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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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:

NEW as of November 20, 2018: https://www.dailywire.com/news/38556/walsh-boyhood-not-mental-disorder-matt-walsh

http://www.girldefined.com/the_trend_of_the_feminine_guy

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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Transformation

Save your Sorry- a true confession

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Save your sorry for some other girl. Save your sorry I don’t wana hear it. Maybe don’t do things that you will have to be sorry about.

After a guy would hurt me, I did not want to hear sorry. Don’t even apologize. You did what you did, there’s no room for you in my heart anymore. I’ve shut the door and locked it. Things will never be the same again. I know you now. You’re not who you said you were. You’re not who I believed you to be. You’re the opposite of all the good things I had liked about you. I must leave. I must stay away. “it’s too dangerous to be the vicinity of where you are.” You are dangerous to me now. I must protect myself. I must build walls higher and stronger. You will not hurt me again. This will not happen again. I will know next time. I will see the signs. I will stay away. I knew I didn’t need anyone anyway. I knew it would end up like this. I knew I’d be the one to hurt. They are all the same.
Proceed to the Bitterness Parade. The I Don’t Need a Man Clan. Omarion’s “Icebox” on repeat. Goes to closet. I’m going out. I’m going out tonight. Puts on short shorts, cutest top. I’m gona be the S***. I’ll show him. Puts on heels. He’ll see what he’s lost. He’ll see he is replaceable. Re-apply makeup. “Boys just come and go like seasons.” Mascara layer 1 &2. “You must not know ’bout me, I can have another you by tomorrow, so don’t you ever for a second get to thinkin.’” Mascara layers 3 &4. “The best way to get over someone old, is to get under someone new.” Apply glossiest lip gloss so it almost drips. “I’m single again, back on the prowl, I thought he was perfect, I don’t know how.” Head to the club. Bar. Party. After Party. Kickback. I need to find someone to make out with. I won’t do anything else.
Approached by a guy. Act like I don’t care. Tease him about something. Be flirty, coy, sarcastic, and maybe a bit mean. He wouldn’t know what to do with me if I was naked sitting on his lap! He’s not on my level. He had an umbrella in his drink! Are you serious? Like, if I wanted him, I’d have him. If I wanted him to come and talk to me, I woulda let him know. Like what makes you think you can just come up and talk to *me*? Yea I saw him lookin since I got here. LAME. Oh look at her. Honey, if I wanted your man, it would already done and happened.
That was me at 20…21….22….23…24? Those years are blurry ones. Dark club lights, tipsy walks to bathrooms, walks of shame, 3am tacos/breakfasts, intoxicated driving, and lots of “plans” gone awry. Regret. Some say they don’t have regrets because it was a lesson they learned, it lead them to where they are today, because it was once something they wanted. I do not feel the same. I have regrets. I have memories, that I wish I could go back in time and erase them from ever happening. I have memories that I hope others do not remember. Guys that I hope they don’t remember kissing me, touching my body, sleeping with me. I hope I have faded away that they wouldn’t recognize me on the street. Remembering such situations, makes me feel gross. I can’t believe I did some things I have done. It feels like so long ago, like someone else’s life. Like a story you heard one time from someone else. Like a movie you have seen once.
I began to show some growth though. Visualize that Keanu Reeves meme: So if no one is on my level, then that means I am alone, because there is no one on my level. I am on the level by myself. DEEP. Go ahead, laugh. Some scholars now say the brain doesn’t reach full development until age 25. So yea, that happened.
At about 25 I entered a serious relationship with someone. I moved cities and we lived together. I thought I was grown then. We played house and I’ll admit, I enjoyed certain aspects of it. Having someone to come home to after work. Having a man brush off snow from my car in the morning. Okay, maybe just two. It all came to end exactly to the day I had moved there the previous year. It ended in me crying. Me moving out. Me having to remain in that city because I was about to start my final class for my degree in two days. I wanted to jump in my car and come back Home. Circumstances wouldn’t permit me to do so. I had to tough it out.
[part of my testimony]
My mantra was “it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t want me, GOD wants me.” My feelings were hurt but I coped appropriately. I didn’t turn to alcohol, partying, depression, other guys like I had once envisioned if that day ever came. I worked, and studied night and day, walked a little over 3miles up to 5 days a week. I stayed in contact with supportive friends and family. My friends and family didn’t understand how I was doing so well in light of what had just happened. I didn’t quite understand either but I didn’t doubt it. I knew my proper place was not in that city, with that guy. God was calling me back home, to Omaha, to my family, to my friends, back to Life Church and onto another kind of life.
I have always believed in God, even as a child. I had always prayed to God and talked to Him. My faith in Him did get me through trying times as a young person. However I was not actively and outwardly pursuing God and being obedient to Him until 2012. That May, after participating in a 5k in Omaha with a close friend, we found ourselves at Life Church (at Westside). There the sermon was about letting go of the things God wants for you to let go of and trusting Him. It was compelling due to my current circumstances and at the alter call, a woman asked how she could pray for me. I told her to pray that I be able to make a certain decision when the time came and to not hesitate doing what I have to do. She prayed for me and I returned home (3 hours west of Omaha) later that day. Within 2 weeks my boyfriend and I dramatically confronted the crossroads we were at and it was very clear our relationship was over.

wpid-20141210_200108-1.jpg[From Wild at Heart by John Eldredge; God will shatter your false self, so that you may become who is designed you to be, for you to turn toward Him and nothing else]

As you know now, I have been on a long journey. It hasn’t always made sense and I couldn’t see in the dark. My eyes are open now and I no longer walk around blind. My heart is open and I do not refuse to love anyone. Even if you hurt me. I still care for you and pray for you. I have forgiven the guys that have hurt me and have received heart felt apologies from them through the years. You may be stuck in old patterns, old habits, addictions, unhealthy habits. You may be sick of the same outcomes, the same hurts. The same heartbreak just different faces to attach it to. You may think things aren’t so bad. Really examine your life. Are you accepting things just as they are because you don’t believe you are Worthy of more? Of a life better than one you are living now? I chose to follow God, and so many things changed. If you liked this story, there is a story waiting for you.  Jesus died so you don’t have to be chained to an old-outdated-broken version of yourself.
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Related: Invite More Love: http://youtu.be/LGVDYgUPqEI

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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