Combating The “Hijacker”

In college an area of psychology that truly intrigued me was the area of addiction, mainly how addiction rewires the human brain and changes the way human behave. I’m pretty sure what stopped me from fully pursuing the route was the amount of schooling and debt that I’d rack up at the end of all. Still, however, the area still fascinates to this day. And something that came to my attention recently was the idea “hijacker”.

That is, in simple terms it’s very much like a voice in the human brain that tells us it’s okay to go back to the things that give us comfort. It doesn’t have to be things as extreme as drugs or pornography. But it can be things as simple as food, spending money on things you don’t need, binge watching a show and so on.

The “hijacker” is the voice that says “it’s okay, go back to whatever substance it is, you’ll feel better after.” And that’s the lie, you might feel better after. But your still stuck in the same old destructive cycle. Still filled with shame, regret and feeling hopeless…

And yet we are not hopeless. Recently I heard a therapist say that the hijacker isn’t you talking. The Hijacker is the one you can feel starting to raise its voice in the certain contexts that make us want to run back to fake comfort.  The apostle Paul had an extremely similar thought process in Romans 7:14-15 when he said:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

Paul understood that this wasn’t necessarily him, but something else trying to take over. And that’s the key to winning the battle. We have to start to be on watch, so when it does lurk its head up. We can notice it and quickly shut it down.

You can heal. You can overcome. But  it won’t be own your own or on your own strength.

My One Regret With College.

When I got accepted into college years ago, there rested inside me a fascination of the mind. Why people acted as they did and more so what happens inside the mind that sent some people into deep cycles of addiction and destructive behaviors. My degree path of choice was psychology, at first (because of my interest in addiction) I felt a calling to working in that particular area of psychology.

And yet.. For some reason, something moved me away from that specific area into a more generalized focus in psychology. And you know what? looking back, I very much regret not pursuing that path.

It probably was the amount of time and money/debt that moved me away from it. God only knows where I could be now if I jumped into addiction counseling with all my mind, heart and strength. College these days though, seems to be a total joke to me.

As being an online personal trainer and nutrition coach, the last three years. I find that much of my four year psychology degree comes out in my daily practice. To some in my life, that four year degree that I got at a small faith based college was not the best choice. But from my vantage point, that “pointless” psychology degree was the best four years of my life. I learned so much, made some really great friends and truly bloomed in my faith.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything, I truly believe that those four years of my life was the way God ordained it. I guess at this point in my life, I’m trying to figure out what the Lord would have me do with this desire and many others in my heart.

This might seem strange to some, but I could easily see myself leading recovery meetings and helping others heal and break free from the hooks of addiction. I guess in a lot of ways I can relate to those struggling with addiction myself, because I am an addict in my ways.

And you know what else?

We are all addicts. The Bible has it right (as it always has) when it says that that we are slaves to something. Something, if not God has the attention and adoration of our hearts.

The Start of A Novel?

As I was going through some old files the other day, I stumbled upon some what of a story that I was working on. Anyway, let me know what you all think!

….

(One)

The dichotomy of Jack and Roy

            Jack was a young boy, wrapped in soft freckled skin and red hair that came below his eyebrows. As a child he had to do what he could to entertain himself, whether that would be making toy guns or seeing how far he could throw a rock, he had the knack for creating things. Jack lived in small town in Ohio with his uncle Roy.

            The two never spoke much; Jack was always in his room drawing several different things at once. While uncle Roy sat in a dark living room watching TV in his recliner chair.   Jack fell asleep most nights on the hard floor next to a pile of his own drawings. He wanted to become a famous artist and move out of that God forsaken small town.  He missed his mother tremendously, who had a very warm and caring demeanor.

            Jacks mother Diana tragically died of cancer when he was six, the greatest memory he had of her was an old King James Bible that she left him. Jack would sometimes wake up the next morning in the same clothes from the night before. His bare feet crinkled against the paper he slept beside.

He winced at the sudden sound his feet made when it met the paper, the thought of waking uncle Roy up was terrifying, and he was never abusive with his hands but harsh with tone. Jack loved going out into the living room where uncle Roy slept to read his beloved Bible.

            Jack sat Indian style next to his uncle’s chair; the light from the television was the only thing that allowed him to see the words on each page. His fingers softly skimmed over the pages, feeling their delicate texture. “God isn’t real son” Uncle Roy said ever so suddenly, “you make your own way, not some fucking God up in the sky”.  Jack looked puzzled as he looked up his uncle, wondering why he would say such an astonishing thing.  Jack decided to smile and go about his reading.  He loved reading proverbs and psalms because they resembled a father figure showing him how to be wise and to see beauty in the world around him.          

            After a few moments Jack looked back up at his up his Uncle who was slowly fading back into his sleep. “Uncle Roy”, jack called out. “What do you want kid? Uncle Roy replied in an agitated fashion. “I want to be an artist”.  Uncle Roy waited a few moments before responding with his eyes glued shut “No one cares that you want to be an artist kid.”

“But why?” Asked jack.

“Because no one gives a shit about your art”.

Jacks small frame riled up with anger, his small fists clinched beside his body, he stomped off back to his room. In tears he gathered up all of his drawings in one hand and walked back into the living room in an aggressive manner. He walked passed Uncle Roy who was now sound asleep. Jack walked into the kitchen and flipped open the trash can lid, shoving all his artwork down into the trashcan and kicking it over with all his might.

            Uncle Roy barged in after being woken up from the ruckus coming from the kitchen. “What the hell are you doing?” he shouted, seeing all the garbage scattered across the kitchen floor.  “I’m throwing this shit away” Jack exclaimed “No one’s gonna like it anyway.” 

 “You don’t talk to me that way!” Uncle Roy yelled as he picked up jacks small frame with his hands. “You don’t talk to me that way you hear!?” Uncle Roy shook  Jack repeatedly. Jack through all his tears managed to slip out of his uncles grasp by clawing him in the eyes. Uncle Roy dropped jack on the floor and stepped back with his hands over his eyes. Jack fearing what would happen next pulled himself up off the ground and ran passed his uncle and into his room locking the door behind him. He through his small frame on his bed and proceeded to cry with his face buried inside of his arms. Meanwhile Uncle Roy managed to make his way back his couch, sitting down with his hands over his face attempting to stop the water streaming from his face. “Fuck sake” he said quietly “What have I done?” He noticed that Jack had left his Bible open next to him. “Fuck, what the fuck have I done God? How the fuck could you forgive someone like me?”

            Suddenly, with his hands over his head he felt a moment of clarity come over him. He stood up, took and deep breath and wiped his eyes. He made his way back to Jack’s room, “Jack?” “Jack?” he exclaimed again getting closer to his room. “Go away!”  “Jack open the door” Uncle Roy said softly as he got closer. “Jack, I’m sorry…. I haven’t been a great uncle to you, let alone a good person”. Hearing all the words his uncle was saying from outside his door, Jack slowly removed himself from his bed and opened the door. 

            Uncle Roy knelt down in front of the door, hiding the pain of his old age. He put his hands softly on the same spots he did out of anger in the kitchen. He looked tenderly in Jack’s eyes and softly said again “I’m sorry…”  Jack sniffled through his tears unable to say anything. 

“Jack, if you want to be an artist, I am no one to stop you. I am sure that you are a talented artist”. “But you haven’t even seen any of them” Jack said in frustration, “I know, and I’m gonna go dig them out of the trash can myself right now”. Uncle Roy took Jack by the hand for the first time, it was an odd experience for the both of them, uncle Roy could not remember the last time he held anyone’s hand, let alone so intentionally, and Jack was happy that someone was showing that they cared. 

  Uncle Roy lead Jack to the kitchen, holding Jacks hand tightly the entire way. When they approached the trash can uncle Roy lifted the lid slowly, seeing all of Jacks drawings piled on top of each other. He scooped them up within a four finger grasp and slid them out from within his grasping hand examining the closely with his eyes. He wasn’t much for an artistic critique, but when he saw Jacks art work he began to weep. He couldn’t remember the last time he cried, his heart had become so cold and hard.    

“Awe Jack, they’re great” he said wiping his eyes. Jack’s drawings were not what most would consider masterpieces, but Uncle Roy saw potential and creativity within Jack’s scribblings. After Uncle Roy finished looking at each of Jack’s drawings with great examination, he set them down by his left knee and looked at Jack with a love he had never felt before. 

“Jack” Uncle Roy said with a long pause after..

“Yes, Uncle Roy?”

“Jack, I know that life hasn’t always worked out the way you wanted it, and it never does. But I want you to know that you can still have a bright future ahead of you. I also want you to know, that I haven’t been the greatest man Jack, I’ve made a mess of my life and I hope that you can forgive me for that”.

       Jack stood there motionless unsure of what to say, he began to replay all the things that his uncle had just said to him. His lips began to quiver as tears rolled down his face. Uncle Jack put his arms back on the same spots he aggressively grabbed earlier, looking into Jack’s eyes. Jack now, almost convulsing, said something he knew to say “Uncle Jack God loves you” as he fell into his uncle’s arms.

Uncle Roy held him tight in his arms until the sun began to go down. He seemed to ignore the pain that soared into his knees. After a while Jack had  fallen asleep on his shoulder. Uncle Roy managed to get up off the floor with groaning from the stiffness in his knees, carrying Jack back to his room.  He laid him down slowly  and Jacks head rested softly on his pillow. He tucked Jack in softly and looked at him for a few moments before leaving his room. After leaving his room, Uncle Roy made his way back to the living room, where he would sit in his comfy chair. After sitting down, he put his hands over his face, rubbing his eyes with his hands, he could not remember the last time he felt so drained. 

            He  noticed Jacks Bible as he turned his eyes down by his right foot. As he reached down to pick it up, some pages had flopped over, he didn’t care or know exactly what he was reading. His eyes only skimmed the pages. When his eyes made their way toward the bottom of a page, he noticed a few words that would forever change his life.

“Today I have become your Father”. 

Hope in the face of the “Impossible” Dream

Have you ever had a dream inside you, that you wanted to come true so bad? Yet no how much you pray, try to improve yourself so that the dream can happen, it actually doesn’t.. This is exactly what I have been grappling a lot with lately with God.

One of the biggest dreams of my life, is to one day meet an awesome woman and be a husband and father. And yet at 36 (nearly 37) it doesn’t look like the father part is going to happen, at least in the organic sense of the word.

Sure in this world, I could meet someone, have a small ceremony and consider adopting. However, the desire wouldn’t simply go away. And with each year that passes in my life. The bigger the desire gets. At this stage in my life though, the reality of having children the organic way seems highly unlikely.

This probably is not helping my cause much, however I’ve read a lot about the reality that fertility rates for men these days are horrible. Even in men within my age bracket. That’s pretty terrifying if I may say so myself. Which has caused me to be hyper aware of everything I’m doing, should the reality even come close to happening.

Honestly, there’s a part of me that wishes that could maybe go back and be a few years younger. Maybe make a few better choices in life and maybe have a better shot at the dream. It grieves me to see the amount of people in society, that have chosen not to bring kids into the world. I understand why, largely because our world is a different place and it’s rougher to live in.

However, in my personal opinion, I believe that being a husband and father would such an amazing blessing. Easy? Hell no, and this is the other part that is equally perplexing for me. Is that there are people in my life telling me to do the opposite of what my heart longs.

To not get married

To not have kids

and to simply accept that the kind of woman that I’d like to find. Isn’t real.

You know what I say to all of that? Those are the experiences of other people- and not my own. Ok, yes I understand that the reality that I’m hoping for is not an easy one. It never is, but here’s the deal also. When you have have have your own shit under control, it doesn’t have to be that bad. I’m speaking more in the emotional/mental and spiritual sense.

All too often I see people go into a relationship or marriage and drag their pain and experiences right into it. Unchecked. And that’s the problem, and some people just don’t realize how broken they actual are until years into the journey. If ever..

In life we can unknowingly dump our experiences and conceived notions on people, without thinking about it. Thinking that our perspective is the next best thing to the gospel of Christ. It’s not.

I also realize that as a Christian, there lies inside me the greatest hope of all the world. Not simply in only the eternity sense. Though that is highly important and utterly amazing. But also that God is a God of miracle’s. Do those always happen? Nope they don’t, but what would it say about having faith, if my faith wasn’t actually in the one person that conquered the world for me?

God told Abraham that he would have a son, and while his wife chuckled at the idea.. He didn’t shrink in faith. Zechariah and his wife had son… Even when they thought they would never have one. He and his wife even dated. But it happened for them.

See the theme here? Hope- hope against all odds. Once again, does this then mean that my wildest dreams will come true? No, but as long as air is still flowing through my body. My hope will be in God. For my hope and confidence is not even in myself but in him.

Another blogger that I frequent, who just so happens to be an orthodox Christian. He says that “only God can bring you a wife.” It might seem silly to many, even though I’m a big advocate for self improvement and being the best version of ourselves possible. It’s all up to the king. And while it is all up to the king, I will by his grace walk with him through out the peaks an valleys.

I hope give up on hope. I won’t give up on the dream.

Woman jump over canyon

How To Be A High Value Person: With a Disability

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means, to be a person of “high value”, as it also relates to be a person with a disability. The term “high value” truly comes down to how you see and treat yourself. In truth, being assertive is something that has been a challenge for me my whole life. Sometimes the fear of speaking up about my belief on a given topic, causes me to fear the consequences. Either by offending someone or being viewed a certain way. Even in living with cerebral palsy, asking for things is tough because one does not want to feel like a burden. Maybe for you, it’s that and also how you see yourself. Perhaps you don’t take care of yourself as much, because on the inside you do not feel as though you are worth someone caring about. Whatever that may be, for any of us, here is a short list of things to become a person of a higher value.

One: you already are a person of high value because God has placed his image upon you. Which is the greatest blessing to ever be bestowed on human life.
Two: Take care of yourself, physically speaking: exercise in the way that you can, eat good foods that serve your body and not destroy it. And to a certain extent, present yourself with a good image.
Three: know your personal boundaries and do not allow to be crossed- by anyone.
Four: Guard your mind and heart, learn not to be over ran and dominated by every single though or emotion.
Five: Master your temptations, whatever they may be.

Disability and Masculinity

What do you think of when it comes to words such as masculine or masculine man? For some, it might be a man who is confident, strong in body and mind, can fix things in the home and on a car. And has the ability to fend off a violent attacker. This can be seen as the traditional man/ alpha male. For others a man might be more quiet and introspective, more in touch with their emotions and artistic and quite the opposite of the traditional-alpha male. In modern times, there is a war going on between the two stances. But do we ever stop and ponder, what manhood or masculinity looks like, in light of disabled men? This is a question that I’ve been wrestling with for quite some time now, both societally and religiously for the church. Now to be fair, there are those with cerebral palsy, who are healthy and active, can take care of themselves for the most part. The biggest obstacle for me then is the issue of driving, due to my startle reflex is not something I’ve overcome yet, the difficult part of the equation is it hinders me socially. And things such as uber can be pricey after a while. Forgetting about myself, I often think about the men in the world, who aren’t able to be as active as myself, have to depend a lot on the care of others, spend a lot of time at home and very rarely get out of their homes.

            Are they still not real men? Of course they are! These are men that are made in the image of God, and have immense value, dignity and purpose. The problem that I believe that these men, can very well be over looked by society and even the Church. While I do not believe that there is anything overtly malicious causing this, it grieves me non the less and I’m deeply convicted and convinced that this is an issue to brought to light and dealt with. Furthermore, if this issue grieves my soul, how must God feel about it? I believe that it grieves his heart, much more than it does mine. Most of the time, when pastors are talking about Godly men leading their families, more often than not they are speaking to able abled-bodied men. Teaching them to lead confidently and boldly, to provide for their families and pursuing the calling that God has placed on their lives. This is not wrong, and I affirm this absolutely. Yet very rarely do pastors think about what leading a family or pursing a God given calling might look life, if a men isn’t able to provide for his family, as he would desire in a physical sense. Have pastors ever really paused to consider the shame that this might leave in the soul of a man?

Everyday I talk to various men with different severities of disability, and each story echoes. Men of various ages and walks of life. Feeling that their lives are completely pointless, due to the context of their lives and being stuck at home more often than not. Moreover, they even endure the thought process of feeling worthy of love, be it by God himself or even a woman. In my daily conversations with men like myself, I make it a point to apply lessons that I have had to learn the hard way over the last few years of my life, that lead to a sense of masculinity in their own right. Though I still am in a similar context myself. The first element that I try to instill in my daily conversations with disabled men, is where their self of self and identity resides. Yes this is crucial in all men, but it is all the more important in the lives of some disabled men. It’s so important that disabled find and even lose themselves in the identity that God graciously bestows upon them. Whether they believe it or not. If not, disabled men will continually be stuck in the thought process of feeling like a burden to society and even their families. The next crucial element, after establishing a Christ centered identity is tapping into some sort of God giving calling. Whatever that may be, as I stated in the beginning, some men are more home bound, and have to depend a lot on the care of others and can’t really “work” in the sense that the world would like.

            So, we have to establish of purpose and mission even if it’s glorifying God every day. There’s more that can be added. But I’d like to end with these thoughts, is it frustrating that the church doesn’t speak to the reality of masculinity among disabled members of their congregations, very little/if any? Yes- it is, it is also sad to see that very few churches have ministries dedicated to even families with special needs children. However, rather than being stuck in the downward spiral of complaining, I have accepted the calling that I believe that God has placed inside me. Even if it’s not seen as significant in the worlds eyes. It’s my goal to write one of the first books on the matter, because no longer can these men go forgotten. 

                             

A Thought on Energy and Tips to Combat It

Lately I’ve been dwelling on the reality of energy, not so much the physical reality of it. Though that is part of it. More so the reality of energy that surrounds us, that others give off. Some of us have more healthy and positive environments. While others of us have surroundings that are very much the opposite.

God only knows I try and not let it get to me, but this morning during my workout I noticed that the energy that surrounded me really got to me. It sucked all the will and energy out of me. I got off my rower and started doing some weighted push ups and still the draining sensation stuck to me.

This makes me think of other disabled individuals like myself, who cannot readily escape their surroundings. Due to financial and other reasons. How to we begin to combat the negative energy in our lives?

One: I’ve been very mindful of my breathing practice, every morning and evening I do at least 30 slow deep breathes. This really helps calm the nervous system.

Two: Prayer and journaling, talk to God ask him to sustain you with grace and strength. Write down your thoughts on paper. Get it out.

Three: Sleep! Try and go to bed around the same time every night. Don’t keep your phone near you, try and keep your room cool and as dark as possible.

four: Visualize putting armor around your mind and heart, imagine blocking each and every negative attack. You truly can hardened your mind and not in a unhealthy either. But one that keeps the negative energy from over coming us.

The Tug-Of War With CP

Living with cerebral palsy will now be, for me defined as a tug-of- war. What is meant by that, you ask?  On one hand, many times there is a peace inside me in regards to living with it. There isn’t so much the hatred of self that once was there. Having once despised myself and the God that gave my very breath to me. Now in my mid- thirties, most days there is honestly a love for having cerebral palsy. Why? Because this was one of the missions that God gave me, there’s avenues to relate to others like myself and not like myself. There’s avenues to relate to suffering and hardship. There’s avenues to completely blow people’s minds, with what my body can do physically, but also with the intelligence and other gifts that were endowed to me also. That’s most days for me, when I’m happy, content and smiling. And yet, it’s not in me to lie- some moments and days the hatred comes back.

When the ominous thoughts slip in the back door of my mind and say:

Hey! Its us… Those annoying voices in your head!

Were just hear to remind you what a failure you’re.

You got a dramatically late start in life and you suck because of it!

            No this is not me trying to add more drama than there needs to be, this is truly what it feels like on the inside. Yes, I’m 36 and still in my parents’ house, yes there’s plans to move out and be on my own. Thanks to Covid though, that got put on the back burner. But I’d be lying to you if there wasn’t an intense frustration. As though to think, that if maybe if there were a few different choices made, maybe my life would have taken a different direction? I’m not a hundred percent sure.

Within the current context, I’ve managed to author multiple books, become an online personal trainer/nutrition coach and even teach self -defense classes multiple times a week. Am I happy with that? Yes, I’ve even improved a lot with money, but again, there’s that voice inside me that says it’s still not good enough. That, there needs to be more and more and more. One of the biggest desires of my heart, is to meet a lovely woman, get married and have a family of my own. However, that same voice that reminds me that it’s never enough even says to me that no woman  will ever want me because of XY or Z. It sucks to feel that way, it’s like a dagger that resides in my chest. And yet, it’s not as though there is no value in myself or that there is nothing that I have to offer. That’s hugely not true- the reality is, those thoughts still find themselves making space in my life. And maybe it’s like that for you too? The two realities that help me fight on, is that God is in absolute control of my life and nothing happens without his divine say so.

            The other is knowing that there is immense value and worth inside me, regardless of whether or not others see it or not. That’s a powerful truth to know. It means that we don’t have to conduct our lives based solely on how others see or believe about us. That used to be me, and it was a miserable place to be. That also isn’t to say, that we shouldn’t care at all, what people think. We are social creatures, yet we must pick and choose who’s opinion we listen to and who speaks into our lives.  The point is, we need to value ourselves and we need to hold our heads high.

Lastly, each person is on there own path in life and it doesn’t matter who gets where and when. But that we learn, grow and have the courage to embark on where we think we are being led along the way.             

The Path of Destruction

Philosophically speaking, there are two ways in which we view the world or rather people that inhabit the world. The first way people believe is that we are inherently good and some of us become wayward either due to be misguided along the way or some sort of traumatic experience along the way. This particular world view is in some ways easy to live with, because it also becomes easy to dismiss the darkness caused by others is only due to deviating from a path of goodness.

This particular philosophical out look can be a real stumbling block for my mind to try and comprehend. Having once worked in a Child Advocacy center, knowing that the young children coming into the center everyday faced a real physical evil causes something to rage against the view of inherent goodness. Sure, one could submit that the abuser experienced their own pain and tragedy. Yet the very rebuttal is not enough to make up for the pain caused.

Some where along the way personal ownership of ones actions has to be set in motion. In the A.A. movement one of the most important steps is to take ownership of ones actions and try to make as much restitution for prior actions. More on this point in a bit.

The second outlook then, is the belief or understanding that we humans are not inherently good. Quite the opposite, that we are all for a lack of better words evil, with a dark dragon inside us as it were. And left to our own devices, we are bent toward a path of destruction. Admittedly, this view is much harder for people to swallow, usually people are deeply offended by this particular view at first and carry a look in their eyes as though to say:

“How dare you say I’m evil!”

Trust me, this view wasn’t something that was easily accepted for me either. The biggest problem that some people have in accepting this view, is that we humans don’t want to take on the challenging and uncomfortable task of taking a cold hard look at ourselves. Down to the core of who we are. Again, this is very uncomfortable to do, because you may discover things about yourself that you never even knew about. And then you have to work on those areas too.

This isn’t something that people want to do, but it must be done none the less. It’s how we start to combat the dark dragon inside of us all. Going back to the A.A. example, for that person to begin to make restitution for past transgression. He or she has to first see that they first have a problem. A problem that they are fundamentally powerless over, and that they need divine help from. They need Christ to come in a make them a new creation.

If Alcoholics do not take the steps needed to combat the dragon inside them, they will die in a state of destruction of the soul. Even if you do not believe in a literally hell as depicted in the Christian narrative, there still is in a sense- a hell that happens to the soul when it is swallowed by darkness.

You might submit that you don’t wrestle with addiction to substance, but if you look deeper at your self and life you lead. You certainly do wrestle and stumble in other ways. Perhaps you have made a lot of bad choices in your life and your past eats your soul alive all the time. Perhaps you’re filled with resentment and hatred for things done to you, that is something you should aggressively work on before you are on your death bed.

Whatever it may be, we all have things within the stories of our lives that we must deal with. You have to do the hard work of finding out what that is for you. Write it down, even if it’s multiple items and them aim at overcoming them to the best of your finite ability.

Christ said in Matthew 7:13: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

The narrow gate is not a comfortable one, it was never intended to be. Yet it does lead to the most joy and freedom. The narrow gate requires to say no to things that will do us harm, and others harm. The narrow gate calls us to make war against the sin inside us the tangles us up. Finally, the narrow gate that Christ calls us to, demands that we are too weak to bare our burdens on our own accord and yet be filled with the courage to bare our crosses until our stories are over.

Do the hard work, it’s calling at you daily, screaming at you saying : “DEAL WITH ME DAMMIT!” Deal with it while you still can.

Virtuous Masculinity is Not Toxic

The 4 virtues of a man- I derived this from the Order of Man news letter. These 4 virtues are also seen in the Bushido or warrior code of the samurai.

1. JUSTICE

This is the righteous man. He is fair in his dealings with others. He understands the difference between selfishness and selflessness.

2. PRUDENCE

This is the man of action. He’s able to discern the appropriate path forward. He governs himself with reason and makes good choices.

3. FORTITUDE

This is the man of courage. He has the willingness to face danger, pain, and uncertainty. He displays bravery in both physical and moral strength.

4. TEMPERANCE

This is the man of moderation. He practices self-restraint, forgiveness, humility, and discipline in all areas of life.

Masculinity, as I survive current culture landscape is seen as such an evil and frowned upon trait anymore. As you may or may not know, my father raised me in the martial arts. Through that he taught me to never let my disability stop me. To hold my head up and stick my chest out. To be tough and hold my ground, and to never use my skills for the sake it. Always to restrain evil from either self or the life of another .

I learned all of these above virtues in the martial arts, being a martial artist has in many ways taught me to be a more peaceful person. Peaceful- but also knowing when to use my skills to handle real evil or an unruly person who’s just having a bad day. It makes me a more kind and loving person.

And yet men like me, disabled or not. Who train or teach martial arts, shoot guns, eat a lot of red meat and so on are seen as a antagonist. We are seen as toxic. Why? In my estimation it was once seen as good, for a man to be tough, capable, a protector and knew how to treat a woman.  Call me old fashioned if you must, but I believe that a man should still hold a door for a woman, and treat her with the utmost respect while taking care of her mind and heart. The obvious objections to this are:

I don’t need a man to hold a door open for me.

I don’t need a man to take care of me in any way shape or form.

A woman might not need a man to hold a door open for them, or take care of them. But I’m not going to change my values as a man in the name of succumbing to new culture norms. And for the record, I have zero problems with a woman who is strong, educated and has her own interests in life.          

In my weekly martial arts practice I know many women who can handle their own in a fight, and can even lift more weight then me. Still, it doesn’t take away from the fact that virtuous men, would still do all they could to protect and woman from violence should they have to. It has nothing to do with whether or not a woman can defend herself or not. But that being a protector is hard wired into the DNA of a man, or at least it should be.

There is nothing toxic about this, it’s what makes up the warrior inside of the inner man. There’s so many men today that are scared of their own shadow, afraid to getting punched or roughed up. We frown upon boys that get into scuffles with their friends and someone getting a bloody nose. I can remember the first time that I ever got into a scuffle with someone, I ended up elbowing them in a face as hard as I could. Was it the right thing to do?

No, but after all the drama resolved, my dad had us shake hands and we actually became friends after. The point being that when you have a masculine father step in, and demonstrate that while there is a time to use violence, virtuous men understand that they are more often willing to pursue peace and use violence as a last resort.   

We need men that are capable of violence, we need men that are capable of even being able to hunt for their own food, in the name of providing for their own families. We need men that are disciplined so that they can accomplish their life’s mission. We need men, that are also filed with compassion and empathy, so as to help ease the burdens of others in this world. We need men who are willing to stoop down and lift others up, so that they too can set themselves on solid ground.

Masculinity-or rather virtuous masculinity is not toxic. Nor should we seek to strip it away from the hands of men. We need it greatly in our currently societally standing. We need to take it back, and show it to a desperate world. We need to take it back from other men in this world that are not living up to all that they could be. We need to take it back from all the other men in the world that are using their so called “masculinity” for all the wrong reasons.