book review, Gender Issues

a Warrior & the Beauty

ax(Popocteptl and  Iztaccihuatl)

“In order to understand how a man receives a wound, you must understand the central truth of a boy’s journey to manhood: Masculinity is bestowed. A boy learns who he is and what he’s got from a man, or the company of men. He cannot learn it any other place. He cannot learn it from other boys, and he cannot learn it from the world of women.”

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“We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”

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After reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge (2011) and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (2001), I decided to write a good old fashioned book review. I am so fond of these two books and have learned so much from them. I didn’t want them to end, but grateful for what was spoken to me through them.

In each book, the authors invite us as men and women to reclaim our hearts. Purposefully masculine and feminine defined in the image of God. I love that John and Stasi affirm an innate longing that men and women have. I long to be romanced and to be a part of a great adventure. I have begun to be open to see how the Lord romances me. I believe He sends me love letters through beautiful displays of light.

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I have taken with me that my feminine heart is needed. That beauty is inviting and risky. But I can risk being vulnerable because it is in Jesus that I find my worth. That Jesus will thwart our plans so that our ways will not fill the holes in our heart, and so we will turn toward Him. That we have mishandled our wounds and allowed strongholds because of it.

I have taken with me that only masculinity can bestow masculinity. That a young man must go away to find his strength and come to offer it to a woman. That a man must find what his heart is made in order to truly live. Otherwise he will settle for cheap imitations. That God is wanting so badly for us to choose Him, to stay and talk with Him.

The questions we seek to get answered are directly reflective of the nature of our Creator. God is strong and firm, all powerful, fighter, warrior. God is a tender lover, Father, friend with open arms. He is the Lion and the Lamb. The piece that is missing is whats only found in Him. When we seek Him. When we open the door to His knocking. I often envision sitting at His feet like Mary did. She chose to stop, sit and listen. Luke 10:38-42. She simply chose to Stay.

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The two main themes discussed in each book are Questions and Wounds. Each man and each woman have a question that is to be answered. Sadly, the first person to give us an answer to our question gives us our wound also.

In Captivating, Stasi tell us that a woman’s question is Am I lovely?
In Wild at Heart, John tell us that a man’s question is Do I have what it takes?

These questions are to be answered by God only, but we always make the mistake of taking these questions to each other. We will never be lovely enough, nor have all of what it takes for each other.

Little girls play dress up. They play with frilly dresses, plastic glittery shoes, toy jewelery. Maybe they twirl around in front everyone at family gatherings. Maybe they put on a show in their living room. Do you see me? Am I beautiful? Do you delight in me? Am I lovely?

Little boys play superheros. They kill dragons, bears, or they are dragons and bears. Little boys turn anything into guns or swords. I was once cut in half with a tube of chap-stick my nephew was holding as a sword. Am I strong? Can I succeed? Do I have what it takes?

It may be easy to understand when comparing these questions to a child’s life, but are you struggling to see it from the perspective of an adult? Adult women want to be seen, to be noticed, to viewed as lovely. What are all the fairy tales, and Pretty Woman stories about? As women, we love a good make-over. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the main character Tula is longing be delighted in. To beautiful. You know that feeling when a friend notices your new earrings or a new sweater, or when you wear your hair differently?As women we compliment each other on those small things because we know what it means on a deeper level. Adult men want to know if they have what it takes. Am I going to be successful? Can I come through? Can I pull it off? A man longs for an adventure, a battle. I mentioned the movie Gladiator in my previous blog post. For every Notebook, or Officer and a Gentleman, there is a fast-cars, shoot ’em up, blow ’em up, booms and bangs movie that men love. The movies that my dad watches and describes scene by scene to me are very different than what I would have picked to watch myself. Even sports, are geared towards men. It is all action based, win or lose. Push your body and your mind, work hard, play hard, accomplish the goal, succeed.

When we as women and men are not getting our question answered through our relationship with our Creator, we are left to answer it on our own. Our answer to the question is No. We have internalized this answer from even further back in our past. Our fathers and mothers were the first people we took our question to. There may have been one particular moment when you received your answer or it may have been a series of moments. The answer to our question may have been delivered with abuse or just poor selfish decision making.

“There’s a young boy named Charles who loved to play the piano, but his father and brothers were jocks. One day they came back from the gym to find him at the keyboard, and who knows what else had built up years of scorn and contempt in his father’s soul, but his son received both barrels: “You’re such a faggot.” ……”Charles, the artistic boy, the piano player whose father called him a “faggot”–what do you think happened there? He never played the piano again after that day. Years later, as a man in his late twenties, he does not know what to do with his life. He has no passion, cannot find a career to love. And so he cannot commit to the woman he loves, cannot marry her because he is so uncertain of himself. But of course– his heart was taken out, way back there in his story.” (Wild at Heart)

“As many little girls do, Lori took ballet lessons. She felt so pretty in her pink leotard and tights that she asked her father to please come and watch her dance. He answered her that when she was on a real stage, then he would come and watch her. As you might know, dance classes end with recitals, and so, they day did come for little Lori to dance on a real stage. Pretty in her shimmering costume, she eagerly waited and watched for her father’s arrival. He never came. Later that evening friends of her father had to carry him into the house, as he was too drunk to walk in by himself. Lori’s little-girl heart believed her dad had gone to great lengths in order not to have watch her dance.” (Captivating)

“My mom was a lonely and busy woman. When I was young I had to pretend to be sick in order to get a morsel of her attention. I remember sitting at the kitchen table as a young girl watching her make dinner when she told me for the first time–but not the last—how devastated she was when she learned that she was pregnant with me. I was the last of four children, too close together, and she wept when she found out that I, the daughter of an overwhelmed mother an absent father, was coming. You can imagine the effect that has on a little girl’s heart.” (Captivating)

What is your answer to your Question thus far in life?

Who answered your Question when you were a child?

Have you taken your Question to the opposite sex or a person you had a relationship with?

How have you mishandled your Question?

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In conclusion, these are great books to be read by men and women. I recommend reading them back to back to get their full depth. If you are feeling unfulfilled with what the World is expecting of you, or even what you think you should be in the Church, these books will give you great insight. If you are recovering from a past identity or false self, these books will take you straight back to your core. There are plenty of real-life, real-talk examples from both Stasi and John there is no way you wont be able to relate. They also tell stories regarding their family and marriage. How their answers have effected their marriage and relationship with one another, good, bad and ugly.

I also recommend these books to those that are not “Believers.” Anyone that needs healing as there is much talk about our Wounds. Anyone that enjoys studying gender roles, identity, relationships, marriage etc. Anyone feeling stuck. Anyone that wants to explore more about the nature of God and Jesus. Anyone that wants to learn how we, men and women, fit together into God’s plan. How we fit together in His heart.

These books aren’t for the Religious, but whoever wants to get closer to God. Or those that are fed up with the mixed messages and mixed emotions that come from trying to function in the World.

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Below are some songs and movie clips that portray father and mother Wounds, and the answers we believe about ourselves. Remember, life is messy, but there is beauty in the struggle.

Related:

Bitter by Andy Mineo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4h7XT1JNwk

Reflections by Mariah Carey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z7Q_cm1Tc0

The Judge movie (2014):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XLP8exes_k

Precious movie (2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1FnPpU9s1w

Ransomed Heart Ministries: http://www.ransomedheart.com/

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

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Gender Issues, Men

10 #manproblems

I asked some men what “men issues” are to them. I have narrowed it down to this list of 10. These are their items but my thoughts on the topic.

Temptation
Response: When boundaries seem old fashioned and constant access to people is the norm, impropriety can take over if you’re not careful. Simple texts turn into all day conversations between two people. With social media its easy to look at profiles and unlimited photos of other people. Its easy to plan out in your head just how easy it would be to take things to the next level with someone though you may already have a Someone. Though most people value fidelity, there’s always those that are on the bench ready to be put in the game. There are women that don’t mind playing second to the wife or girlfriend as long as they get to play. As a man, understand that a woman after you may not be after You. It may feel that way but she could be after you as an escape from her own problems, and you are just a pawn in the game shes playing. She’s looking to fill a hole in her heart. The flesh is weak and its more than just carnal desires. Your emotions, your spirit, your thought-life, your wisdom—its all weak. You may be lusting for sex, and she may be lusting for love, affection, and attention.

“To put it bluntly, your flesh is a weasel, a poser, and a selfish pig. And your flesh is not you.”
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul

Respect
Response: Men want to be respected. I’d like to think I respect men. I didn’t always. I have seen the negative effects of women Not respecting their husbands. Running them over with decision making, decisions for the home, decisions for the children and overall their relationship. Men want to know they are THE MAN! Like Maximus in Gladiator. Maximus has the respect of the Ceaser, the army, his family, and later the other slaves. He gains the respect of all who meet him. He has the respect of the Roman crowd. He does not fight for himself but always for others. It is plain to see and that is why he is respected. He values what is Right, and every move he makes shows that. He doesn’t shout Don’t You Know Who I Am?! He respects those around him no matter his circumstance. Women claim to want a man like that, but will not honor him in their average interactions with him.

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Leadership
Response: I hear often that men need to Step Up. Anytime something goes wrong, I’m sure there was a man somewhere sitting down. *sarcasm, kinda* We want men to step up but shut up. Do what I want you to do and don’t say anything while you do it. At one job, we acquired a new Lead. At first, there were mumblings that he was just what we needed, a Man. However, during the first week I heard something to the effect of Yeah, He was tellin everybody what to do. I kept my laughter inside. We wanted a strong male figure, but we don’t want to take directions from him. I almost made it a point to submit to his leadership, I wanted to be an example of a positive male (leader) to female (helper) relationship. There were many times when he had my back and came through for me. I didn’t require he do things my way. He also made it a point to say during my last week, “What will I do without you, Ms. Liana?” I don’t know what kind of praise and recognition others prefer. A simple statement like that proves to me my worth and value.

Failure
Response: Men are expected to perform. Just think, even sexually. If they cant perform in the moment with a woman its the ultimate fail. Even with the Independent Woman syndrome, a woman still holds high expectations for a man. After all a man needs to step up.Take care of his responsibilities.Provide for his family. Pay the bills, put food on the table. Make money. A lot of money. Be father of the year. Be my knight in shining armor. When a crisis arises, a woman looks at a man and says DO SOMETHING. Men are expected to pull money out of air, be Mr. Fix-It, solver of all problems and righter of all wrongs. We expect them to show up, but shut up until we need them. Until the boxes are too heavy, the tire is flat, or the bedroom grows cold.

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Being Enough
Response: Is he enough to make a woman happy? Probably not. I believe now only God can fulfill us. When we look to others to make us happy, they will fail us. I’ve spent many years waiting for a guy to make me happy.Thinking once I’m in a relationship, I’ll be happy. It seems as though when you hit one benchmark, another one surfaces, and another and another. The train to happiness keeps adding stops to the journey. Its seems we’ll never get where we’re trying to go. I can understand wanting your partner to be happy with the choice they made when they chose you. I get it, you don’t want them to regret that they chose you. We all want our partners to be proud to be with us. Not embarrassed.

Racism
Response: For those of us that are not-white, Race is all around us. You always know if there are other people of color in the room, or not. You always analyze the relationships between people and understand if issues of race/color are taking place underneath the surface. As a woman of color, I see how often men of color are effected by racism. Men of color are over-represented in all levels of the criminal justice system. They are under-represented in official roles of leadership. These two truths give way to stereotypes and miscommunication. Men of color are fighting against what the world thinks they are. The overriding messages of what black men are, Latino men are, etc. In Heaven and Hell, there will be no demographics. But the enemy wants us to believe we are forever different from one another. With perceived differences, come injustices, superiority, inferiority, hate crimes, genocide, and more. A man carries a heavy load and race is often times what breaks his back.
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Authenticity
Response: Googling “knowing who you are as a man” is quite disappointing. I decided on a quote:
“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali

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I had the privilege of visiting the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY. I learned more about him there than I had ever known. I learned that he took on some controversial views on race and women at one point in his life. He was steadfast in those beliefs at the time. Decades later, he admitted his beliefs had changed and that he hadn’t always treated women how he ought to have. Having gone through four marriages I would think he was the common denominator. Muhammed Ali, born Cassius Clay, was a boxing machine at the age of 12. As a teenage boy, he didn’t eat junk food. He set himself apart from the rest of the crowd early on. Muhammed Ali would not be the legend he is today, had he not decided who he was going to be. Every man must decide who he is going to be as a man. During this time in America, everything was black and white. Muhammed Ali gained respect, notoriety, and fame because he sold everyone on who he was. He was a force to be reckoned with.
“I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty, and cant possible be beat!”
There was no doubt who he was and he didn’t waver even when others didn’t back him up. When his beliefs became too controversial, he stayed true to his beliefs until he decided to change. Even upon changing his beliefs, he was not regarded as fickle, but still a Man.

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A Woman’s Needs
Response: If women got together to write a list of what they need, I’m sure it would be never ending, and there would be constant revisions. As I mature, my list shortens but deepens. I need to know that whomever I choose to be with, will in fact, BE THERE. I need to know that when we approach a crossroads, he will CHOOSE to continue with* me* wherever we may go. That he wont decide I’m just too much trouble and this is where we end. I need to know that we are on the same TEAM, and you will not conspire against me. You will not make me look stupid. That if I’m pulling away, you will come closer, even its uncomfortable for you. That you can be strong enough to hear my doubts and my problems and HELP. I don’t know how well you can always give a woman what she needs, but trying is half the battle.

A Woman’s Perception
Response: Let me quote my friend, ” A woman may want a certain type of man, that she has in her head. And if a guy doesn’t meet that perception then something is wrong with him and he either has to change or he isn’t a “man.” When in fact he could be a good man for you.” I admit I have done this repeatedly in my life. I broke up with my first boyfriend because I realized he didn’t deserve me being disappointed in him all the time. He deserved for someone to love him all the way through; something I could not do or, was not willing to do. I hold the belief that a man should be who you want him to be when you meet him. If hes none of the things you are wanting then that most likely wont change once you get involved. A year later, you will be upset that he never changed. But it will be your fault that you continued against your own standards.

The Scumbag
Response: Why do women choose the scum bags? No girl plays dress up and says “I cant wait to grow up and be disrespected by a man!” I have heard other women’s stories and am amazed at the BS they put up with. He doesn’t have a job or car but he sits around your house all day? You buy him clothes and shoes? He cheats on you? He hits you? Hes rude, demeaning, and patronizing? But if they heard the BS I’ve put up with. We all have our stories so I try not to judge. Our “bottom lines” vary. I know that in the back of my mind, I like to be the Good one. The Good Influence. I may choose to spend time with a guy that is rough around the edges so that I can look good. The same reason I don’t care too much for a white collar man. He looks more important than me. He looks better than me. It is because of my own selfishness, my own self-centeredness that decides I need to look out for myself. That a man cant come through for me so why pretend that there is more out there for me? Its easier to put the blame on a man, then it is to CHANGE yourself.

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And, Scumbag Steve meme just for fun….

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Related Reading:

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-2

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/why-do-some-women-prefer-jerks-for-boyfriends/

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The Cross, Transformation

the Purge

[to clear of something unclean or unwanted. to remove or eliminate. to rid (a person or thing) of something unwanted.]

I write this with hesitation. I don’t really want to write my story for all to see. Though the theme has saturated itself in my journals for years now. I am just Beautifully Broken. Put together on the outside. Adorned with lovely things. But inside this house, there is a dark room. A dark room where my soul has died more than once.
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There were times in my life that I walked into this dark room, gave the keys to someone else and allowed them to lock me inside. I became hurt, angry and bitter. Sometimes, they’d leave the keys in arms reach. After long periods of time, I’d take the keys and let myself out. I would give away the keys again and go back inside the room. Cry myself to sleep and ask myself Why does this happen to me?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:15-20

Finding this in the Bible was life changing for me. I was stuck on super-UNfun rollercoaster,  a merry-go-round of confusion, rejection, disappointment, heartache. I may have switched from the white pony to the giraffe to the zebra or even a unicorn, but it was the same ride. I AM NOT CRAZY. I AM CRAZY. I used to tell myself, I’m smart, I’m rational, why cant I figure this out? What is wrong with me?

If youre familiar with the Myers Briggs personality types, I am a INTJ. Introvert-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging. I needed to figure this out. I needed to find the problem and solve it. I needed it to make sense. But I could not make sense of my pattern of having sex with someone I knew did not care for me, value me, respect me, or love me. I could not make sense of walking right into the burning fire and being horrified at the 3rd degree burns. I could not understand my preaching, “I’m not your night-time plaything anymore” only to find myself in his bed yet again. My overwhelming insecurity drowning me two days later like clockwork. All the texts messages and phone calls that never came, that still haven’t because in a very twisted way, I am still waiting.
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Words unspoken, misunderstood texts, and consuming thoughts have turned to prayers but often I don’t know why I’m praying or who I’m really praying for. Me? Him? My prayers have been for God to take this away. For God to just take me away. For God to open his heart to me. For God to just open his heart to anyone. For God to snatch him up and run faster than he is running from Him. For God to come and fill me like I want to be filled by him.  They fluctuate and alleviate. I change my mind about 30 times a day. Another year is about to pass by and still this IT remains.

Its been a year and half since the last time, but I always analyze the years in between now and the beginning. When it began I was 21. This Elite Daily article sums up the state of mind I was in and how it all came to happen. They’re 6 Reasons Why You’re Only His Hookup, Not His Girlfriend caught me off guard this morning when I woke up. Reading through these main points had me feeling regretful.

  • You Enabled The Hook-Up Mentality
  • You Never Told Him What You Wanted
  • You Didn’t Make Him A Priority
  • You Ignore The Signs That He’s Emotionally Unavailable
  • Why Buy The Cow?
  • He’s Just Not That Into You

I enabled the hook-up mentality by trying to be the cool-independent, I Don’t Need a Man girl. I never told him what I wanted because I didn’t want to appear needy, and what if he says No? I didn’t make him a priority because I was afraid of getting to know someone that will hurt you anyway. I ignored the signs he was emotionally unavailable because I too, shut off my emotions. He didn’t want to commit because I never said he had to. Hes just never been that into me because if he wanted to be with me, he would.

Hard truths for sure. God can forgive you if you ask. Your life can change if you allow Him to change you. But some consequences remain. You will have to face problems you would not have had to face had you not sinned.

I receive frequent emails from a relationship-speaker of sorts after visiting his website and subscribing to the newsletter . In the email today, he discusses Common Mistakes Women Make When it Comes to Sex.

“Not saying anything about what it means for you to share yourself with him because you keep telling yourself that he feels the same way you do… and you assume he wants a relationship because he wants to sleep with you

· Not saying anything about your feelings or about wanting a relationship because you thought it might “weird him out” or make it awkward

· Not knowing exactly know how you feel and what sleeping with him will mean to you until AFTER you sleep with him and a whole rush of feelings hits you like a tidal wave

If you’ve ever felt hurt because you became physical with a man and he ended up not having an interest in dating or starting a relationship, then odds are you can look back and see that one or more of the above scenarios was at play.

Of course, it doesn’t seem like it’s you who is making a mistake in these situations. It feels like THE MAN you’re with is the one who obviously doesn’t get it, and is a player for not being ready for a relationship.”

This again had me feeling regretful. Being reminded of where I went wrong oh so many years ago. Being reminded of how far from close I am with that person. How I wish I hadn’t thought I could handle casual sex. Opening up to friends through the years, I always get the same look. A look of disbelief. No, not Liana. She’s the one that holds it together when everything else is falling apart. She’s got it going on. A degree, an admirable career field. She’s definitely not crazy. Smart, Beautiful, Strong. [I’m not bragging, I promise]. Maybe they say she could have anyone she wants. She could take her pick. Why is she stuck? Why can’t she see she’s worth it? I’ve given my friends the look and the same speech. Leave him alone. Don’t text him. You’re better than that. He’s not respecting you. You deserve much more. Its never made sense to me or them.
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So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25

What a wretched woman I am. Whats good in me is Christ. I do not have it all together. Jesus died on the cross for me. So I don’t have to be a slave to sin. A slave to hooking – up with a guy that has no love for me. A slave to insecurity and fear. A slave to madness. depression. self-sabotage. failure. Wars are raging against you and I. Ones we can’t always see until it’s too late and you realize you lost though you don’t recall ever enlisting in battle.
A year and a half of a type of sobriety. Everyday I fight thoughts that lead to a relapse. I desire so desperately to do the right thing. To honor God with my body and decisions. But the pull remains.

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“This can get to be a kind of relational cocaine. A woman gets to a place where she just can’t turn down the possibility of the sexual, emotional stroke that being with a man gives.”
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“Allowing a man to enjoy sexual favor without risking real commitment in marriage invites him to remain a boy inside.”
Paula Rinehart- Sex and the Soul of a Woman

“1. Know Yourself And What You’re After
You said, “I have made the mistake of admitting to a friend that I have feelings for him.”
It’s NOT a mistake to share your feelings with a man. It IS a mistake to share your feelings with a man 1) too early and 2) in a negative context.
You set yourself up for failure by choosing and “tolerating” a situation that just doesn’t work for you.
That situation is being “ok” with a purely physical situation when in fact you need – and want – more.
Instead of being open with yourself about what YOU are truly after, you pursued this “friends with benefits” strategy to get things moving.
That’s why you’re freaking out.
You thought you could handle it. You thought you’d get something out of it. And for a minute, it was fun.
But then your feelings snuck up on you. Eventually you were reminded of what you’re really after with a man and what you value.
Right now you have two pictures in your mind: One picture is of this “casual” thing going on. And the other one is what you actually want. The two pictures are so radically different and far apart from each other, that it’s no wonder you’re acting “insane.”
Your expectations are completely out of line for what you’re ACTUALLY doing with this guy.
It’s time to stop creating situations in your life that you KNOW won’t make you happy or comfortable in the long run – even if they feel good in the moment.
2. Find Your Personal Standards… And Then Stick With Them
Starting things with a man in this “casual” way, is a SUREFIRE way to ruin your odds of creating something more meaningful in the future.
I’m a guy. I know.
But, more importantly, getting into a “casual” situation with a man you might want to date more seriously and exclusively, has a VERY HIGH potential to make you FEEL AWFUL.
So…
Unless you’re one out of a hundred thousand women that gets “swept off her feet” by an open, caring, great communicator, who makes moving into a committed relationship effortless… then you’re going to have to start asking yourself some real questions about what you really want from your love life.
And once you have the answers, actually be honest about them from the start. Here’s an important question to ask yourself:
“What are my needs?”
And I do mean YOUR needs. Not his. Not what you’re accepting or tolerating or hoping to get from a man just because there’s nothing better around right now.
Be clear here and think it through. I’ll give you a minute…
Most of the women I know who are dating have a set of subconscious requirements from the men they’re seeing:
That any man they’re involved with, in any way, isn’t dating or still involved with another woman
That he’s open and ready to explore a serious relationship once they get to know each other
That they share the same values and priorities – or he can at least appreciate and support her values
That it’s going somewhere, and it’s not just going to be casual dating forever
But these aren’t things they are willing or able to communicate directly with the man they’re seeing. So, they end up in a situation that is anything but what they were looking for.
They say, “This is fine for now. I’m just enjoying myself.”
They are not being honest with themselves about their bottom-line “must-haves” and therefore can’t express these things to the man, either.
So, how in touch are you with your REQUIREMENTS to feel good when it comes to men and dating? And how do you communicate these to a man?
Do you do it indirectly by acting frustrated and angry when your needs aren’t being met, after you’ve already become intimate and emotionally vested in the relationship? Or do you do it directly and in a positive context as things are GETTING STARTED, so you’re in sync from the get-go?
Remember, 99% of the time, a man is NOT going to make the right decisions for you, or magically and telepathically recognize and meet all your needs.
Sticking to a set of minimum standards and then communicating those helps show a man what it’s going to take to make you happy.
3. Radically Reject Behavior That Doesn’t Meet Your Standards
I observed something fascinating about people and relationships a few years back.
When we’re in a situation that causes bad feelings and friction of some kind, there is always some kind of “payoff” for one or the other person… and that’s why they persist in sticking with the bad situation.
Here’s what you’re getting out of the “casual” thing…
You get a safe and risk-free path to get close to this guy. Even though technically you’re not “close” at all. I call this “working it from the ‘friend zone”.
After all, how vulnerable would you be if you shared what you REALLY were looking for up front, BEFORE you slept with him? You might be disappointed or rejected, or you would be unable to continue the “friendship” that you have right now.
And maybe having to start over alone might actually be worse in your mind than having something crappy and low-quality that you’re “tolerating” now.
But if you look deeper, you’ll probably see that your desire for something more was there all along underneath the surface. Therefore, I doubt that you could have been “just friends” with him anyway, even if you never slept together, without you feeling gypped in some way.
That’s why you have to show a man that you’re strong and you know what you want, and you won’t settle for scraps or second-best or “good enough for now.”
-Christian Carter

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Related Reading: http://elitedaily.com/dating/6-reasons-youre-hookup-girlfriend/869942/
http://elitedaily.com/dating/hookup-culture-non-relationship-generation-getting-nowhere/664654/
http://elitedaily.com/women/every-girl-one-guy-shell-always-go-back/939666/

Related Music: Tug of War by Andy Mineo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uubPjUhxAyQ
When I’m Alone by Lissie: http://youtu.be/7G0_eN36QVc

http://en.gravatar.com/lmartinez85

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Gender Issues, Women

hey Slut: Part 2

m2Ladies, lets get real. Stop over dramatizing everything, its so cliche. I dress modestly and believe me, my shape is not sexless. My curves have curves and there’s no way around it unless I actually wore a bed sheet. I can up my shirt size to XL or wear a 1 in “plus size” and you will most definitely still know that I am WOMAN. Believing that the only way to express yourself is through wearing what you want is again, adolescent in nature. Are you a civilized First World Woman or perpetual rebellious teenager? Are you rebelling against all the daddies of this world while you prance around in your short skirt? Because “when you start acting like an adult, I’ll treat you like one” said every parent ever.

There are women all over the world that could only dream of something as Freedom of Speech, or freedom to peacefully protest. They fear for their lives, literally. In countries like India, where acid is thrown on your face.  Not only to cause physical pain but to mame you for life. No one will want to marry you, your family will reject you, and you just have to try to keep on living. In continents like Africa, where a female infants and female children are victims of female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types.

  • Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

  • Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

  • Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

  • Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

In other African countries, young female children and teens can be married and become pregnant. Because of their young age and due to lack of prenatal care, major bladder tears/holes can happen during the birthing process. This causes fluid to leak outside of their young bodies uncontrollably. This causes the young girls/women to smell due to constant fluid leaking from their bladder. Because of this, they are deemed useless and disgusting. Their husbands do not want them anymore, their families definitely do not want them anymore. So there are left unable to provide for themselves, or attain resources.

http://www.aidforafrica.org/member-charities/fistula-foundation-the/

In my post the War on Eve, I discuss the enemy’s attack on Eve and her daughters ever since we were in the Garden. With these real women’s issues it is blatant to see. In my modest research, a few issues have surfaced. Some say Feminism is a class problem. I don’t doubt it.

While women struggle daily against systematic and institutionalized, cultural physical torture many of us feel royally offended when a man we don’t even know calls us a slut.

While these women just want to know they are beautiful, many of us call men “thirsty” if they compliment us.

While these women are being demanded of sex, many of us fantasize about a Valentine’s day lover.

While these women watch their daughters suffer the same cruelty, we watch our daughters at dance class in bows and ribbons.

While these women cook scraps in dark kitchens, we make reservations for a Girls Night Out.

While these women have their most sacred parts, which were designed by God, cut and sliced, many say “Its my body I do what I want.”

While these women drink dirty water, many of us have drunken black outs.

While these women just want to be treated with kindness, many of us carry a spirit of arrogance.

trSlut Walks discriminate. Rape does not. Who are victims of rape?  Men, women, girls, boys, babies, elderly adults, married people, single people, those with developmental disabilities. Who are rapists, probably every one of those except babies. What about incest? Sibling molestation? Family friends? Rape is not just man against woman. Women rape also. They are pedophiles also. Rape and molestation can be traced back to the offender’s past. They themselves may have been raped, either through  a grooming process, or violently. Exposing a child to sexual behavior immediately puts them on an entirely different path.  A path of self destruction, self-hate, aggression, depression, attachment issues, drug addiction, violence, and so on. It kills something inside of them. Those that rape have a voice too. The enemy will destroy one heart after another, one soul after another.

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One of my favorite and unpopular scriptures is 1Peter 5:8.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour

There are times when you think there is a great distance between when the Bible was written and now. There were no cell phones, or apps,  Buzzfeed, Peppermint Mocha Lattes etc. But there was alcohol. There have always been people that want to use substances to make them feel different. There has always been behaviors that get in the way of our best selves. This “Be sober, be vigilant” is constantly in my mind. I have been drunk, tipsy, buzzed and whatever else in between. I never liked being drunk. The first party I went to I got drunk after three plastic cups of keg beer, I was only 17. In my drunkenness, I realized three guys staring at me. Watching me. Immediately I knew they were observing me and rating me on my level of vulnerability. I could feel it. I have seen hundreds of men since, in every bar and in every city do it. They are wanting to find the drunkest girl and go off with her to have sex. That is the truth. Are they slime-bags for it? Yes. Do I blame them? No. Our young men are socialized to have sex and to partake in a woman’s body. They are not socialized to mind their boundaries, court a woman, and then marry her. Provide and protect her. We as young women are socialized to have sex and to partake in a man’s body. We are not socialized to mind our boundaries, allow a man to court us, to marry a man. To allow a man to provide and protect us.

And we wonder why everything is so wrong with everything. Or is just me? The world tells us Its not That bad, go ahead, it wont hurt you. Its fun. There comes a day when it all stops being fun. When your tears come with every Adele song, when your heart aches from rejection. This could be your run of the mill one night stand, a breakup, or something worse, a physical and sexual assault-that you may or may not have been aware of due to your physical state of intoxication. My parents never taught me that the world was made up of rainbows and lollipops. They taught me, if someone hits you-hit ’em back. Now, when did we all of a sudden think nothing bad would ever happen to us? Did your parents sit you down one day and tell you that everyone was going to be nice to you? Mine never did. I learned people treat you how you teach them to treat you. I have had to re-teach some.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18
Lets go back to alcohol. Even in my drinking days, I would cut myself off if I did not like my surroundings. If I found myself to be amongst people I did not know or even those I did know, but did not like. I rarely, if ever, “stayed over” a person’s home instead of driving. I kept watch on my friends and did my best to make sure nothing bad happened to them as well. I distinguished between the good-guys and the others. The good-guys were the ones you could trust to not violate you if you were grossly drunk or if you fell asleep. I knew I never wanted to be one of those girls. The ones that get passed around, the one that you can take anywhere and she’ll do anything. There were so many times I thought to myself: Wow, if this guy(s) wanted to rape me, he totally could. I wouldn’t be able to get out of it. How did I survive this era of my life without being assaulted? The only thing that makes sense is God’s mercy.

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Mercy: an event to be grateful for, especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.

Related reading:

http://m.clarionproject.org/news/150-isis-sex-slaves-commit-suicide-some-fed-dogs
“we all live in a world raging with sin, and I’m not immune to its affects.” http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2002/july/i-was-raped.html#bmb=1

“Nothing has made the glories of heaven, a place where God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,” sound so sweet.” http://goodwomenproject.com/rape/god-saw-my-rape-and-he-didnt-stop-it
http://www.gotquestions.org/favor-of-God.html
http://carm.org/where-does-god-ever-show-us-mercy
http://rightwingnews.com/crime/the-problem-with-the-slut-walk/
http://indianmuslimpost.blogspot.com/2013/08/slut-walk-mocks-indian-women-real-issues.html
http://www.girlsgonewise.com/five-problems-i-have-with-slutwalk-marches/
http://www.yasminnair.net/content/slutwalk-end-feminism
http://www.aidemocracy.org/students/the-issues-with-slutwalk/

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Gender Issues

hey Slut: dissecting Slut Walks part 1

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I have never been called a Slut. To my face, online, or anywhere for that matter. That I know of. I have not been raped or sexually assaulted. I tell you that to be honest. So you know where I am coming from and where I’m not. Today, many people protest and leach onto to causes they truly have no heart for. They get caught up in the divisiveness and loud noises. Like Brick Tamland here.

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If we told people that in 2015 Obama was in the process to scrap July 4th as a national holiday to be more Muslim-friendly as part of international relations, groups and individuals of all interest groups would be taking sides of an octagon. The United BasketWeavers of America, The National Association of People Against Everything, along with the ForEverythingPeople would be taking to twitter, facebook, youtube, AOL Hotmail, Morse code, and anything else they could get their hands on to get their “message” out there. Sadly, the average American is not able to decipher between satire, truth, fake-truths, bias, and bait. We are the most privileged country in the world, we have First World Problem memes, and have knowledge at our fingertips. But we collectively have the maturity level of a 15 year old.

During my early twenties, I always killed the vibe of that one drinking game. A list was always drawn up on the spot, 2 through Ace, each card had something for you to do. King: guys drink, Queen: b****es drink or hoes drink, 4: I never…, 7: person to your left drinks, and so on.  The tasks varied, but there was always the demeaning term for women used. If I drew that Queen, I wouldn’t take a drink, “I’m not a hoe, so I’m not doing it.” AHHH, COME’ON! OKAY, GIRLS DRINK THEN! I apparently I was taking it too serious. I hated drinking games anyway.

Some women use “Hey B****” or “hey slut” just as casual openers between friends. Hearing women use those words towards each other always appalled me. Those words were meant to hurt us, why use them towards each other for fun? Or the infamous, I can say it but you can’t philosophy.

So this “taking Slut back” movement confuses me. I just want to say, Honey, why are you calling yourself a slut? To show Men that you are Not a slut? To prove to those that judge you, that you are Not a slut?

Its like middle school or high school logic. Call a girl a slut and watch her try to prove that she isn’t one. No matter what she says after that makes her look like she’s lying. Its like calling someone crazy. BUT IM NOT CRAZY! Well, that’s what crazy people say. IM NOT AN ADDICT! Well, that’s what addicts say. IM NOT A CHILD MOLESTER! Well, that’s what a child molester would say. I DIDN’T KILL THAT PERSON! Well, that’s what someone that killed that person would say. Its never ending. Theres no way out. If someone accuses you of having sex with someone that you did not have sex with, you cannot prove that you never had sex with them. All you have is your word.

Words are powerful. To re-label yourself a slut in effort to prove that you aren’t one doesn’t make sense. To bathe in hurtful and vulgar words does not show self-actualization, enlightenment or wisdom. If you are not striving for either of those three terms, what are you shouting for then?

Now I remember I have been called names. Working with teenagers that are “locked up” in facilities, you will be called anything and everything. The worst of the worst, C**T.  I’ve been yelled at, cussed at, threatened, and postured towards. I’ve had chairs thrown in my direction. Being the victim of physical and verbal aggression was nothing to be shocked by. Within the last week, I was called a “Mexican hoe” by teenage boys. Was it ridiculous? Yes. Was I irritated? Yes. Am I a Mexican hoe? No? I am Mexican so…it doesn’t matter. I continued on with the expectation that they did not follow, but I practiced emotional intelligence and judged them solely on their merits of being teenage boys. I did not break into anger, and political protest. I’m not raging against teenage boys or men.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… James 1:19

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. Psalm 37:8-9

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

Verse after verse, the Bible reiterates this message about anger. In case you think the Bible is crap, here is some psychology:

“Anger can make us blind to the truth and unable to accept what’s sensible and correct. When anger is the primary emotion being felt, we become less able to think and act rationally and in some cases, even our senses do not work properly because of extreme anger.”

http://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/emotional_problems_psychologist/pyschologist_anger.htm

Some people live day to day with chronic stress, presumably anger. Some do their best to keep their anger at bay or manage it as an active volcano. I am certainly not one of those people. I get truly angry about once a year. I let things go and forgive even when I don’t always know it. I wasn’t supposed to talk to her, dammit. Oh well.

Anger is considered a secondary emotion. Secondary to HURT/PAIN. We mask our hurt feelings with anger. Anger pushes people away. Ive struggled the most with trying to help many teenagers with their issues all the while they are doing everything they can to push people away. Angry people make it hard for us to help them. They push us to the point where we consider walking away. And many people do walk away.

In effort to redefine a hurtful term, as one of twisted sense of empowerment, you have made the people you are shouting at turn away or look in amusement. See they are saying they are sluts, proving us right. Calling yourself a slut will not make others realize they shouldn’t call you a slut. Escalating yourselves will not teach others how they are wrong. It will not intimidate them into changing their ways. It will not shame them as you have been shamed. Your aggressive language towards yourself (and those you claim to be fighting for) does nothing to them. You cannot change others. You can only change yourself and I suggest taking the word Slut out of your vocabulary to start.

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In reaction to a man touching (rape/assault) your body (your most sacred parts) without your consent, you expose your body (your most sacred parts) to even more men in public with pride. Circular reasoning.

Related reading: http://www.girlsgonewise.com/five-problems-i-have-with-slutwalk-marches/

http://theprayingwoman.com/2014/12/08/because-he-knows-my-pain/

http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Gaslighting.html

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/showing-grace-era-cultural-outrage

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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Gender Issues, Men, Transformation

one for the Boys

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When I watch my nephew “play” I wonder what life is like through his eyes. He is often in the middle of an intense battle between The Hulk, Spiderman, Ironman and often switches in and out of roles. He could also be present in a land of dinosaurs and dragons, he is most often a T-Rex. He enjoys pretending to fall down, or acting out a failed jump from the couch to the floor. He is loud and the source of brash noises that seem to only make sense in his context. He turns simple crayons into rocket ships as they burst through the sky. He loves to explore and offer up his small courage to a “haunty house” [any dark room] and transforms himself into a spooked sense of self while in play mode. Between these scenarios, there are spurts of eating. He eats a variety of foods and yet, quite nothing at all. If you haven’t caught on, I take pride in studying his every move.
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As a woman that grew up with no brothers with male cousins seen sporadically, my nephew’s methods are appealing and adventuresome. At times, he gets to jumping on me too much and I put my hands up in surrender. Okay, that’s enough I say. And he seems unaware of how I don’t like this activity anymore. I offer some of my own preferred activities like coloring, drawing, reading a book. I’d like to take time to brag that now he finds enjoyment drawing his vicious characters and exploring another version of his imagination. I also have adapted my normal way of doing things to ask him to help me. When I ask him “hey can you help me?” his response is of great willingness and attention. He tries to lift the heavy box, he tries to find the item I am looking for. He loves to help at the grocery store by putting items on the counter for me to scan at the self- checkout. This is not a fast process. I name the item and what he offers me may or may not be that item. But I love to see him listen and search, trying to match words to real life pictures. This is a challenge for him and it’s exciting. Did I get it right?! What is frozen green beans again? Most of all, he wants to DO. He doesn’t want to sit and shut up, and I like it that way.
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A backlash of feminism has produced an assault on men.

In high school, I recognized the similarity of many prime time sitcoms, the buffoon dad/husband. This image is different than a Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) or a Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), these are the Raymond (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy) and some others. There was a shift in the way the husband/father was portrayed in the evening TV shows from decades prior. These men are often displayed at simpletons that just always get it wrong. *insert mechanical laughs now* Without their wife, they would live as 40-something frat boys eating Doritos and sour cream for dinner. These men are incapable of caring for their children appropriately and safely. They are also inept at romancing their wives. I’m not married nor do I have children. However, don’t roll your eyes too far back. I was a child once, a child of two married people. With this image of a man or husband, what modern woman would want to be married? I feel bad this is the way men are depicted not just in TV sitcoms but also big picture movies. This image subconsciously draws us away from each other as men and women. This reiterates that message of I don’t need a man. I can do for myself. These messages are a direct result of feminism.
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Can we make bunkbeds? Soooo???

And so I see many, many men taking a backseat to the feminist agenda. If they speak up they are labeled as a sexist and misogynist. If they fall in line, they are tamed. They become passive. They become the man that just stands there when someone is disrespecting you as a woman. They say nothing. If they open a door for you, I can open a door myself. If they take you out, I can pay for myself. But if you sleep with him, can you call you yourself? By the looks of it, that’s the only time some women want a man. To lay in bed with and then obsess over the lack of texts and phone calls coming in. Some women assert their Independence, but cling to their phones waiting for the sad, majestic elusive text message. There’s no judgment here because I have been that woman. Scared to know a man by any other context aside from that which I can assure myself success. I believed that interactions between myself and men were of a win/lose situation. If you know that I like you, I lose. If I’m nice to you, I lose. I used to say I’m not an ego fluffer. I’m not his personal cheerleader. Some of you may be nodding your head like, Right! Let me finish, I now see those beliefs were being held by an immature and insecure woman. There’s a quote that circulates on social media:
“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.”

I tried to out-shine my fellow man. I was shallow and needed men to know that I was better. I used to believe a man could offer me nothing. The root of these beliefs are for another day.
Four years ago, I went with my pregnant sister to the doctor where we would find out the sex of her baby. When the tech announced there was a penis and that it was a boy, I said “I guess our man-hating days are over.” I have stuck by that statement. How could I welcome a baby boy into this world holding in resentments towards men? How could honor this new member of the family by subconsciously being repelled by all things masculine? How could I take delight in him if I disapproved of his nature?

These days I don’t trash talk men. I actually listen to a few. Men have so much to say and so much to offer us women. Allow yourself to be a woman, soft and beautiful. Allow a man the chance to come through for you. They want to. If a man disappoints you, I plead with you to not become bitter. Do not become prickly. I can only explain this transformation as one produced by God. Without a willingness to be corrected I could not have the heart I have today. We all have value, and I refuse to put down a man in order to self-soothed my own insecurities.

qwRelated Reading:

http://www.girldefined.com/the_trend_of_the_feminine_guy

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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