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Originally posted on Facebook on June 5th 2012 and building on a January 17th, 2012 post, the later of which can be seen here:

June 5th – New 2012 resolution: forgiveness.

It’s a good time to review my 2012 resolutions and see how I’m doing:

Be a better father – with all humility, I’m doing really well with this.

Be a better friend – I could still be doing better on this. So many people I want to visit, so little time.

Be a better boss – this is challenging. It’s hard to keep a positive attitude when everything around us is very demoralizing. It’s very hard to be the only one in the group pushing a positive attitude.

Exercise more – Meh. At least I’m not exercising less.

Lose weight – see above, at least I’m not gaining.

Swear less – ha! Why did I even put this one on here?

Floss – one of these days.

Get up when I wake up – I wake up every day, so that’s half-way to the goal.

Eat better & cook more – doing this!

Travel out of the country – not yet, but I did book a house for a week on Block Island, which means this will be the first time in years that I don’t take the last two weeks of the year as vacation because I haven’t done anything all year. It counts in my book. Plus, I can still sneak in a road-trip to Canada. Montreal anyone?

Try something completely new, in this case I’ll be trying posing naked for a local artist – see “lose weight” above; first things first.

Read every book on this list and try to learn a few new things:

I haven’t read any of those books yet, but I’ve already read more books than I read last year. I have a personal goal of 52 books this year; you can see the details on I’d be further along, but my coursework for my masters chews up a bunch of my reading time.

In the comments section of my original post (January 17th) I mentioned that my divorce had triggered a reexamination of my life. I mentioned then that I was spending a lot of time “exploring how I think about things, how I think about thinking about things…and how I want to live and love and exist and parent as I move through my forties.”

In pondering that since then and I’ve decided to add another resolution to my list: forgive my ex. For those of you who don’t know, she had an affair while we were married. I totally understand how that can happen. I recognize my role in causing that to happen. I was never angry about the affair itself.

I was angry that instead of taking responsibility and initiating a divorce she chose a path where she defined me as the problem in our marriage and changes in my behavior as the only way to keep the marriage – a marriage she didn’t want to be in anymore – intact. As the months of 2009 ran together small requests for changes became suggestions to seek therapy, which became a demand to take anti-depression medication I never needed, grew into pulling away from my touch one afternoon in December, describing it as like that of a “fumbling 18-year-old” and refusing to apologize for my “interpreting that as insulting”, and culminated in my belief that I might be too damaged to maintain an adult relationship, all while she was sleeping with another man.

I didn’t find out about the affair until months after deciding to get divorced, convinced that she was no longer interested in trying to fix things, whatever her reasons might be, and finally clear on the fact that she didn’t respect me, would never compromise, and therefor didn’t really love me. I didn’t develop my anger about the betrayal her behavior represented until some months after that, it grew the most with the recognition that the person I loved and trusted was willing to let me believe that it was my shortcomings, and only my shortcomings, representing something vaguely flawed with me as a person, that led to our divorce, but I’ve carried that anger since then.

While I didn’t actively nurture my anger, my ex’s often disrespectful and belittling behavior when we interacted, based on her belief that the reasons behind our failed marriage were entirely my fault and that she bore no responsibility at all, a theory frequently defended to our mutual friends, kept my anger fresh. I began to react. I cut off her frequent phone calls asking for help with the wireless connection, with the sink, with whatever it was plaguing her that day, for whatever emotional support she was seeking.

I stopped smiling at the funny stories she told me. I stopped asking about her life. I closed my life off to her. I haven’t let her step foot in my house in nearly two and a half years. I wear sunglasses and my best poker face every time we cross paths. I don’t sign my emails with my name. At the boys’ activities I stand on the opposite side of the field or court. The meanest thing I’ve done has been to discard her name. I don’t remember the last time I actually said her name to her or even used it in an email.

I have done everything I can to make her feel like she doesn’t exist to me. I have made every interaction with her completely impersonal, as if it were a slow Thursday afternoon at the motor vehicle department and she was nothing more to me than number 17 and a handful of mundane forms. It does not appear that she has ever picked up on this. If she has, I suspect that she attributes my behavior to what she would describe as my immaturity.

And to a large degree, she would be right. Though the majority of my motivation has been defensive in its nature, at its core my actions are petty, mean, and in no small way, vengeful. That anger gave me the space to eventually realize that she does not respect me and so my interactions with her will never change. I cannot make her respect me, but I can change how I react to her, I can adjust my expectations so that I am no longer surprised when she does something self-centered, self-serving, and inconsiderate. That is a maturity I can obtain. Adjusting my expectations of her is something I can achieve.

That insight brings with it the realization that my anger no longer serves a purpose; that petty, mean, and vengeful behavior is not becoming of me, no matter the reasons. So I will forgive what has happened in the past, stop the behaviors I’ve described above, be respectful to my ex and, most importantly, let go of my anger. It served a purpose for a time, but it has also weighed me down, diverted energy away from the important things in my life, and pushed away a woman I fell in love with after my divorce.

My energy and focus are better used on learning new things, enjoying my sons and my friends, and knocking the rest of those resolutions off my list. It is better used to continue to explore how I think about things, how I think about thinking about things, and how I want to live and love and exist as a person with all of the people around me as I move forward with my life.

Iced Earth


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Original Facebook post from March 11, 2012 5:01am – typed out on my iPhone as I lay awake in bed after hosting a party.

There’s a theory that holds that inebriation and exhaustion lead to creative writing. Let’s put that to the test. I suspect, personally, that those two states just lead to a relaxing of one’s social editor, their combined effects on me at this moment are certainly not going to lead to any wordsmithing on my part that will put me on a level with Hemingway or Faulkner or Melville, but maybe it will lead to a more truthful account, or perhaps a more error-laden account, of what I was feeling and thinking while I was at this concert.

The last concert I was at was the Foo Fighters and I’ve been meaning to write about that for months now, I’ve even got a good draft started; if you consider good exactly that which doesn’t describe what I was feeling while providing a stale, wooden recollection of what transpired. I should get drunk and try rewriting that.

But that was the last concert, and Friday night was the latest concert. Symphony X, whom I’ve heard, I’ve got some of their stuff and it’s good. Warbringer I don’t know and they didn’t really impact me. But Iced Earth, they are different story. Scott had sent me a few links before the concert, notably, their tribute to Dark City.

My thoughts about it as I watched it for the first time – yup, that’s metal and that’s a lot of sparks. Patton would approve:

But then I found myself at the concert, watching the pit, and the absolute joy that people in the pit were slamming with; they’d slam into each other, bouncing off and around and into themselves and the periphery of the pit and then they would find each other and grasp hands, pulling each other in for big bear hugs and a shout or two into the other metal head’s ear, pulling away and smiling, connecting, and then back to slamming.

They were living and they knew it and they celebrated with those around them.

Iced Earth’s lead singer stopped for a moment just beyond the half way mark of their set and addressed the audience. He spoke passionately about everything that was going wrong in the world today, or as a metal head would put it “all the stuff that’s fucked up”, and he spoke about his belief in the indomitable thing that is the human spirit and that’s when I began to connect with that band.

They were trying to speak to and sing about the very thing I had been watching – the mosh pit. For those who’ve never seen one live, let alone been in one, it’s hard to describe. There’s a benevolent violence to it. There’s obviously a big chunk of testosterone fueled gender-based display going on, as male after male slam into each other in a mock riot.

But there’s also a release, there were several women in the pit Friday night was well, casting off everything society tries to define them as and giving themselves over to the music and the moment, twirling themselves into the middle of a two-dozen strong melee and seeing where the random impacts send them hurtling.

And that’s where you see the beauty of the mosh pit, when the random chaos sends someone crashing through a group of strangers and onto the floor those same strangers turn to their downed colleague as one and set him upright again, there’s no danger of being trampled, this group of musical anarchists obeys that rule without pause or exception.

Time and time again I watched as five, six, seven people bent down and grabbed a hand, a belt, a shoulder, or a chunk of shirt and lent their strength to the whole to put their brother or sister back on their feet before the band’s guitarist could finish the CRUNCH-CRUNCH-CRUNCH of that current power chord.

I watched the pit and thought about the indomitable human spirit and about how, when the worst is upon us, we, as a species, have shown, again and again and again, the willingness to put aside our own immediate concerns and extend a hand to those who, through the random and chaotic events that surround them, have found themselves flat on their backs, ears ringing, heads spinning, ribs aching, fearful of what the future holds, trying to find their equilibrium, and suddenly in desperate need, cannot right themselves in time to escape harm.

In putting them upright, in helping the people around us that are the most vulnerable, we define the value we place in each individual life and affirm our own value. We find a joy in pulling that person out of harm’s way, if only for that moment it takes to pull them from the ground to their feet and send them back into the spinning violence of the pit, if only for that brief connection as palms meet, thumbs intertwine, and fingers grip, confirming that the help offered has been accepted and appreciated, before the metal-fueled tempo of our evening pushes us apart and the next stranger flies into our midst, desperate for purchase, as our hands reach out, indomitable, to provide it.

End of original post.

Thoughts looking back today: there are connections everywhere if we pay careful enough attention. The song the band played after the singer spoke was Anthem, which I ended up buying on the drive home. I didn’t realize it then, but the third verse would be reflective of the changes I would make in my life six months later. It’s interesting that there were already little hints about what I needed to be focused on cropping up in those things I found interesting or compelling. Is that the human brain’s insistence on finding coincidence in everything or the gentle nudge of the universe trying to push us onto the right path?

Iced Earth – Anthem

In your eyes I see you’re desperate and in hunger
Reclaim your future, your past uncertain
See this child he’s raised in hate and in anger
His eyes wide open, his rage so focused

Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life
Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life

The single mother she is strained and she suffers
She slaves away her life in turmoil
The homeless man had it all and now has nothing
His spirit broken, plagued from injustice

Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life
Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life

We have the power make our lives what they are to be
Reconnect with our humanity
Transcend to a higher place, accepting reality
You are the key to the life you seek

Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life
Torn asunder, our destiny is in sight
This is the anthem to celebrate your life



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Originally posted on Facebook on January 17th, 2012. A friend of mine then questioned why I would be so interested in the self-help books. My response followed.

I have my resolutions in place for 2012.

Be a better father
Be a better friend
Be a better boss
Exercise more
Lose weight
Swear less
Get up when I wake up – I hear this is good for you.
Eat better & cook more
Travel out of the country
Try something completely new, in this case I’ll be trying posing naked for a local artist
Read every book on this list and try to learn a few new things:

No, I’m not so messed up that I need to read each of those self-help books. As I mentioned in a comment a few days ago (said comment: Yes, I am much more spontaneous since my divorce. Such a large change invited the opportunity to examine everything in my life and I’m trying to capitalize on that.), my divorce provided a catalyst to examine everything in my life.

More accurately, dealing with my father’s dementia, decline, and death started the derailment of my train off the neatly laid tracks that it had glided along all its life and the divorce was the thing that finished the job.

Looking back now, I can see that my initial response was to deny anything was going wrong, to do everything I could to keep the train on the track, especially when it came to my marriage. Once the divorce became inevitable, I then spent a lot of time looking to replace what I had lost.

I thought I could easily switch to a new set of tracks and continue on my mostly unmolested way. I assumed that everything in my life would continue to run smoothly. After a few years I realized that trying to replicate something that didn’t end up working, that failed for reasons I didn’t entirely understand, and that maybe wasn’t what I actually wanted might not be the best idea.

Even more humbling – I might not be able to do it. There might be no getting the engine out of the ditch. With that insight came the idea that maybe walking is better, or driving, or sailing, or whatever preferred travel metaphor the reader would like to substitute here.

And so I find myself exploring how I think about things, how I think about thinking about things, about how important the illusion of having control over the things around me is to the way I move through my life, and how I want to live and love and exist and parent as I move through my forties.

I don’t view those books as self-help as much as I view them as offering a toolkit for how to view the world differently. I’m not trying to lift the engine back onto the tracks now. I’m sitting down on the furrow it has gouged in the earth and I’m observing. I’m looking back at where I came from at the breakneck pace that derailed me in the first place. I’m looking ahead at where I want to go. I’m looking at the tracks and wondering if I want my path through life so precisely defined and regulated.

I’m looking at where I am and working to enjoy and accept that for what it is. Some of the concepts on that list are new ideas for me and I sense there is something to them that will allow me to move through the world in a different way, different being what I sense I need right now.

So, messed up? No. In *need* of those books? No. But I’m definitely re-examining everything and I feel like those books will offer perspectives I hadn’t considered. We’ll see how far I actually make it through that list.


Insights 2+ years later. I did okay with those resolutions, though I ended up reading only one book on the list – Simplify Your Life. It had a lot of good ideas that I’m still following up on. That year I also read Stephen Batchelor’s Living with the Devil, which dramatically changed the way I look at and move through the world.



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Originally posted on January 6th, 2012

Last Saturday I was in a small pharmacy in Nashua picking up the chemotherapy drugs for Patton. As I told the woman working behind the counter the “patient’s” name she asked me if he was named after the general. I replied that he was and she told me a story. She and her sisters had taken their great Aunt over to France last year to visit the WWII cemetery in Normandy. Her aunt had lost a brother in the war and had always wanted to visit his grave and the family had only just managed to find the time to do that recently.

While they were at the cemetery her great aunt was invited to lay a wreath at the marker of one of the unknown soldiers buried there. The person she would be laying the wreath with was Helen Patton, grand-daughter of General George S. Patton, Jr. We continued speaking while she rang up my purchase. When I left I found myself once again pondering how interconnected everything is, how choosing a name for my cat back in the 90s could somehow lead to a story about the grand-daughter of his namesake in a small pharmacy that I was visiting only because they provided veterinary drugs.

Patton’s blood work this morning revealed that his immune system has killed off most of his red blood cells since his transfusion last Tuesday. As a result, he is now dependent on blood transfusions just to maintain enough red blood cells to keep him alive.

At $1,000 a transfusion and with weekly transfusions needed for at least the next 4 weeks and possibly the next 8 weeks and with no certainty that he would ever respond to the medications he is on and could likely relapse after that, all the while feeling terrible – he spends all of his time hiding in his cat carrier now, refusing to even enjoy a last bask in the sun – I am making the difficult decision to end his suffering rather than prolong it with only a marginal chance at a return to health for him.

I’ll take that $1,000 I would have spent on his next transfusion and donate it to the Pat Brody shelter instead, helping dozens of cats instead of just one. And I’ll remind myself that the pain we feel at the loss of a loved pet is the price we pay to ensure that they had a chance to live a good life. It’s more than a fair exchange and one I’m certain I’ll pay several more times between now and when it’s my time to go.

About a month later I wrote this:

“Most nights in January I came home and looked for Patton. Some nights I wouldn’t look, because I remembered that he was dead.

Wednesday night was the first time I forgot to look for Patton AND the first time I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I didn’t have to look for him.

I can’t tell which sucks more; missing him every day or getting over missing him every day.”

I’d realized at that point that Patton was one of the reliable people I’d depended on at the start of my divorce. I was never alone in my new apartment because he’d come along with me. It didn’t seem like he cared much about the new smaller location as long as he still had his defined space next to me on the couch every night.



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Originally posted January 6th 2012

Relevant to what Ranger M posted today:

Consider the speedometers in my two VWs. In my Passat, a good highway cruising speed put the needle just shy of the 12 o’clock position on the dial, less than halfway around. I noticed in my Jetta that 72mph now falls significantly further along the dial’s face, closer to 2 o’clock position. I wonder if it is a deliberate design. They added in every 10 mph increment up to 80 and then reverted back to every 20 after that, so it’s not even a consistent design – something that traditionally, stereotypically, would have driven a German engineer a little batty – and so it smacks of marketing’s dark influence.

Have studies shown that drivers are happier when they feel they are getting more out of their car? Does having the needle sweep past the halfway mark on the speedo impact drivers subconsciously in some way? It took me a solid week to figure out why I felt I was driving faster on the highway, I didn’t notice until I drove the Passat recently. It’s such a subtle change. I’d be tempted to write it off as nothing more than a new speedo design if it weren’t for everything we know about how products are designed and marketed these days.

And that makes me wonder about the sustainability of our current car culture. When I bought my Passat in 2000 it was classified as a mid-sized car. It has a 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo charged engine that was officially rated at 150hp, though there were a lot of rumors that VW had quietly upped the horsepower to closer to180, slightly stepping on the toes of their stable mate’s Audi A4. In typical German fashion, VW’s engineers described the horsepower as “adequate”.

I can assure you the car has more than enough horsepower to rapidly put me over the speed limit even on the highway and still returned 32 mpg over its lifetime. It put those figures up as I averaged 72mph on the highway winter or summer. I suspect it would have been much closer to 40mpg had I been able to average 55mph without creating a risk to myself and others.

The 2012 Jetta Sportswagon I just purchased is considered a small car. I compared its measurements against the Passat when I was shopping, not being sure if I was comfortable with a small car. It turns out that they are nearly identical in size, with the Passat having a 5 in longer wheelbase and total overall length. In nearly all other interior and exterior measurements the Jetta is larger. So my 2012 “small” car is equivalent to its midsize cousin from 2000.

This suggests that the 2012 Passat must be larger and a quick review of the specs shows that it is. The wheelbase grew 4 inches and total length grew 6.5 inches from 2000. Most other interior or exterior dimensions either remained the same or grew. Horsepower is up, of course, being a key marketing factor even as many people now search for higher miles per gallon.

Today’s Passat has a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine rated at 170hp and is predicted to get exactly the same MPG as my 2000 Passat. What if they had just kept the same base engine and found ways to make it more efficient? Couldn’t that extra 20hp (again, assuming it’s underreported to spare Audi from cannibalized sales) have been sacrificed for better MPG? Our current model of building and selling cars is unsustainable. The models grow in all respects year to year, eating away at what could be significant leaps forward in MPG improvements, in order to sell the consumer on the new, improved, and bigger aspects.

Most of the family sedans today are packing more horsepower than the legitimate sports cars of my youth. Yet, there are no roadways where that horsepower can be safely applied. For example, my colleague’s G37 Infiniti sedan has 328hp. That car would probably be overpowered for most drivers at around 228hp, so those 100 extra horse just eat up extra gas. It’s good to see some companies pushing 40+MPG as their chief marketing aim, but we could have been there a decade ago.

As an aside, a special thanks to Jon for pointing out to me years and years ago that I was riding the clutch in my car. That 162,000 miles you see on the odometer are all on the original clutch.


The U.S. wins the right to abduct innocent people with impunity


The U.S. wins the right to abduct innocent people with impunity

Originally posted on June 15th 2010

We used to stand against countries that did this sort of thing. Our Democratic and Republican leaders are morally bankrupt.

To which a friend responded: Are you sure about that? Or were they always morally bankrupt and now they are morally bankrupt and stupid so they don’t know how to cover these things up anymore.

My response to that question: That’s a good point. I guess when the Soviet Union was around, there was a great deal of political capital to be made by opposing all they and totalitarianism stood for, though I suspect more sincerely as the USSR was a legitimate threat. So it’s possible they were morally bankrupt then but with good and evil so explicitly defined there was no way to dance around the edges.

I still tend towards morally bankrupt, because not only are they not trying to cover this up, but are in fact putting forth the case that they had legitimate reasons for abducting a completely innocent man and shipping him off for 10 months of torture. The whole point of the US outlawing torture was to prevent exactly this sort of thing when the inevitable screw up happened and an innocent person was detained. Now we’ve abandoned that for what every study proves is worthless information.

So we support an evil system that we know produces no legitimate information, prop up the governments of those countries like Syria that ensure the crimes are not committed on US soil, reap the results of the oppression those countries use to keep their own citizens in line, and ultimately try to pass it all off as necessary for protecting the liberty of the citizens of the United States. So yes, at the point at which my liberty is purchased through the unwarranted abduction and torture of an innocent man, who’s greatest crime was not being lucky enough in the geographic local of his birth, I say the price of that “liberty” – if it can exist at all under the thumb of a government willing to commit and defend these crimes – has reached a point where it has morally bankrupted us and for which we have no tangible asset to display in return for having sold out.

Everyman by Philip Roth


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Originally posted on April 9th, 2010

Just finished reading Everyman by Philip Roth. Good story, great writing. This quote, even though the gender roles are reversed in my case, rang fantastically true:

“You can weather anything,” Phoebe was telling him, “even if the trust is violated, if it’s owned up to. Then you become life partners in a different way, but it’s still possible to remain partners. But lying–lying is cheap, contemptible control over the other person. It’s watching the other person acting on incomplete information–in other words, humiliating herself. Lying is so commonplace and yet, if you’re on the receiving end, it’s such an astonishing thing. The people you liars are betraying put up with a growing list of insults until you really can’t help but think less of them, can you? I’m sure that liars as skillful and persistent and devious as you reach the point where it’s the one you’re lying to, and not you, who seems like the one with the serious limitations. You probably don’t even think you’re lying–you think of it as an act of kindness to spare the feelings of your poor sexless mate. You probably think your lying is in the nature of a virtue, an act of generosity toward the dumb cluck who loves you. Or maybe it’s just what it is–a fucking lie, one fucking lie after another.”

Today’s reflection
My views on this since that time have changed. I don’t see the lying I was subjected to when it came to the affair as the direct assault that I did at the time and for years after. That change in viewpoint came about as a result of this insight: “The only enemy to have ever existed is an internal one.” I can understand why my ex lied now and it really was more about protecting herself than harming me. That small shift in perspective makes it so much easier to let go of anger and resentment. From her point of view, she stalled on asking for a divorce for several reasons – she didn’t want to break up the family, she didn’t want to hurt me, and she was worried that I would react angrily.

At that point in my life, she was right to be worried. I can see now how my own ego caused my anger to be directed outwards to deflect attention from my personal shortcomings. I certainly wasn’t at fault for the things that I was disappointed about or frustrated with, or so my ego led me to believe.

As the credits run at the end of the movie Revolver, several psychologists and psychiatrists speak about the ego. Looking at the quote above now, after having come to a greater understanding of how my own brain works, I can see now who was telling the biggest lies in my life and how a radical shift in my perception, combined with just a bit more knowledge, has changed the way I look at myself and the world around me. Lying will still be a violation of trust, but it won’t ever again have the kind of control over me that Roth describes above.

“The ego is the worst confidence trickster we could ever figure, we could ever imagine. Because you don’t see it…”
Dr. Yoav Dattilo, Ph.D.

“And the single biggest con is that, ‘I am you.’”
Dr. Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.

“The problem, is that the ego hides in the last place you’d ever look, within itself.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“It disguises it’s thoughts as your thoughts, it’s feelings with your feelings, you think it’s you.”
Leonard Jacobson

“People’s need to protect their own ego knows no bounds, they will lie, cheat, steal, kill, do whatever it takes to maintain what we call, ego boundaries.”
Andrew Samuels, Ph.D.

“People have no clue that they’re in prison, they don’t know that there is an ego, they don’t know the distinction.”
Leonard Jacobson

“At first it’s difficult for the mind to accept that there’s something beyond itself, that there’s something of greater value and of greater capacity for discerning truth than itself.”
Dr. David Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.

“In religion the ego manifests as the devil, and of course no one realizes how smart the ego is because it created the devil so you could blame someone else.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.

“In creating this imaginary external enemy we usually made a real enemy for ourselves and that becomes a real danger to the ego but it’s also the ego’s creation.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“There is no such thing as an external enemy, no matter what that voice in your head is telling you. All perception of an enemy is a projection of the ego as the enemy.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D.

“In that sense, you can say that 100% of our external enemies are of our own creation.”
Dr. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

“Your greatest enemy is your own inner perception, your own ignorance, is your own ego.”
Dr. Obadiah S. Harris, Ph.D.


My Husband Doesn’t Need To See Your Boobs


My Husband Doesn’t Need To See Your Boobs

We are animated bits of carbon on a ball of rock and mud whipping around a contained explosion that keeps us warm.

And yet many of us think that marriage is supposed to be forever and that people don’t change, as if those were somehow bedrock certainties in the universe.

Those are the myths that lead to articles like this. People change, even married people, and years or decades later can discover that they need to take a different path than the one they started out on.

If you love and respect them, you will let them walk that new path, encourage them even, recognizing that it could have just as easily been you that felt the need to break away. There’s something twisted about a person that would keep another bound to something that was essentially dead. It’s deep, deep insecurity and fear that drives one partner to demand that the other partner remain even with the knowledge that they no longer want to be involved.

This woman reeks of that kind of insecurity. It’s all of her average friends on Facebook and Instagram that are the root cause of her husband judging her looks – not the multi-billion dollar advertising that surrounds him with images of impossible to obtain glamor, beauty, luxury, and sex.

Screw her for the chauvinist that she is for these lines: “Because our men are much less emotional and are much more visual. And as quickly as I can forget your picture, it is filed away in his mind, ready to be pulled back out whenever he so chooses.” Yes, yes, all of the problems with marriages, unfaithfulness, and divorce are because men are such simple, base creatures. Keep pushing the myth that women never cheat and that men only cheat because they are men.

The other repeating theme the writer harps on is ownership. He is hers and she is his. They own each other. That’s disturbing to me. One person can’t own another, even if there are vows exchanged. At best, through honest and open communication we can have an understanding of the other person and what they need and want to continue to stay involved with us.

A good, functioning relationship takes ongoing, persistent effort. The minute assumption creeps in and one party starts taking the situation for granted the off ramps on the highway suddenly start looking more appealing, promising new and exciting experiences. If instead, one practices letting go on a daily basis, acknowledging and accepting that things must and will change, then perhaps more effort and care is put into understanding, cherishing, and supporting the person you are involved with and appreciating what exists in the moment.

The writer strikes me as someone who has in her mind the ideal, successful marriage. A certain number of kids, the eventual grandkids, the large family celebration on their 50th wedding anniversary. Extremely judgmental of me, especially based on just one article, but it sure does seem like she has a larger goal in mind and anything that might threaten that must be fended off.

But fended off by others; her friends and her husband.

FTA: “After Memorial Day, I noticed so much skin on social media that I half-yelled a warning to him as I ran out the door one morning. It’s summertime, honey! Beware the beach pics and half nude girls on Instagram! And like that, he was in solitary confinement from all virtual community for the next two days.

Protecting his eyes, protecting his heart.

I know you don’t mean anything by it. But I need to share one more thing with you.

When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you.

As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am.

And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again…me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.”

What if she is lazy? What if she isn’t taking good care of her body? What if he just wishes she looked more like what she used to look like? Does that make him terrible? As she runs out the door each morning to tend to her hectic life, does she ponder if her ambition is causing more damage to her marriage than social media? Why did she marry a man so shallow that he only cares about her physical appearance and thus all of her toned and bikini-clad friends are threats to her marriage?

That insecurity monster didn’t come back, it never left, because inherently she knows she doesn’t actually own her husband, he is there because he chooses to be there. Maybe because of his vows, maybe because when he knows wearing a pink Oxford with a brown blazer is admitting he doesn’t really have a lot of other options in the dating pool.

But likely, it’s because he really loves her and because being with her makes his life better.

And on some days, watching Kate Upton in zero gravity also makes his life better, while not in any way undermining his marriage, turning him into a sex-crazed, objectifying animal, or damaging his heart.

Well, that’s a lot of words! I clearly had a reaction to that article.