Thoughts on Relational PTSD

I recently heard George Bruno talk about relationship shell shock or PTSD on his YouTube channel, quite honestly relational shell shock was not something that would have come to mind. As it relates to my fear of entering back into the dating realm. However, I do believe that it is true non the less.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a huge desire to meet an amazing woman and unfold a new chapter of life together. And yet, I’m scared. Scared of what you ask? Entering another relationship with a woman who judges me on the merits of my life, and how much money there is in my bank account.

Yes, money is important but it is the only important factor and value in life. I’m scared to meet a woman that is never happy, constantly up and down and hardly ever encouraging. I want the opposite, but as I said in yesterday’s entry, that kind of woman is one and a million. And honestly very different than today’s typical westernized woman.

There’s days where I think that I’m okay, and ready to start a new chapter. And other days where things hit me and think to myself “do I really want this?” The apostle Paul says that if you burn with passion, it’s better to marry. Well, that’s me! Even though I’m scared as ####!

Maybe you, like me are wrestling with this or something similar and you wonder if you will ever experiences a newness in life. How we begin to heal? Two avenues we must take:

Pray- talk to God, ask him to not only help you heal but also the courage to move on.

Take risks: Why? Because that is the overall method to healing from trauma, you have to face it on some level. That doesn’t mean be careless, be wise and calculated and vet a person well. But take risks and then if doesn’t work, dust it off and move on. If we stay where were at things will never change.

          

The One and A Million

I’m beginning to think I’m doomed..

Doomed? You ask?

Yes… Doomed

From what? You respond

Finding a woman, and not just any woman.

One who is genuinely happy, encouraging, warm, affectionate and at peace… And a practicing Christian. But here’s the thing though, does a woman like that even live on earth? A lot of men seem to think not. Recently, I was listening to Eliot Hulse talk about this very type of a woman and my first thought was.

“Yeah, that’s probably not even real, and if it is, it’s probably one out of million.”

But as I have sat with that thought, the question comes to mind: What if waiting for that one and million is worth it? What if, I keep seeking God, bettering myself and wait for God to bring us to each other? That honestly seems so glorious to me.

And I get it too, women are different- very different actually and some are more emotional than others. People have problems, I get it. Yet on a personal level, I’m tired of dating women, in which I’m in store for something different each day. Unsure of what I’ll get. To be fair, some men act like women too and are just as emotional and frankly unstable.

To that I say, you need to start getting your poop in a group and act like a the man that God mad you.

It’s worth the wait, I promise you. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, can you still be strong, happy and content?           

Rambling on Depression

Depression sucks, especially the kind of been experiencing the past three days. It’s like something dark, just came and busted out a lawn chair and began to relax while it indulged in it’s favorite beverage and snack. Then I think to myself, “Hey, I didn’t invite you here” Then this dark creature replies “oh, but you forget I show up every year.. When you least expect it.” That you do, but it doesn’t mean this depression is welcome.

So I’m going to express and share about what I’ve been feeling without giving power to loathing and deprecation of the self. Which I have been prone to do. However it will be a goal of mine within the new year to really fight against feeling sorry for myself and speaking negatively about myself. Depression is interesting in the sense that, it can feel your mind with lies that you know aren’t true. And yet, because its so heavy it feels true all the more.

The depression will say that I’m a fraud, no woman would ever want to be with me again, I’ve made to many mistakes and that my life is as good as it could possibly get. Meaning I’m stuck and life as I know it. Is over.

Again, I know it’s not true, but as I said the depression makes it seem all the more real and powerful. I’ve been on different medications for depression, and been to various counselors and I’ve had bad experiences with both. Medications only seemed to make feel worse, physically and mentally and most counselors I’ve seen have cooking cutter responses to my pain. So I said screw it both.

For me I believe that nutrition and fitness are big parts of fighting it, but you can do all that and still grapple with depression, however short the duration. For me, I’d rather have short durations, than to be where I once was, where I was having a couple panic attacks a week, puking before classes in college and so on.

This year hasn’t helped, though I’m thankful because here, in small Nebraska were not that restricted by Covid. But it doesn’t help, hearing about it every day, having a never ending political battle. Moreover, having cerebral palsy doesn’t help at all. It’s not like I can just leave the house whenever my heart desires. It’s also difficult when you don’t have any friends who can readily come pick you up or hang out with you because of their own circumstances.

Which is why I’ve tried a lot to be happy with myself and my own company, this is not just my battle but for many with cerebral palsy. Depression doesn’t make you weak, I just choose to lower my head and keep moving forward, to keep taking the shots. I’m not directly apposed to seeking help- I’m more open to talk therapy than anything. I’d only like to find a decent fit.

In the midst of the depression and the powerful blows that it deals myself and others, I’ve learn to channel a deep warrior strength inside me. One that knows that this darkness will pass, I’m learning to notice the pain and darkness within, and yet not be over ran by it. I’m learning to not let the depression over ride the duration of my day.

I still manage to workout, eat healthy, workout etc in spite of the depression that faces me. One might say that that’s not healthy. But to me, I say that that’s making war against the depression. It’s me fighting, going down swinging no matter what.

My greatest anchor through all of this is my relationship with God, prayer and reading my Bible. That’s what’s bigger than any darkness in my life.

Paul and 1 Corinthians 7

I’d like to share my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 7 (The famous Marriage chapter), everyone should read the chapter in its entirety. However for the purpose of space and time, I’m going to highlight certain parts of the passage and hopefully paint a broader picture. As a teenager, a bit after becoming a Christian by the grace of God, some guys I would sit at a coffee shop slaving over this passage. Really though, it was them slaving over what the implication of chapter 7 was and me just listening. The main argument was: “Does God want me to marry or stay single?” Some of the guys even seemed to be wrestling with whether Paul was implying that we should all be single, and whether marriage was a good idea.

            This is where context matters greatly, it can’t be that God or Paul think that marriage is the worst of all things, because the scripture begins and ends within the context of a marriage. The first was Adam and Eve, and the second is more a metaphor between the true children of God and Christ. In EHP Paul tells us men-husbands to love our wives as Christ loves the church. So, again, Paul cannot be speaking ill of the idea as a whole. At the core of chapter seven, I believe that Paul is truly speaking to a life devoted to a life of serving God and others. Which is probably why he says that sexual relations should be avoided, but because of immorality a man must have a wife of his own and vice versa. Not that thinks that sex is evil or anything of the sort.

Hopping down to verse eight, Paul says Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Paul says that it is good to stay as he is (single) why? Because he thinks marriage is wrong? No, otherwise he would be going against scripture its self. Rather (I believe) that he is in one way saying that it’s difficult, and that a person will be torn between serving God and their spouse. I like many other scholars probably think he (Paul) was married before and experienced his own hardship within a marriage, and when he first tasted the goodness and grace of God. From that that point on he was one hundred percent sold for the cause of Christ. Which is great! Furthermore, there might be lessons in this too, perhaps Paul found a peace and contentment with God and self that he could never find in a woman, no, Paul isn’t some bitter woman hater, but he found a mission and calling much bigger than anything else in his life. I also believe that he might be implying that human marriage is temporary and Christ is forever. Even though in my heart I long to be married and a father, the end for me is eternity with Christ. My future wife and I will fight, I’ll fail as a husband and father and my kids will not listen to me.

            So is it still worth it? Or should I just become a monk? Yes its worth it! Become a monk? Maybe, if after a lot of prayer I realized that that’s where God had me headed. Looking back at the coffee shop scene from the beginning, people were really only making what the apostle Paul was saying more difficult than it had to be. Relationally speaking, we Christians can make the realm of relationships all the more difficult. In my junior year of college, I asked a young woman out for a simple cup of coffee, and her response was “I need to ask God about that first”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with seeking God on things in life, but at the same time, it wasn’t like I was going to ask the girl to marry me or anything, it was just a cup of coffee! Paul says in verse 8, that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. That’s one indication that you should thoughtfully and prayerfully peruse that avenue, if on the other hand you do not burn with passion. Then keeping being you, becoming more content, happier, healthier serving God and others.

Perhaps that burning passion will come later in life, none the less though, in verse seventeen Paul says: 17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. Live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them. In one sense, Paul might be making a subtle reference to the ever quoted Phil 4:13, which says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul wasn’t referring to be able to be Peter Pan and fly, but rather to be content and endure whatever context that he finds himself in. Secondly, Paul uses the word Assigned and my estimation this is a very big and crucial world, why? Because being the Calvinist that I am, I then believe that God has already laid everything out before us for our lives. I’m sure that some might argue with me on this point, and that’s fine. In that same vein of thought, The Lord knows whether one will stay single or Marry.

            The best thing that we can do is to not only trust him, but seek him daily. It’s also a sobering reality, that even those of us who burn with passage, don’t always get the desires of our hearts granted always. This can also spill over into other areas of our lives as well. This is a profound mystery, that I will more than likely not understand this side of life. Yet, I will holdfast to the reality that God has loved us madly through his son Jesus. And that is far better and sweeter than anything in life. Simply, because you’re single, does not mean you are missing or lacking anything in life. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. So smile, be vibrant and enjoy your life. Keep working on yourself, readying oneself for the reality of maybe one day being a husband or wife. To the married (I’m saying this as a single man, having never been married- go figure). Marriage in the Christian sense,  is a sanctifying experience, you will see each- others flaws in ways you never dreamt, and you will have to forgive each other the same way that Christ has forgiven us for our sins. But it is beautiful and worth it in the end.  

A Letter To A Fellow Warrior

The following post, is a letter that I wrote to a dear friend of mine, who also has cerebral palsy. Though much worse than myself. Like a lot of men with CP, he feels alone and wrestles with the desires. The point behind this letter, was to remind me of who he was, despite the circumstances that he found himself in:

Brother,
Thank you for your message, it truly meant a lot to me, in a few ways. In one regard, your struggles are my struggles. Not being able to leave the house much, work, feeling alone. Those are all things that my heart connects with as well. And as mentioned to you before, the battle is sometimes hourly and daily. I connect tell you how many times the thought has surfaced in my mind:
Is any woman ever going to love me for me? I know that questions must echo loudly in your mind, as it does many others with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, regardless of gender. Now, myself having only dated a few women, sometimes things just aren’t what we think their meant to be. I’m in no way trying to give you a platitude, it’s just a cold hard reality of life that we men need to learn to accept. With every interest or relationship, the question speaks out from my inner life: is this person the one that’s going to stay? And when I say stay, it’s the until death do us part way.
The great CS Lewis, was only married to his wife for a short time, before losing his beloved wife to illness. The very death of his wife, appeared that there was enough weight behind it to crush the very soul of Lewis. Think about that for a bit, he must have felt intense despair, and felt utterly alone in the universe. He very well might have had so heated conversations with God himself. I say all this, to share with you, that no matter how long a woman or even dog is with us, they were never meant to complete. Never. And shame on us humans to even believe that another person might actually make us whole.
I’ve known you awhile my friend, and I know you are a good man with an amazing heart. A man that actual has purpose, talent and immense value. The question is my brother, do you know that in yourself? Do you know what the creator of the cosmos thinks and believes of you? Do you know how madly he loves you? Do you know that he calls you friend and beloved? These realities, though they are true for all who are in Christ. They are in (in a sense) even more important to men like us, men like us who physically can’t drive. Men, who are good hearted men, with good intentions, and would like to leave a dent in the world and because of the severity of your disability and because you a bit heavier on the care of others. It makes things all the more challenging and difficult. The average person, would rage against our situations, and yes it sucks a lot. But you and I, belong to the king of the universe first and foremost. His son Jesus, made us his own before the foundation of the world. That should matter more than anything.
The other reason your message stuck out to me, was that it reaffirmed in me another of a mission in life, and that is other men like us. There’s many like you and me, who wrestle with the same thing, who cannot readily go out and be the typical man that some women want. I feel as though, God wants me to be a kind of coach, that helps men like us discover Gods mad love, to secure in themselves, learn to navigate the inner emotions of life and discover purpose/mission in life. My prayer for men like us, is that we would be sure of our standing with God, that we would live a stoic life, where we are not needlessly emotional and are ravaged by desire and that we are dependent on no one to fill our emotional, mental and spiritual cups. To be okay with being alone. Simply because you have a severity of CP, that leaves you in need of more personal care. Does not make you less of a man. Let me say that again my friend, you are not less of a man.
God has made you man, my brother, and as such you are a warrior poet. Though your body may not be able to be physically strong. Your mind and soul can be like a mighty fortress. You can learn to armor up and fight off the enemies attacks. God has given you a mind, and a mouth, you may not be able to use your hands very well, but you are smart and as such you can use the tools that you do have. Rather than being caught up in what you don’t. I must preach these truths to myself as well, daily, weekly and even hourly. I write this letter to you to awaken the warrior within you. It’s there. God breathed that inside you. Scripture says that you are more valued than the sparrow, and if they trust that God will feed them, can you? I implore you my dear friend, to throw your being at the heart of God, seek first his kingdom and all other things will be added to you. Life is not over, it’s still beautiful get into the battle my brave friend, brother and warrior.

Thoughts On Trauma 2: Leaving Trauma Behind.

In the last blog, I discussed the reality that many people have trauma to some degree. But is how one chooses to acknowledge their trauma to walk in health and healing. This is accomplished, not by white knuckling our way toward wholeness, but confessing a need of God’s grace and intervention, along with healthy members in community.  The key word and what we be the focus of this second entry, is the word healthy. Simply put if you are seeking to be healthy, you can’t simply surround yourself with people who are unhealthy.

Now, before you raise your hand in objection, hear me out. I’m not implying that because one is seeking a healthy life- or sobriety even. That one must strop loving or caring for others in your life that aren’t. Sometimes though, to find health, healing and clarity. We may have to leave what we once knew to find new horizons in life. No, this is not easy and yes it is extremely scary. Some people may actually write you off, because of the path you have chosen to embark on. So be it, sometimes others simply will not understand your journey until much later in life. Relationally in my own life, I have been prayerful waiting, praying and seeking a woman who is fairly healthy (physically, emotionally and spiritually) that is happy in herself and communicates well. In prior relationships, I’ve dated women that have a lot of emotional baggage and didn’t really have a handle on their inner selves. To be fair however, I was FAR-FAR from healthy. The narrative in my mind was “I’m broken, she’s broken lets be broken together”. This sounds well and good, but if two people aren’t walking toward healing and becoming more whole. It’s like twenty car pile-up. In the Christian sense, we are broken sinners, but Christ has made his sons and daughters new creations in Christ. Looking back, I was an overly sensitive man, who honestly lost sight of his masculine self. One who was afraid to speak up, disagree or stand up for myself. I kept my mouth shut most of the time, afraid to rock the boat. This is not how a man nor any person should live. It became all about making them happy, and sadly forgetting my own sense of mission in life. You can say that my “addiction” if you will, was different in a way. But over the last several months, I’ve had to cut some ties, learn a lot hard realities and find peace being alone. I’m happy to say that I have found peace being alone and a much deeper joy in my walk with God. Yes, the desire to date, marry and God willing be a father some day is there. But I want a healthy relationships, not built on chaos and disorder. I want to bring health and joy to my next relationship, the same way I’d want the woman that I was involved to do the same. Now, I’m not saying that there would never be difficult moments with two healthy people, of course there will be. But when you are healthy, you won’t go back necessarily go back to your old coping ways. Necessarily because there’s always a chance. But when a person or two people are healthy, they will completely forsake the old ways. If you know you could be a happier, whole person, take the steps to do so. Nothing happens over night, but as long as you keep moving forward you can become the person you desire. Will you fall on your face again? Yes, so you get up, dust off, maybe dress your wounds and move on. Don’t settle, don’t be afraid to embark on the journey you know you must.            

Why I’ve Pretty Much Given Up

On dating…

No, I’m not becoming one of these bitter men that hate women, though there was a time in my life where I was. I’ve grown tired of the search. Online dating is only leading me to dead ends. Most of the demographic are single moms. I have NOTHING against them, all I am going off of is past experience, and based off that I’d rather not go down that road again. Are they all going to be the same? Surely not, but wisdom says when you keep going down the same road, you get the same results.

I’d say that a good 86% of women in the world of online dating, either already have kids and don’t want to have anymore. Or quite simply don’t want to have kids or cannot have them. Which is a different context. It leaves me though, being thirty six and still living with the desire to have kids of my own some day.

The dating world is quite frustrating, because there’s two categories, category one is all the dating tips that one can get from so called experts on YT. But in reality, almost none of it actual works. Then there’s the second category which simply tells a person to simply be themselves. This also is a load a crap!

You know how many times I’ve tried being myself when dating a woman? Lots, and guess what it fails me every single time. Or so I thought, you see being a genuinely nice guy is great as long long as one is actually authentic about. My problem was, I never had the guts to speak my mind even if it meant rocking the boat.

This took me a while to learn, but I’m extremely thankful for learning the lesson none the less. Another part of me feels as though, that I’m simply not in a healthy position to date currently. It really, really, sucks having cerebral palsy and living in your parents house. Though, that hasn’t always been a problem. It sucks to have as a potential road block, though there are plans to move out. But the state of COVID, that’s taken a back seat.

To add to the equation, I simply don’t make the amount of money that women desire a man to have these days. I make my money through the avenues of personal training, writing and teaching self defense. For some reason that last one always gets me a weird look like “you.. teach martial arts… You making money doing that?” Yes, I do, and why that bring a smile to a woman’s face is beyond me. Knowing that he not only knows how to handle himself, but makes others safer too.. But I rest my case.

One might also suggest that I find someone like myself. Been there done that and I’m fairly certain I’d never do it again. I’ve done long distance before as well, and my heart longs for someone I can see and touch in a close radius. Yet, in all of this, there has been a peace and contentment that I never thought I’d find.

I don’t need a woman to make me happy, to have a sense of mission in life. I don’t need a woman to comfort me either. My faith and walk with God has gotten stronger, I like who I am and where I’m going in life. I do want someone to spend my life with though, however I’m simply not sure how it would workout. As mentioned before though, there’s two kinds of people: One says that you gotta go out there and get what one is looking for. And the other says (and which I find appealing) says that only God can bring you a wife.

The reason that I lean toward the second option, is largely because I’ve been on the pursuit before. And my God does it get exhausting quick. To be very blunt, I’m happy not dealing with drama, being happy with me as a person one moment, and then the next being unsure or completely losing it all together.

Is it even possibly to find someone who is fairly balanced out? I don’t know, what I do know is that I’m probably going to piss a few off with my prior statement. Oh well though. I know everyone has their crap and every relationship has problems, but I’m just tired of experiencing what I have over and over again.

Lastly, my parents tell me to stay single, but that is largely because they have their own pain. And my experience is not their own. I’m not really sure where the road will lead me, but I do know this, I am happy and complete. And where ever God leads I’m open to it.

What Does It Mean To Be A High Value Man?

What is a high value man? Better yet, what is a high value person?

There is often a lot talk in the red pill community, in regards to being a high value man. Most of the defining terms for it, consists of having more money and being more appealing in the “sexual market place”. While having more money and physical appeal is not a bad thing, that can’t be all there is.

Moreover, and what I have been very passionate about over the last several months, is how do men like myself become more high value? Even within the context that they find themselves in. For instance, it can be very difficult to go out and meet people, so you are on social media a lot, or dating sites. Maybe no matter how man jobs you’ve applied for you can’t seem to land a job.

Worse yet, maybe you feel as though no one would ever find you attractive and want to be with you. That’s a very rough and defeating place to be. I’ve been there myself and sometimes those thoughts still creep up in my life. What I have discovered though and what has helped me fight off that heavy perspective of myself, is having a radical acceptance of myself.

Now, that in no way means just coasting though life, without making improvements on the self. No, a radical self -acceptance simply means that one recognizes that they are loved, valued, worthy of respect and dignity first. Before going your better half in life. It means being at peace with yourself first, and not relying on someone else to provide you peace and try and “fix you” in some way. As you find a radical acceptance in the self, that should then motivate you to go after a higher calling in life, which could be one of many things. It should motivate you to want to improve yourself in every single way humanly possible. Try losing weight, gaining muscle tone, becoming stronger mentally and emotionally. Getting right with God. This is what it means holistically to be a high value man-person. You can all of these things. You just have to be willing to work at it, every single day. No matter how long it takes!

Don’t Wait Around (Small Relationship Advice)

I can remember being in junior high,

there was a girl,

her name was Molly.

Molly was cute, with brown hair and freckled skin.

Yours truly had a crush on her.

One day after school,

there she was at her locker…

So, something sprung up inside me “I should ask her out”.

And so I did.

And she told me, without even looking at me. “I have a boyfriend, but you’ll be the first to know.”

At first I was crushed, but when she said you’ll be the first to know there was a sense a hope. Maybe she would come around I thought.

But as time went on, nothing changed.

The lesson was, don’t allow yourself to be someone else back up plan. Have the fortitude and respect for yourself to know that you deserve better. And find someone that actually wants to be with you.

Being Healthy To Attract Healthy.

I woke up this morning with this question at the forefront of my attention:

Why Do I keep attracting the same kind of woman into my life?

It’s an honest question, and a life changing one at that. The same can be asked if you are a woman that just so happens to be reading this. You could easily ask yourself why you keep bringing the same kind of men into your life. Several years, an old friend of mine and myself, were having a beer after a bible study. Just the way I like it- beer and bible. Or bible and beer , however you want to say it.

Anyway, my friend asked me a very bold question, that actually pissed me off greatly in the moment. He asked Brandon, why do you keep attracting the same woman into your life over and over again? As first I was so blindsided and confused by the question, I took another sip of my beer, set it down still holding it and asked: what are you getting at? He looked at me and said:

“Bro, you keep attracting all these women that have all sorts of problems, their not actually healthy for you.” Again I felt anger rise within me, I looked at my friend and said “bro, doesn’t everyone have problems and baggage? “ Well yes he replied, but maybe you could find someone that had a lot less problems and was on a healthy path in life.”

I can understand if you’re offended after reading that, after all I was too. But do you know why I was so offended? Because my friend was right, and he was willing to offend me in the name of me seeing truth.  With my last few relationship’s, they have either had commitment issues or were honestly unstable in some ways. I don’t mean this to come across in a degrading way, I only want to communicate truth. And to be fair, some of the past women I’ve dated could say a thing or two about me.

And  yet, when I truly began to ponder this question, I only could look back at myself. Because taking ownership of our lives, starts with the self. Realizing our pit falls and where we can improve. I began to see that it some way or another, I was attracting what already existed inside of me. I had a lot of inward battles going on, mental struggles and so on. And so naturally when you’re not as a healthy as you ought to be, you migrate to what is most comfortable to you.

On another level, there lies a savior complex where I  want to help others with their problems and become more whole and happier. The only problem with that is, is that we can hope to “fix” someone to the point of forgetting to fix ourselves. That is the most unhealthy of options, it’s as they said proverbs, like a dog that returns to his vomit.

If I desire to be a healthy person, I also believe that you want to be healthy person as well. What does healthy actually look like? For me,  it means being less hindered by the past, dwelling on it less and less and leaving it where it belongs. This is something that I have to continually work on, though I’m not as bad as I once was. It always means having better control over my mental health and even emotions, in my own life I have been of anti-anxiety and depression meds for a long time. I’ve been learning to get a handle on my anxiety and or depression by getting down to the root cause. Moreover, I am learning to pray, and lay all my fears, worries and insecurities at the feet of God. This is not to say that I’m somehow arrived at the end of my progress, no in fact I have a long way to go. But I am nowhere near who I once used to be. That to me is a healthy person, one that’s moving towards who they were meant to be. And in terms of having another relationships, in the long term sense. I want someone who is at peace with herself in her own skin, isn’t attacked by insecurity or triggered by the little things.

I want someone that can handle their emotions, now I’m sure that your thinking “That’s not possible!” All I’m saying is that, I want to be with someone that even though their having a bad day. They can still vent about their day, and I can be there to listen and give my thoughts if needed and snuggle up after. Is that a lot to ask for?

Obviously, I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, but I’m not going to settle either. I’m going to keep working on myself and for once in my life I’m going to allow myself to be picky. You do the same, work on yourself. Improve yourself. This way the cycle can be broken and we can actually discover what healthy actually is.