources of toxicity in the world.
The funny stuff ?
The levity stuff?
Its the way out of this mess.
It’s the way forward.
People who can laugh at themselves are not victims.
Typically around my birthday, I feel dark. I regularly experience a high degree of suicidality at this time of year.
This year is different.
I’m no longer willing to listen to the critiques of those politically correct jerks who say things about how terrible men are, then follow up with ‘but not you…’
Maybe it’s the confidence that’s come from having a clear head due to my ADHD diagnosis.
Maybe now that I know that I’m not merely an asshole, I’m oppositional and defiant due to people not understanding me and shaming me for my neurodivergence.
Most likely though?
I attribute this to my wife, daughter, mom and sister. These women love and accept me as I am. Further still, we now have a better understanding that my struggles were not born or a character flaw. I’m a product of weird wiring that was missed and constantly battered and turned into a scapegoat.
Being a white dude may come with privilege. I don’t necessarily see it. What I see is the top of the crop are the ones with all of the benefits. They seem to float through the world on teflon clouds. The rest of us mucky, middle, every man under achievers? We’ve become a kind of cultural scratching posts for all of the catty viciousness in the world.
We all want the same things: Acceptance, to be valued and to be loved.
If men are dropping out and acting like dicks, it’s because they are going to ugly places where they find acceptance and love.
Plain and simple.
We are liberated both by laughing at ourselves and at others.
We are free when we can find comfort in our own skins.
The point of the Foolsletter is to remind us all that none of us are perfect and that our shit just stinks.
And elitist shit too.
We all have our shit.
We all have our shadows.
Us dudes don’t deserve to blamed for, taken to task for nor pay for the sins of those who came before us.
And if you’re like me and Dee Snyder?
Let’s find another way that leads to health, connection and an inclusive world - one that includes traditional notions of masculinity and male values.
Was this a bit messy?
It’s time for me to be a messy man that steps up to lead other men than one hiding.
With the wonderful women in my life, I have all of the approval I need.
Note: This Men’s Room Monday is currently cancelled. I had one sign up. I’ll call him and we can chat for an hour. I haven’t had the confidence to fully commit to publicizing what I consider to be an essential mental health resource we dudes need.
I want to put the time into this that it deserves. That’s the case with about ninety things right now.
housing my buddy who has been living in a tent
being a dad
riding a bike
Not to mention, cleaning the house, getting finances together, spending time with my nanny, building stuff in the country…
Choice creates loss.
Every great creation is a product of saying ‘no’ to so many other things.
My wish for year 51 to 52?
I want to find focus and something to commit to.
The most difficult part of being successful is choosing something to be successful with.
Sadly, that’s my first and biggest failure.
Thanks for reading.
When told, if you want to be an ‘ally’ step aside. My reply? No.