Why Men Are Scared Of Children

This is a guest post by Sarah Fader, who called me out to write a post for The Goodmen Project. So, I called her out here.

Once upon a time, I was on Twitter lamenting about not finding love. I was saying how I attract emotionally unavailable men. Out of nowhere, this dude that I have never interacted with comes along and replies:

“Children scare men.”

It took me a moment to figure out what the hell he was talking about. I presumed he meant that the concept of having children was not desirable to men. But then my brain started playing around with the idea and I imagined my two kids dressed up in monster costumes standing in a dark hallway deliberately trying to cock block me.

That was pretty funny.

Though I was relatively certain what he meant by the scared children comment, I wanted to confirm that he was making a mass generalization before I retaliated. I asked him what he meant and he said that when a man finds out that a woman has children, he becomes afraid. I prodded him and wanted to know what he meant by “afraid.” He went on to say that men do not want to raise another man’s children.

This was seriously one of the weirdest interactions I’d ever had on Twitter.

I felt like he was making a lot of assumptions. Every man is scared of children? Children are not scary. They are fun and weird and sometimes they lose their teeth and get money for it. They love chocolate and ice cream and they say weird, funny stuff. Why would men be scared of children?

But then I realized that he was kind of right.

One time I joined a dating website for 24 hours. I was chatting with a nice guy. We spoke about our random jobs that we had in our three decade adult lives, our pets, hobbies, and favorite movies. Then he found out that I had kids. He stopped replying to my texts and disappeared. I started to believe that weird Twitter guy was on to something.

I still don’t know why men are terrified of children, but I do know that it’s lame.

Single moms want to have romance and some semblance of a sex life too. Why should the fact that I have children make me any less attractive?

I think that is discrimination and it’s just plain ridiculous. I love my children and they also drive me crazy. But, they are a big part of my life. They come with this package that is Sarah Fader. So, if you love me, you love them.

You also love chocolate pudding pie. I’ve decided that you do.

Men, please stop judging women if they have children. Don’t write off a woman as undateable just because she has two little shorties she lives with. Those children are her universe and there is also room in it for you.

If she likes you.

Sarah Fader recently released a collection of her essays from around the Internet and you already love her because you read this article and you want to buy her book.

Learn more about Sarah and connect with her at sarahfader.com

Why The New Star Wars Movie Means So Much

School basically sucked.

Maybe it was the almost cinematic brutality of Catholic school, the perceived oppressive and sinister nature of the Catholic religion, or a pretty intense undiagnosed anxiety disorder, mixed with the awkwardness of growing up which I had absolutely no skills to handle.

There was a nun who dug sharp pointed fingernails into my scalp if I got math problems wrong. She could throw an elbow at a kid’s head nasty enough to impress a Thai boxer as she walked through the rows of fourth graders. This was discipline. This was managing a class with fear. There was the shouting and the shaming. And I remember sitting behind my best friend as he pissed his pants because you could only use the bathroom during lavatory time.

Add all that to the mean-spiritedness that children foist upon each other as they’re first developing their identities and learning how to navigate the world socially, and you get trauma.

In any case, the one thing I had to get me through this time in my life was Star Wars.

Yes, it’s true, even if that seems silly or trite.

Star Wars gave me a way to evade my life. As a student of Buddhism today, I realize that retreat from reality is rarely a healthy goal. Still, the benefits of escaping the madness at that time cannot be understated.

VHS players were starting to show up in most American homes, which meant you could tape your favorite movies on cable channels like Home Box Office.

Of course I taped Star Wars.

And escape I did, at every possible moment. In math class, I’d daydream and create galactic adventures in my head. I learned I could totally disconnect from my environment and travel to that Galaxy far, far away whenever I wanted.

That’s not always a great skill to have. I never did learn much math. But I was learning some important things via George Lucas’ space epic. Things one would think I should have been learning in a private school, a place where I was instead learning how not to anger my handlers.

Star Wars taught me about honor. It taught me about discipline, and introduced me to the idea of the peaceful warrior. I learned about kindness, empathy and not taking advantage of someone just because I might be stronger or more powerful than them. I learned that fear leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side.

I learned about justice, right and wrong, good versus evil, and how it’s important to seek out those wiser than myself to help me navigate the world. I learned about redemption and how a villain still may have a spark of goodness in them. I learned that sometimes you have to take chances and put everything on the line. And how, if everyone works together toward a common goal, anything is possible.

I learned that the battles we wage are sometimes within ourselves, that you should never leave a true friend behind, and that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

There are those that point out that the themes and archetypes in the Star Wars films were not new or particularly visionary. But that doesn’t really matter. The original trilogy was a brilliant delivery system. It brought these ideas to me and so many others.

This is one of the reasons that I think the new movie, to be released on December 18th, 2015, is so important. And in my opinion, at this time in our culture, this time of extreme corporate greed, corrupt politicians, and a shocking disregard for the welfare of our fellow human beings, this may be the only place that some young ones learn about honor, compassion, and justice.

And I hope that J.J. Abrams’ film can live up to that. I know it’s a lot to ask.

But in any case, it’s really fun right now to join in the hype of the new picture, to clamor over trailers, and watch the interviews with the cast. It sort of feels like coming home.

Welcome back to the big screen, Star Wars.

I’ve missed you.

Dealing With People Who Let Me Down

Today, I wish I had more middle fingers.

And a cake made of Xanax and optimism.

Because lately I seem to be managing one crisis after another. And also being let down by people that I really thought I could depend on.

And people do let us down, don’t they? They change the rules, change their minds, or change the nature of relationships with zero regard for anyone else’s wellbeing.

They break promises, and deals, and sometimes expect us to just be okay with it.

Really?!

It’s a fifty gallon bucket full of suck, shock, and heartache.

And I think it feels worse when the person who lets me down is a friend and a business partner. Because not only do their actions and decisions impact me emotionally, but financially as well.

And that’s the tricky part. Am I not supposed to go into business with friends? Am I not supposed to become friends with someone I’m working with? Is that the thing?

I don’t know.

Sometimes I find it helpful to think an offending person acted out of ignorance rather than malice.

Then at least I don’t hate them.

Because let’s face it, there’s plenty of sleepwalking, selfish, maladjusted people in this world. There’s plenty of people living a life of suffering, making decisions and interacting from a place of extreme pain. And to think of them as walking around in the trance of their own importance helps me keep my own behavior in check and not make matters worse.

Because it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to fantasize about them being kidnapped by a dragon and flown off to a far away land so I don’t have to deal with them.

That’s fine. It’s just not okay to pay the dragon to kidnap them.

It’s okay to want to grab them and shake them and say, “What the hell is the matter with you?!?! When did you become such a villain!?!?

It’s just not okay to do it.

Because I can’t control what happens to me, not really. I can’t control how people treat me. And some people will treat me just plain awful.

The one place where I have some control is in how I respond to them.

Maybe I wait 24 hours before answering an email, just to give things some space. Maybe I don’t pick the phone until I’m good and ready and feeling centered. Maybe I practice kindness toward them, as I would a sick dog that bites me out of fear.

Maybe I have to just suffer through our last necessary or contractually obligated interactions with grace, knowing that at least I’ll get to move on soon. And then this person will no longer have such an impact on my life.

Sometimes, that’s all I get.

Why I Practice Kindness

Trying to change someone’s mind might just makes things worse.

So I’m really trying to practice pausing during difficult interactions. This way, I can respond instead of react. And more than that, I get to decide HOW I want to respond.

In the moments where I remember this practice, I have greater choice in what I say or do. I also get the opportunity to say or do nothing at all if that’s what I feel is appropriate.

It’s not always easy, especially when I believe that I’m right and the other person is so very, clearly wrong.

It’s 1 million times more difficult when it feels like a person is intentionally disregarding my feelings to pursue their own agenda.

In those situations, it can be helpful to assume ignorance instead of maliciousness. This helps create the space that I’m taking about, the space to respond without losing my temper and acting like a jerk face.

Because some people really are just ignorant, misguided, inexperienced, or uninformed.

And I know what you’re thinking. Some people are malicious, and mean, and interested only in their own gains. But pausing and practicing kindness gives me the opportunity to evaluate the situation and eventually distance myself from a person if that’s what makes sense.

And of course, there have been times when I’ve paused, that I find out that I was wrong and the other person was right.

Imagine that!

Yeah.

Sometimes the best I can do is practice kindness and ride this shit out.

Why It’s Okay To Do Nothing

I woke up today and started planning the most amazing vacation ever.

And then I remembered that I don’t like to do stuff.

I really don’t.

And I think plenty of people plan vacations every year out of habit or routine. We spend money that puts us further into debt and the vacations aren’t that fun anyway. Of course we create some great photos for Facebook or Instagram, but it’s all for show. We vacation because we think we should, or because we always have, or because our parents, or neighbors, or friends do it.

“We are going to have fun! Damn it!”

That’s the sort of vacation thinking that permeates a lot of these trips.

But many of us don’t don’t have fun, not really. We drag along our own anxieties and neurosis that we deal with at home. And we drag along the kids, or significant others, or some other people to bicker with when the inevitable stresses of traffic, airline delays, and sleep deprivation break us.

We also bring along impossibly high expectations that no experience or location could ever live up to.

I don’t know how this got started. Maybe it began in the 1950’s as part of the American Dream, when people had two weeks paid vacation every year and would go to the seashore, or the Grand Canyon, or something.

And I don’t want to poop on everyone’s vacation. If it brings actual joy, then it’s worth it no matter the cost. If it doesn’t, if it’s just habit, then why do it?

And for those of us that love time to just sit, that’s okay too. It really is.

I’ll just be hanging out with this guy.

Having fun. Damn it.

Do You Recognize Your Talents?

Here’s my personal inventory…

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Steal This Wisdom

Life is bigger than me.

It’s true.

And life doesn’t give a damn if I’m happy. It doesn’t give a damn if I’m sad.

It doesn’t care if there’s riots in the streets of my hometown. It doesn’t care if I’m binging Madmen on Netflix.

Life doesn’t care if I’m a success or a failure.

It doesn’t care if I feel alone.

Life just is. And I don’t think it’s here for any reason except to be here.

There’s going to be earthquakes, and blizzards, and California will probably run out of water. There’s going to be beautiful summer days, and hurricanes, and crisp December nights with the twinkling of Christmas lights. (Do be sure to take those lights down by the end of January. Okay? Thanks!)

There’s going to be FREAKING TRAFFIC!

But there’s also going to be straight, open roads where I feel the freedom to roll down the windows, let the breeze and the sunshine touch me, and completely disregard the speed limit. Yeah!

Loved ones will leave. And babies will be born. And I’ll probably continue to be completely blown away by the fact that my brother is now someone’s dad. I’m positive he’ll be great at it. And I’m sure he’ll really dig it.

And I’ll hold close to my heart the time, so very long ago, when he fell asleep on my floor after an evening of carousing and my iguana slept on his face.

That was funny.

And we all get a chance to be young, but most of us waste it. We get old so quickly. I’m telling you, younglings, we do.

If I’d have known that, really known that, I’d have enjoyed my hair more when it was thick and kick ass. I’d have experimented with different hairstyles.

And dyed it blue.

I’d have dated a certain acquaintance’s ex girlfriend. Because twenty years later, none of that means anything anymore.

Maybe, life is about learning.

So I leave you today, dear readers, with some gems of caffeine-induced wisdom.

1.) Praying or well-wishing is a nice gesture. So is buying a homeless guy gloves and preventing frostbite.

2.) The Buddha said, “Existence is unsatisfactoriness.” But he failed to mention that it’s made better by living with a dog.

3.) We all have our own truths and there’s never any good reason to compromise on them. Any time I have, I’ve suffered.

4.) Right and wrong are mostly subjective. But compassion, that’s a real thing.

Until next time, keep your head in the stars and keep reaching for your feet.

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