Life of Liz

Archive for the ‘Out of the Comfort Zone’ Category

“Get up, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Ezra 10:4

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Wisdom on May 24, 2013 at 6:32 am

 “Just Do It” … Did Nike plagiarize God “Be Strong and Do It”riseup

Sorry for remaining MIA.  Hubby and I are dealing with multiple fires on the home front – and making only minimal progress in quelling the flames.  However, one daughter may be starting to ‘get it’.

Grace, our college freshman daughter has struggled with fitting into the college experience all year long.   I try to impart red pill wisdom and give her Godly counsel whenever possible.  It often seems she doesn’t hear anything I am saying.  However last week she mentioned she had finally found (I didn’t realize she was even looking) some red pill dating blogs that gave her insight into Hook-Up lies; a good first step.  Yesterday she sent me the following essay (emphasis added by me), written by a friend of hers at school.  It is encouraging that she is befriending and finding common ground with students willing to stand up against the ‘zero responsibility’ culture and also that she shared it with me, which was poignant since she has gone out of her way to ‘fit in’ and although she has never blamed others for her decisions, I know they go against what she knows is acceptable.

The Endless Attempt to Fit In

The dream was over and in reality I was lying in my small cot in my dark dorm room. The screen of my phone blinded me with a burning white light. I could barely make out the time through my adjusting eyes: 1:47 AM. It was only the third day of freshman orientation week, so I was still pretty uncomfortable with my new living conditions. I noticed the incoming call and after a few muttered curse words, I answered with a breathless and bewildered hello. Apparently, the voice on the other end was telling me that my roommate was so intoxicated that he couldn’t walk and was turning an ashy purple. My initial reaction was “Why should I care?” He was being an idiot and needs to be responsible for his own poor choices. The scene from “Drumline” pops into my head when Nick Cannon is asked why his roommate is late and Cannon replies, “I ain’t his mama.” It’s the same case. I can’t hold his hand through all of his decisions and take him everywhere he needs to go. But I can’t just leave him; I care too much. “Shit” I muttered under my breath as I ran down the stairs in my pajama bottoms, fumbling with a t-shirt as I went. I found him leaned up against the back wall of my dorm, standing in a puddle of his own vomit.

The stench of cheap vodka, stale beer, dried vomit and sweat stopped me right in my tracks. He looked as bad as he smelled, with his eyes bloodshot, his normal tan hue resembling the pale hue of a corpse. I was so scared; I had never been in any situation remotely close to this. My breaths started to get short and shallow, I tried to rack my brain for any sort of tip as to what to do in this situation. I came across the oh-so familiar blue exclamation point on my new wristband. Of course! They warned us that this might happen during the presentations throughout freshman orientation week. So, I did what the bracelet told me to do: call 911. His drunken stupor suddenly snapped as he heard the sirens approaching us. “Why the FOCK would yew call? I’m do . . . I’m . . . I’m fine,” he so eloquently protested to me as he fell on top of me while stifling a belch. As the four firefighters, two R.A.’s, and police officer came down the slope towards us, I felt like a hero. I used what I learned in a high pressure situation and triumphed. With this in mind, I extended a hand out to the firefighter approaching me, expecting a proper congratulations or even key to the city for my heroic actions. As he got closer, I saw the scowl on his face. The firefighter stepped up close to me, looked me up and down, and snarled, “Why the f**k would you call us? We have way more important stuff to do than this.” I was stunned. My mouth was still wide open as he walked away. I looked around to see if anyone was going to say something to me, maybe offer some sort of apology, something that could explain what had just happened. But as I looked around, the firefighters all packed up their stuff and glared at me as they walked by, the R.A.’s went back inside, and my roommate was sitting on the curb with his head between his knees puking. The police officer, seeing the look of sheer shock on my face, said, “Listen kid, you did alright, but we don’t care about alcohol and weed. There is so much worse out there and if this guy isn’t dead or dying, it’s almost a waste of time.” I watched him get in his squad car and drive off.

As I heaved my 6’2″, 190 pound roommate up the stairs to our second floor dorm, I started to think about what had just happened. All the craziness and fear embodied in five words: “Why would you call us?” Why would I call you, I thought to myself, because the freaking bracelet told me to. The bracelet, a grim reminder of the tragedy that struck campus two years earlier in the form of freshman, Jeff Blake. It taught us that death is a harsh reality that can be realized in seconds, anywhere, to anyone — whether that be from a terrible accident or alcohol poisoning on a mattress in a frat house. This bracelet was given to students in an effort to make them aware of how to handle a situation like Jeff’s and how they can avoid it ever happening again. The creators of freshman orientation week have good intentions, but this solution ignores a crucial component to the problem.

Jeff not only died from lack of attention and fear of the students around him, he died from acute alcohol poisoning. He was eighteen years old when he passed away on that frat house mattress, four years under the legal drinking age. The fraternity provided alcohol and Jeff decided to drink it. If they had not peer pressured him to drink for some hazing purpose and if Jeff had decided to not give into that pressure, he would be in his senior year at college and looking towards graduating this summer. If he wasn’t put in the situation in the first place, the frat brothers would have never even been in the moral and ethical dilemma of taking him to a hospital and then accepting their legal and university punishments. But, if Jeff didn’t want to “fit in” so badly that he would make poor decisions, he would be wearing his suit under his cap and gown instead of in his coffin.

The issue on our campus isn’t the fact that students are unaware of how to handle alcohol induced situations, but the fact that students feel pressured to pick up the can of beer or shot glass and make the decision to drink it in the first place. I slammed opened our door, and laid my roommate in his bed. As I walked over to move the trash can close to his head, I caught a glimpse at the clock. It was now 4:08 AM. I shook the sleep from my head and positioned it next to his bed. Again, my eyes were directed to that blue exclamation point on my wrist. I couldn’t help but think of how flawed the wristband was. It is the proper steps needed to handle an alcohol poising situation, but wouldn’t it be better to eliminate the source of the problem? What has made us, as a society confuse settling for a short term solution more acceptable than solving a problem at its source? We don’t only apply this idea of giving into peer pressure and accepting poor decisions as the norm exclusively to alcohol. We use it to solve other serious risks that occur on college campuses. Giving into peer pressure has become standard practice in our culture; when societal practices become so normal that everyone has hopped on the metaphorical bandwagon, everyone on that float peer pressures the rest of the world to give into peer pressure too, and accept their opinion as normal. Our world has given us a lot of these lose-lose situations and we have come to accept the uncommon practice as normal. For example, on campus and in society, we have struggled with sexual assault and date rape for decades. As time goes on, the problem seems to be getting worse.

slut1The National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that one out of six women have been victims of rape or attempted rape in their college years. Even more startling, 73% of rapes and sexual assaults were committed by a non-stranger (U.S. Dept. of Justice), someone the victim knew for a few minutes or even a few years prior to the attack! I know my, as well as my classmates, view of date rape has changed drastically in our few years on campus.  “Are You DTF?: The Glorification of Sex in the Media and its Effect on College Hook Up Culture” written by a student last year details a friend’s experience of being raped by an acquaintance and how media has been a driving force in glorifying promiscuous and dangerous behavior in society. Her friend never reports the date rape, which isn’t uncommon: 60% of sexual assaults and date rapes are not reported to the police (National Institute of Justice). These stories are all too frequent as it turns out.

As we discussed this article in my Lit class, almost every girl said that they had heard of or been a part of similar situations. And while it is fair to say the media does glorify this awful behavior by encouraging drunken one-night stands, we must also see that these are personal, conscious decisions and we must accept responsibility for our own actions. We put ourselves in these situations. But instead of the author questioning her own behavior, she — along with a majority of our English class — just blows it off. She says at the end of her essay, “It’s a corrupt and emotionally damaging way of life, but hey, you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.” (5). She sees the danger and apparent flaws in her lifestyle choices, but is so caught up with wanting to fit in that she will accept these poor decisions as the norm and will give into the peer pressure around her. She, like most people in society, is willing to put herself in harm’s way every single weekend just to get on the bandwagon. It will all be worth it to be accepted as a cool person like every other partier in college. She will finally be exactly like what she sees on TV. She will have given into the peer pressure of being like everyone else. You can always get a new liver and recover from the internal injuries of a rape, but apparently, we think the wounds of being out casted will never heal. Although it may seem like common knowledge that date rape is illegal, disgusting, and harmful, it still occurs.

So, how do we combat the issue? By making harsher punishments for rapists? No.       don_t

By going into schools and teaching children about the horrors of rape and sexual assault? Nope. By using science to figure out what triggers the brain to rape? Nah. We instead teach women to not dress or act in ways that makes them more “rape-able”. We teach women how to not be raped as opposed to teaching men to not rape. We don’t address the real source of the issue; instead we find easier and more palatable targets on which to blame these crimes. As a society, we find ways to escape taking responsibility for our own actions, and instead, validate our poor decisions so that we aren’t seen as wrong or different. These people are so caught up with being accepted that they will do whatever it takes, no matter how dangerous or even stupid, just to fit in. But, at the same time, they don’t want anyone else to think poorly of them for giving into peer pressure, so society glorifies the poor behavior, making it seem cool to be on the band wagon. They are finding other places to put the blame so they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions.

God rest Jeff’s soul, but it is a hell of a lot easier for his parents to blame their son’s death on three strangers who elected to not call 911 to avoid getting arrested, than it is to blame their own son for choosing to break the law and put himself in a dire situation. What happened to DARE programs and telling people not to drink or do drugs? What happened to virginity pledges and staying abstinent? I guess they went into that same box in the attic where all the old DARE shirts went when we grew out of them.

It was a fad. And just like all those DARE shirts and red wristbands; we grew out of it. In my middle school it was cool to be against drugs and alcohol! We all just wanted to fit and be accepted. It was what everyone else was doing and believed was right, so it was easy to give into the peer pressure to be accepted. That was what made it okay, everyone was doing it — it was the popular opinion. But, just because something is popular opinion, that doesn’t make it acceptable. Just because a behavior or idea is believed to be right, doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. But, as long as we are accepted by the people on this bandwagon, giving into their peer pressure and doing something that isn’t right is almost worth it. We tend to justify our wrong doings because they are popular opinions–everyone else is doing it, so we should to. But that doesn’t make it okay; ultimately we are making personal decisions and need to take responsibility for that, good or bad. We can’t waste our time ignoring problems in society just because that is the popular opinion at the time.

A problem is a problem, no matter how many people believe it to be right or acceptable. I know that I don’t even remember what DARE stood for anyways, and I had about 15 shirts that I gladly wore to school everyday. I just wanted to be like everyone else. I didn’t want people to think I was different, or even worse, that they were better than me.  When did we, as a society, adopt this, “if you can’t beat ’em, join’em” attitude? We are so caught up in wanting to appear superior, better than just average people, that we will do whatever society peer pressures us to do — whether that be drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol or putting yourself in a situation with a lot of risk. We just want to fit in. It’s what made Jeff take his first sip, it’s what let that girl bring that guy up to her room, and what drove her to put on shorter and shorter dresses every Friday evening. They would be a part of the “in crowd” and finally be accepted.

As long as they were on the band wagon, nothing was their fault. We are college now, training to be the next wave of critical thinkers and leaders of the world. It should be clear that just because an idea is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s right. It does not make a poor choice justifiable. As I laid in my bed listening to the sultry sounds of my roommate emptying his entire stomach into the trash can next to his bed, I recollected everything that happened that night: The way that I had been conditioned to feel responsible for my friends actions, the way I was treated by the emergency personnel, and the way our thinking has been skewed. In the end, we found out that my roommates BAC was .37%, .03% lower than Jeff Blake  He was two shots away from being dead. If he had died that night, I would have never let it go, feeling forever responsible. But in hindsight, it wouldn’t be my fault. I believe that we are responsible for our own actions.

Stop-the-madness

We need to stop this act of blaming others for our own mistakes. Just because an action, idea or behavior is believed to be a popular opinion, doesn’t mean that it’s right. At a school like ours, one that breeds critical and individual thinkers, we shouldn’t give into this idea of letting popular opinion control our programs. We should encourage students to be individuals, not to crave conformity. We shouldn’t give our students the tools to be accepted by society, we should give them what they need to be steadfast in their own beliefs. We can’t keep blaming others for our own mistakes. If we make the effort to try and give into societies peer pressure and jump on it’s bandwagon, we can’t pressure others into blaming the pavement for when we fall on our face and get hurt. It’s just like the steps to recover, the first step is admitting that you have a problem.

“pretty. . .

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Wisdom on April 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

happ

When I first heard Katie Makkai’s slam poetry piece ‘Pretty’ (I am not posting it here – you can easily google it) I was conflicted.  But then … no I’m actually not.

I can agree that Katie Makkai’s piece succeeds in showing her passion about a topic.  I’ll give her points for soliciting an emotional response from her audience, which is what slam poetry is supposed to do.  But I disagree with her premise and here is why.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with teaching my daughters how to apply makeup and style their hair, nor do I think there is anything wrong in helping them choose clothing that is flattering to their bodies.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with encouraging them to maintain their bodies.  I do the same for myself, because as a woman I like to feel pretty.  There, I said it.  I like to feel pretty and I don’t think there is anything wrong with letting (encouraging!) my daughters to feel pretty.  Isn’t feeling pretty one of the perks of our sex?

Is there more to it?  Of course!  And it’s my job to make sure they understand that while it may be the outward that first attracts a man’s attention, it will be what she has to share on the inside that will hold his attention. mom

A mother’s job is to show our daughters how to be a beautifullydecorated gift that is filled with smiles, laughter and happiness inside.  And coincidentally, my daughters have never asked “when I grow up, will I be pretty?” because they’ve been called pretty since birth.

Growing up I never once heard my mom mention her weight or try out a new diet.  We ate a variety of food and had a typically stocked pantry that often included Twinkies or a bag of chips.  I remember the day distinctly when I first compared myself to a magazine photo.  I was a senior in high school.  My bestie at the time made the comment “what I wouldn’t give to have her flat stomach” or some similar version in reference to the model.  Huh?  I tell you the truth, it had never occurred to me to compare myself to the advertisement.  My mom, who was comfortable with her own body, was a stronger influence on my own self image than the borage of messages that Katie Makkai’s poem’s hurls at the listener. Let me repeat, my body image was largely shaped by my mother.

princess

I wonder how Katie Makkai’s daughter is going to feel someday

when all the other little girls are allowed to experience   pretty pretty princess parties

but she is not allowed to attend.  Will her mother’s poem actually solicit

a reverse affect for her daughter?  Instead of saying

“you are more than this one word” will her daughter instead believe “she must really think

I am ugly since she won’t even let me attempt to be pretty”.

And just to be clear, I believe the most probable path to happiness and true fulfillment is for my daughters to be wives and mothers.  To accomplish that task they will need to do the following:

  1. Attract the attention of a man
  2. Have something nice to say
  3. The rest is up to them!                    cute

Sorry Miss Makkai- it’s an old saying,

but you have to get your foot in the door before you can seal the deal! 

And while I too hope my daughters will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, and pretty amazing…

they will also go on to be pretty fulfilled as a wives and mothers…with pretty kids, by the way.

Some things need Re-examining

In Authentic Life, Goals, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill on April 18, 2013 at 6:57 am

Having sent two of our six daughters off to college, we have learned a few things.  So before the younger four are to follow, we’ve been making several adjustments in the ways that we are parenting and preparing the next group for college and the world.  However, we may also be facing some bigger changes, that while possibly necessary – at least initially they will cause discomfort and will be uncharted roads for our family.

The older two didn’t have the benefit of our red pill world view.  Personally, I think I did something’s okay … Married for 20+ years, encouraged personal relationships with God, encouraged community involvement, tried to instill a sense of modesty.  I home-schooled them through 5th grade, (imparting a love of literature) and then continued to be involved in their education by volunteering at their schools.

But some things need re-examining:

In high school, the 2 oldest spent nearly 95% of their free time either playing a sport or studying so neither left for college very well rounded.  I was too discipline orientated and often didn’t understand this method didn’t allow them to develop the self control tools they would need to be successful once my barriers disappeared.  I didn’t facilitate Henry’s leadership in our home – but instead challenged him and diluted his role pretty consistently.

I had bought into the notion that today’s man would want a strong and independent woman.  I didn’t think much about feminine/masculine attraction and I definitely wasn’t thinking about marriage as the end goal when planning out at least the immediate future for my older girls.

But now, our second daughter is struggling to navigate the hook-up culture on her campus.  It breaks my heart to hear her explanation as to why so many girls stay plugged into the cycle.  Essentially they’ve bought into the lie, a mix of everyone is doing it and if you’re not doing it there must be something wrong with you.   And don’t forget they’ve been told their entire lives that meaningless sex is the prize that we’ve been fighting for so they had better seize the opportunity! The first girl to step away and even hint at the idea that hooking up is neither enjoyable nor beneficial would be quickly ostracized by the group, declared a prude (definition “displaying sound judgment in practical affairs”), or a loser or any other term that would accomplish the purpose of keeping everyone in line!  18-22 year old girls might be unashamed and reckless but they are probably not going to reject the status quo when all they really want is to fit in and be accepted.

My self reflection comes on the heels of my college aged daughters coming home for spring break.   There visit started me thinking “if I believe being a wife and a mother brings fulfillment to a woman and if this is the ultimate end goal – what did I do … what am I doing … to raise daughters who are able to attract, fall in love and then marry a man?” – And taking it further, wouldn’t it seem logical to plan their days to allow time to teach them how to present themselves to the world in a way that would accomplish said goal?

It is not hard to find entire blogs written by men exploring how they were lied to by well meaning but clueless adults (usually female) who held steadfast to the mantra “just be nice and you’ll find a nice girl” – they were nice and they are alone.  What are we, adult women, teaching our daughters and will it enable them to become fulfilled wives and mothers?

I think the answer is No!  I am starting to realize that everything that I thought was ‘right’ is actually ‘wrong’ … and the first thing that comes to my mind is the role of sports in the lives of my daughters.  In our house, playing sports takes up a huge amount of time.  Could that time be better spent if they played at a lower level?

And then I overheard this conversation last week between Daughter #2 (who is attending college on a full basketball scholarship) and one of her younger siblings:

Daughter #2:  “if you are good at both sports <basketball and soccer> then concentrate on soccer”

Sibling: “why?  I like playing both and you play basketball and you love it, right”

Daughter #2: “because basketball is the least feminine sport there is and boys have a preconceived idea of what a female basketball player looks/acts like and I hate it – given the chance I would have concentrated on either volleyball or soccer…

She continues:  and so many of the girls playing college basketball are gay so boys are constantly making jokes about it.  Even the coaches are mostly gay so we have to wear pants and dress like boys even though I see the soccer/volleyball/softball girls looking all girlie at team events.”

I had no idea she felt this way!  Is her experimentation with the hookup culture a rationalized way for her to be accepted and to express herself as a woman?

The second area that requires meaningful reflection is how and why we encourage certain educational goals.  Daughter #1 graduated high school with a 4.3 GPA and is now studying at a top tier university. But … getting her there took its toll.  She was miserable in high school.  She didn’t have time to attend many (most) extra curricular events (other than ones that complimented college applications) and developed poor coping techniques, that thankfully I clued into and navigated her through.  She’s doing well in her 2nd year of college – she joined a sorority (yeah, girl power) and is excelling academically, but to what end?  What is the goal?  Is it to compete with men until she is 32-35 and then start looking for a husband?  I know my preparation doesn’t have her focused (or even considering) marriage and family as worthwhile goals at this stage of her life.

How many, if any mothers are purposely training their daughters to take womanhood seriously?  And if we are not investing time in training them in true womanhood, then why are we so surprised when they so easily reject being a stay at home mom and instead buy into the lie of “we can have it all” only to become disengaged 3-5 years after the wedding ceremony?

So where exactly does our parenting go from here?  That is the million dollar question.  What happens if we were to have the 14 and 12 year old free up some time by playing sports at a lower level?  Or what happens if we don’t place quite as much emphasis on excelling academically? What is the right answer?  I guess it will be back to the drawing board and time spent with God, seeking His wisdom.

And on a lighter note … assuming the answers will only come with much time spent in prayer and reflection, then WHERE am I going to get the needed time?  #notimetoaskGod#gottagetthingsdone#wronganswer!

Be careful what you wish for

In Authentic Life, Bat Shit Crazy, Out of the Comfort Zone, Rationalization Hamster, Red Pill, Shit Test on April 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

This isn’t going to be a nice post; it’s not going to be a rational post or even a post that will make me fondly remember THIS chapter of my life.

Jumping back a few months, it had been a year or so that Henry and I had been evolving within our marriage and shifting towards a Henry led dynamic.  We were progressing at break neck speeds at first; and then a little slower as the newness began to wear off.  And since I have a hard time embracing the popular phrase “it’s a journey, not a race” I was just about at the point of starting to become frustrated with Henry’s slow (as in, slower than what I desired) progress in regaining the Alpha traits that I so desired.  It was round about this time that I read Ian Ironwoods post explaining what wives could do to ‘up the alpha’ within their marriage while also letting the husband grow in his leadership.  So I Read it … Got it … Acted on it … And once again we were soaring through the great unknown; Henry comfortably leading the charge and Liz cheerfully following his lead.

But then IT happened.  IT knocked the air right out of my lungs (lungs that have increased capacity thanks to the years I’ve spent running on the wheel) and set ME back a few giant steps.hamster

My new reality began last Friday night, which was in large part because our 17 year old daughter went completely Bat Shit Crazy in a way that only a 17 year old girl is capable of.  To say it was an incredibly stressful night is an understatement.  We experienced much yelling, crying and storming out, only to have her return and repeat until she finally left, and stayed gone until Saturday night.  But Saturday night was productive and after a marathon round of conversations we hugged and pressed forward (was there any other choice?).

By Sunday morning I felt as though I’d been run over by a train, so I did what any good Mom would do … I got everyone in the house up and rallied to attend the early church service.  And then it began to unravel on me … a little comment here, an eye roll there … until about half way through the day when I went all in and tried to pick a fight with Henry.  Why?  I don’t know why – just because!!  Maybe it was a diversion from the past 48 hours or maybe because I could yell at him in a way I couldn’t yell at our daughter the day before.  So, I am ‘all in’ and he is … yep, just not biting!  I couldn’t believe it.

Now mind you, there was a distant possibility that I could have called out my inner BSCC (Bat Shit Crazy Chick) and really taken this thing to a new low.  But before that could happen, you won’t believe what he actually had the nerve to ask me.  He actually said “You done” – from a post I had passed onto him a while back.  He used it on me!!  And he followed it up with a smug half grin/chuckle.  And then he WALKED away and started horsing around with our son.  Are you kidding me?  What is going on here?

Was I pissed?  Oh ya.  But truthfully I didn’t have a clue what my next move would be … because do you have any idea how hard it is to work yourself into BSCC mode only to have your intended audience not only refuse to succumb to your shit test, but also to reflect back to you just how ridiculous you are behaving?

What happened?  How did the rest of the evening unfold and where are things today?  Some probably already know, others will have an Aha Moment and some who haven’t yet taken their own dose of the Red Pill will be confused.  So what happened?  Well later Sunday night we had mind-bending, yes … mind-bending sex.  And although I will deny it until the day I die … I think I had to initiate –!  sex-and-the-sleepy-1

Houston – we have a problem … Liz is losing it and Henry is getting it and everyone is “O”ver taken with pleasure.

Being the quick learner that I am tells me I won’t be letting myself digress into BSCC mode anytime soon because even though the sex was great, I will tell you honestly that I did not enjoy the rest of the experience at all; in fact, I was equally horrified by my willingness to jump right back into full fledged Old School Liz and the ease by which I can still summon BSCC at a moments notice.  I can think of many excuses (rationalizations?) that ultimately led to my unraveling – too much time apart, Grandma, teens home from college, and then the incident Friday night – but truthfully, I really just made the choice to embrace a habit that I had employed for 20+ years and did so probably without even a conscience thought.  I had stress so I tried to create some stress to relieve my own stress.  That about sums it up.

I keep hearing that phrase … it’s a journey, not a race.  Well thank goodness because I almost lost the entire contest.

Deliberately managing my own feelings … hmm

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill, Submission ... Oh My! on March 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

Henry and I are off. man

It is a pattern that I am very familiar with; he spends extra time at the office … staying until 9 pm most nights and also working Saturdays.  He continues to work when he is home.  And for a while I am able to maintain the home front and set aside my feelings of isolation from him, us.  But somewhere around the end of the second or third week is when I reach my limit.  The detachment, fatigue and irritations begin to mount and before you know it WHAM the cycle takes on a life all its own. bam

I’ve said before “submission is a choice, not a feeling”  and so it is in that spirit that I am making a choice to ignore the escalating grumbling in my head (what he’s not doing for me) and instead I am focused on planning a special night for him and I tomorrow evening.

Step 1:  Dinner

I’ve purposely chosen a meal that takes thoughtful planning and careful preparation; a meal that is not my favorite, but one that is Henry’s.  My plan is to see if through making a conscience and deliberate choice to do something nice for Henry, even though I don’t really feel like being nice at all – will help me (us) avert a meltdown.

 

Here is the menu I am planning:

  • Orange and Beet Salad
  • Rosa Di Parma – stuffed pork tenderloin
  • Brussels sprouts in a Sherry Bacon Cream Sauce
  • Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese

beetsaladbeefBrusselSproutsInCream-734798 balsamic-strawberries-with-whipped-mascarpone-cheese

Step 2: Relaxation

  • Hot bath
  • Message complete with music and oil
  •  Either this Bow-back-Cheeky-panty-222x300  or this thigh

I’ve pulled out the recipes and made a grocery list and I’ll swing by the mall this afternoon … all of which has already started to soften my mindset into one of service and giving.   Just by doing something exclusively for him I’ve already started to to change my mindset … I am already feeling closer to him which means I am less likely to be defensive  when he eventually calls to say he is working late once again tonight.  I will be free to be supportive and feel comforted by my secret knowledge that we will have  a very special night tomorrow!  Hmm … it almost feels like I am (for possibly the first time EVER) taking an active role in managing my own feelings and subsequently my own happiness.

happy

 

It started last Friday night…

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Shit Test on March 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

Shit test: A test that a girl performs on a male by saying or doing something to judge the reaction from him OR when a woman gives a guy a hard time, usually for the purpose of seeing how he will react.

Batshit crazy: Extreme to a degree bordering on complete insanity. The state in which one makes decisions which make the exact opposite of logic OR speech or behavior that is over the top, unhinged, self-destructive, or a threat to others.

I was in the midst of a particularly difficult series of interchanges with my 90 year old, never happy, always complaining Grandma and I called Henry to vent and to receive comfort.  It was around 4:30 and since I have an expectation (it’s important to recognize it is MY expectation) for him to leave the office around 5 on Friday we chatted and I vented and then we hung up and I assumed that he would be heading home shortly.

It wasn’t until close to 8:00 that he finally arrived home… Are you effing kidding me?  Here is the way things began to connect in my head:

math

I was completely distraught at 4:30 and I needed you + You know how important it is to me that you leave at a reasonable time on Friday’s = You must not care about me/us/our family AT ALL since you so easily made the decision to work late TONIGHT of all nights.

So the shit test began and then it spiraled out of control before my own eyes until I was legitimately Bat Shit Crazy.  I screamed and yelled and tried my hardest to pull apart what we’ve spent the better part of a year and a half building!

The funny thing about married life Shit Tests is how they can start off with a legitimate argument or complaint, but judging from how he reacts (this is very fluid, by the way) all the anger and hurt feelings inside seems to overflow and try to destroy everything within reach.  After a point, the Bat Shit Crazy takes over and finds a way to make him pay for me feeling not in control of a situation – Grandma and his work/life balance to start.   As hard as it is to write that sentence, that is exactly where things went.

Henry handled things well for the initial avalanche that I launched at him, but then he’d had enough…but the hamster kept spinning and used up the better part of the weekend.  It was only when he began to take away a part of himself; when he started to withdraw and actually extract himself from within my reach that I was knocked into my senses and was able to realize the damage I was doing.  I was using my own stress to shake the foundation we’ve been building over the last 18 months.  I recognized that I had two choices and neither one was going to be comfortable. I could continue down the road of destruction and put our marriage, our family and kids at risk OR I could just stop.

I chose to stop.  Being the coward that I am, I sent him a text that read “I was wrong.  This is my fault.  I am sorry”.  That was enough to at least get us civil again.  When a few hours later he told me to “go and prepare” I knew what he meant.

I went to our room; I changed into something appropriate and I used the remaining time to reflect on the past 48 hours.

UGLY:   morally offensive or objectionable

or unpleasant in any way or sense

That is the only word that comes to my mind.  When he finally came into our room I was curled in a ball, crying.  I don’t know how long we lay in our bed or how long I wept.  When it was over, we were healed.  There was no need for discipline.  The objective had been achieved and I was able to mourn the UGLY that I had produced.

Monday morning came with battle weary scars.  Yes, we are moving forward but I now know and understand that there is a limit to how much SHIT you can create during a SHIT test and how BAT SHIT CRAZY you can go … because once you’ve reached TOO MUCH SHIT – you end up in a really bad place.  I felt it important to write this post if for no other reason than to remind myself how much can change in the blink of an eye.

Post 1/3…The Red Pill

In 1950's wife of Today, Authentic Life, In the Beginning, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill on March 12, 2013 at 6:26 am

redpill

A year in review:

It’s been about a year or so that Henry and I had a choice to make – we could boldly swallow the newly discovered Red Pill that we had begun to uncover, though that would mean gaining the ability to see clearly the painful truth of our failing marriage.  Or we could maintain the status quo and stay in our blissful (painful!) ignorance of an illusion; one that we could never seem to get right and which was marching us farther and farther apart.   This Red Pill dilemma came about six months after trying our hand new dynamic.  The one was an easy segue into the other (red pill reality) so we forged ahead. 

Simply stated, out of the 20+ years of marriage, it’s been about 18 months that Henry has been actively leading our marriage.  Imagine that!  For about 1 ½ year I have not been in a contentious power struggle to be the HoH (though until recently I did not even know what that meant: Head of Household).

Initially it felt as though we were both play-acting – sort of a ‘fake it til you make it’ approach.  We spent a lot of time reading established blogs and trying to digest the information.   Looking back, I did several things that significantly contributed to establishing my new identity.

     pre-Red Pill 

  • Dress – comfy, non-threatening to other women.  Some examples include non-fitted sweats or lounge pants, sloppy-sweatpantsboxy t-shirts, Bermuda shorts, Peter pan collars, Uggs, Sperry’s, ballerina flats, flip flops etc.
  • Appearance – comfy with very little time or energy given to what image may be projected.  No make-up; hair is worn up in a messy bun or pony at least 60% of the timedyke
  • Hair – Typically shorter and for a stretch really short
  • Smell – None, unless going out for a special occasion or for a girl’s night.
  • Attitude – selfish and demanding.  An acceptance that my ways are preferable and his ways are flawed.  Inflexible.  Demeaning and humiliating when I didn’t get my way. A dependence on him to create happiness for me/us.
  • Countenance – hostile and distant.  Also, inhospitable.

post Red Pill

girly

  • Dress – feminine and representative of outfits that Henry has previously complimented me on.  Items that make him look good while also making me feel like his wife.  Examples include fitted jeans, moderately sexy dresses, v-neck T’s, mid or high heeled shoes or boots.  Also included are summer sandals and other kitten heeled shoes that are girly.
  • Appearance – pulled together, which includes at least a minimal application of make-up (powder, eye liner and mascara), hair worn down and styled on 90% of occasions.
  • Hair – long, healthy and maintained.
  • Scent – a daily spritz of a scent that Henry likes.  A refresher just before he arrives home in the evening.
  • Attitude – appreciative, respectful and deferring (as applicable).  Consideration given to his opinions, desires and needs.   Flexible.  A realization that the world does not revolve around my wants and an acceptance that I am accountable for my own happiness.
  • Countenance – pleasant and easy going.  Also, agreeable.happy

At first glance the above lists may come across as superficial – but looking closer I can see very distinctly that “pre-Red-Pill Liz” put an emphasis on personal comfort and my own individual wants whereas “post Red-Pill Liz” has gained an appreciation for what Henry finds attractive and how his wants can be appreciated and respected.

I also started asking Henry’s permission to do things that I would NOT need his permission to do. This is a way of giving him power over my daily decisions and reminding me that his wishes should be considered.  That may sound extreme, but it was and is necessary to keep me in the correct frame of mind and it is a way to establish and remind myself to keep him in charge.kiss

Asking permission is a very difficult thing for me to do, especially in front of our very perceptive daughters.  Probably the only reason I am able to force myself to ask his permission is because the payoff is so apparent.  For both of us!

One of our early rules was for me to meet him at the door and give him a welcome home kiss; sounds easy, but it was hard to do with those seven sets of eyes watching my every move.  It also shows how distant we had grown that getting up and kissing my husband was a hard thing for me to do!

Preparing dinner and having it ready for him; noticing his glass is empty and refilling; noticing his shaving supplies are running low and replacing them.  These things are daily reminders that help me keep Henry in the forefront of my thinking.

Some days it would be easier to be comfy.  Sometimes I just don’t want to be reasonable or consider his needs/wants/desires.  It’s a process and not something that comes easily for me.  Truthfully, I often fail, although thankfully some things are becoming a habit and fitting themselves into my normal routines.  Hmm, after a year of making a conscience effort to be “post Red-Pill Liz” and after spending many hours devouring blogs and trying to glean any insights I can garner AND after seeing so many positive results in my marriage I can only say, these are things that have helped me, and … It’s a daily battle decision to make the effort to be “post Red-Pill Liz”!  …  

up next is Post 2/3… “put THAT in THERE?  Wait… what?”

And finally, Post 3/3 “Make no mistake, this is Henry’s House”

A boy … and society’s plot to change that!

In Authentic Life, Goal, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill, Wisdom on February 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

boy

We want our son to be a boy and someday be a man.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Think again.  OK, to be fair, I came into this “mom of a son” thing with ZERO experience or expectation of what makes a boy tick.  Especially when you add in my background – a very controlling female role model in my mother; a very weak, beta-ized image of a man as seen in my dad constantly trying to appease my mother (who was often/many/ times Bat Shit Crazy; my own attempts at control in my own marriage (and yes, often that included Bat Shit Crazy moments and a long run on the hamster wheel) … Add in that our first 6 are daughters—and since our oldest is soon to be turning 21 – at minimum our 3 oldest girls grew up in the hey day of GIRL POWER – including the t-shirts and constant commentary of Girls are Better!girls

I don’t remember seeing any similar t-shirts for boys – either I wasn’t looking or boys (men) don’t feel the need to proclaim their superiority on their clothing? 

Anyhow, by the time our son was born I had gotten the message that girls were well behaved and wanted to learn and excel and boys were, well just NOT.  Not well behaved … had no desire to learn … not easy, not polite, not …. Anything that was similar to my daughters.  When our son was very young – maybe two (?) I actually reprimanded HIM for complaining when his sister (18 month older) took away his truck.  Yep I did!  Because SHE was the princess and HE needed to be fixed … and if I didn’t FIX him I had already seen how ‘his type’ was treated in my daughters’ classrooms.  Thankfully – just about this time, and I do consider this Divine Intervention, I stumbled upon some Red Pill references and then some Dd references and then had the moment described here and lo and behold Henry and I moved forward – for the first time in 20+ years.

OK, back to the point – We now saw clearly the obstacles our only son would surely face and we made a commitment .. and we have never looked back from …  making sure our son is free to be a boy and someday be a man.

But oh how much easier it would have been to just raise a BetaBoy!  We would get tons of support from educators – this is a true account of how one teacher (who is a really good lady who really loves kids) manages a class of 30 five year olds – who are sitting quietly on their appropriately colored carpet squares – and squirming ever so slightly – “ OK boys and girls, lets give ourselves a hug kinderand calm ourselves down; take a deep breath and get ready to listen to what I am about to tell you” … or

“No, we don’t allow balls anymore during recess; it is just too dangerous (the ball in question is a kickball type ball)”.

Ok, no balls.  What about running around on the playground?balls

“No, we prefer the kids don’t play on the grass during school hours (including recess) because they might get grass stains if they fall” …

Hmm, what are they permitted to do?

“ We’ve installed this beautiful, colorful play structure (at which point she pauses and gently shouts “boys, remember to wait your turn in line, everyone will get a chance to go down the slide”.

Well that sounds like fun, huh?

So this morning I opened the paper and read the headline … Cal coach Mike Montgomery’s shove ‘unacceptable’

Wow, that sounds bad!  A coach shoving a player; I buy it hook, line and sinker.  hook  Henry walks into the room and I express my outrage (our 2nd daughter plays D1 basketball so my protective mothering has kicked into high gear).

He replies “have you seen the shove?

And so we watch it

Wait – what?  This can’t be the shove … This video is of a coach – saying, very clearly “do you want to play?” to a highly talented athlete.  According to the newspaper this wasn’t necessarily the first time this very talented athlete had pushed his coaches’ buttons …

“Problem is that Montgomery wants consistent intensity, the ultra-talented Crabbe is not wired to deliver it, and this gets under the coach’s skin.”

So what happened after the shove?  The player took a spot on the end of Cal’s bench for a brief minute before the coach put him back in, and then took over from that point on.  He ended the game with a game high 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals, 1 assist and 1 block.  He had is first double/double of the season – he hit a season high of five 3 pointers.  And they won – trailing by 15 with 16:01 – Cal went on to win the game 76-68 and the player (Crabbe) went on to score 10/23 points in the final 4 ½ minutes of the game.  The situation definitely sparked Crabbe, who scored 14 points in the second half after the Bears fell behind 47-32.  It also ignited the rest of the Bears, who closed the game on a 25-7 run.  And since it is a conference game – with both teams entering the game with an equal W/L, Cal walked away 8-5 and USC 7-6.  It was a needed win for the TEAM.  After the game – before the coach got wind of the nonsense of PC … this is what he had to say

“Worked, didn’t it?” Montgomery said of the exchange with Crabbe. “Allen Crabbe had come down twice went to the wrong side of the court and his guy shot two 3’s. I was trying to get him going. Probably overdid it a little bit but Allen’s my guy. We can’t win if he is not ready to play.”

And the team won.  So, what did the player make of the exchange?

“An emotional game was going on at the time and I guess he was just trying to motivate me,” said Crabbe, who also had 10 rebounds and six steals. “But everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach, no hard feelings. We’re just going to keep moving on.”

I think Coach Montgomery made the right call.  I see this exchange as an acceptable version of Man Up.  This is from Ian Ironwood’s blog

When men tell other men to “Man Up” (usually) they are trying to improve the condition of the other man. In the Male Social Matrix men are generally encouraged to help each other like that as part of the process of turning a Guy in to a Man . . . or simply providing moral support for a difficult issue. While the emphasis in the MSM is overtly on competition between men, a long list of masculine codes, from basic sportsmanship to battlefield chivalry, are designed to mitigate that competitive nature by tacitly providing assistance to less-able men

The confrontation between Montgomery and Crabbe proved to be the tipping point of the game.  The coach (Man #1) wanted the player (Man #2) to improve his play.  And while the coach no doubt wanted (needed) to win this game, his statement above “Probably overdid it a little bit but Allen’s my guy” tells us he cares about this young man.  He knows that if this kid is going to have a future in basketball, he needs the “ultra talented Crabbe” to develop “consistent intensity” to reach the highest rung of his potential.  Or put more simply

When men tell other men to “Man Up” (usually) they are trying to improve the condition of the other man

Henry and I WANT our son to be pushed to be his best – and doesn’t it seem more appropriate for that shove to come from, well, another MAN?

So, the articles and the media attention about the shove have made me realize that it’s going to be a long, hard road to make sure our son is free to be a boy and someday be a man is achieved.

As an aside, our college athlete daughter had caught wind of the headline and had this to say … “I am constantly screamed at and emotionally manipulated by my female coaches and I never really know what they want out of me – at least Crabbe got a clear message – and he responded and they won.”  She then wondered “I bet Crabbe is kinda embarrassed, I mean – he’s the best player and he wasn’t working hard and his coach called him out and now his coach is getting bad media. And he’s probably thankful he did call him out and it’s a good thing for Crabbe that he did turn it around because if they would have lost, the papers would have written for days about Crabbe letting everyone down.”

But as it stands, the coach has now apologized, the school AD has expressed her outrage and the media is shocked that this could have happened.  I guess on the positive side, the up and coming generation of current kindergartners probably won’t turn into ultra competitive ball players, but instead will one day be stars in the cut throat sport of “Turn Taking” – sure to make D1 programs at a local university near you soon!

It’s Sunday … Time to Pass the Plate

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill, Wisdom on February 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

I wanted to pass along a few links … the first is a video by Jenna Marbles!!

Yes she uses a lot of offensive language (F word!) but I think it’s really worth it to see a 20 something girl express her outrage at the UNFAIRness that is so prevalent in today’s society.  Go girl!

Next up is Ian Ironwood, over at The Red Pill Room …Girl Game: Extend An Invitation.  It is  long, but really worthwhile.  It addresses (from a male /husband/ perspective) something that is often mentioned … “how can I help my husband be the leader?”.  If you have time, search around on Ian’s website because he has A LOT of really good insight.  The post about the term Man Up will never be used again after we read Ian’s post! Really Good!!

And finally, anther male blogger that I’ve learned a lot from is The Private Man … I particularly liked this post titled Describing The Feminine.  As the mother of 6 daughters I find articles like this one informative and a good reminder that it is through attracting a man that my daughters will hopefully be able to experience all that their femininity affords them…or put another way, by being comfortable with their own femininity, they will likely attract the sort of man that will make it easy for them to grow within their femininity.

I am working on post about how it’s been adding Grandma into the mix and how Henry’s new job is also shaking things up; to say it’s been an easy couple of months would be a huge understatement!     To say that I am succeeding in my submission or that ttwd is easy right now would also be a big lie!  Nope!  No easy peasy right now … but that post is still too raw.

I see YOU…YOU see me … What’s the BIG deal?

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone on February 4, 2013 at 9:16 am

coedbathroom

When it was time to move our oldest into her college dorm last year, we were not prepared for the realities of co-ed dorm life.

coedbathroom_1

As you may know these days, typically, male and female share the same shower facilities and in some cases toilet facilities, but we had not yet put 2+2 together, realizing that would mean our innocent and naïve 18 year old would be witnessing MEN walking barely covered with a single towel to conceal their manhood to and from the hall showers.    Of course, she didn’t think it was any big deal and she doesn’t consider herself innocent or naïve to the ways of her generation.  Nope, she easily dismissed us as “out of touch” and went back to unpacking her color coordinated room with her new BFF’s.

But I was sad.  Sad because it was another example of our daughters’ generation letting their femininity be slyly stripped away without thought or effort.  And for what end?

I went away to college at 18 and had a 3 year LTR.  I met Henry when I was 20 (overlap of the LTR) and we married when I was 26.  When we settled into husband and wife, there was a lot of getting to know each other that ensued.  “But you knew each other for 6 years prior to marriage!”  Yes we did.  However, I did not routinely see H shower or shave or do whatever MEN do prior to meeting up with me.  There was still some giddiness about the unknown and an excitement when that became a daily occurrence.  Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a huge turn on – but it did establish something different and a new chapter for me as a woman.  Will my daughter have the same experience now that she has spent 2 years seeing men walk to the shower with a micro-towel wrapped around their waist?

showergirl

So … how does this affect my daughters’ femininity?  For one, it breaks down the walls between HER body and HIS body.  Because SHE is also walking to/from the shower and many of the SHE’s are very happy to skip along with nary a micro-towel to cover their well endowed 18 year old bodies.  You see ME  … No big deal.  I see YOU … No big deal.  And here is my point (finally!): when it becomes No Big Deal (in her mind) for HIM to see HER; when it’s just another body moving towards the common area shower what happens is SHE and HE are the same.  In HER mind, there is nothing particularly different or special about her body.  But, SHE loses more because without her FEMININITY he has no reason for HER.

Feminine attracts Masculine.  If you strip away the FEMININE you end up with women who have forgotten that attracting and continuing to retain that attraction is a key component to male/female relationships.  When men stop noticing attractive women, women will look for attention and validation from another source … yep, you got it!  Their female BFF’s!

haircut “Yes, I love your hair … YOU can really rock the mom bob”

“OMG!  You look soo good in sweatpants and they look so comfy!  You should definitely wear them on date night, he’ll love them!”  

But most men like long hair and most men aren’t big fans of sweatpants as dinner attire.  When we stop dressing to attract men – we enter a phase of dressing to receive compliments from our BFF’s and somewhere in that mix we lose our ability to be comfortable in our unique femininity.

So … I pose a rhetorical question to universities at large … “Did the social experiment work out to your satisfaction?”  or how about “Are we better off with a generation of 20 somethings that are so comfortable with each others’ bodies that they have lost all ability and interest in trying to attract the opposite sex?”

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