Have a Little Compassion, Men

“I have years of experience riding the dragon.” – Bernadette, The Big Bang Theory.

Women are amazing. From an early age you ride a roller coaster of emotions every month as your menstrual cycle continually refreshes itself. I can’t imagine men already hardwired with testosterone coated brains, coping with these fluctuations in the same way.

During the first two weeks of a woman’s cycle, they tend to be more socially relaxed as estrogen fertilizes their brain cells. In this estrogen phase, the hippo-campus experiences a growth of connections of about 25%, which can actually make a woman’s brain a little sharper. Her mind will perform better, she’ll be clear and even remember more. But then around the 14th day, the ovaries begin spurting progesterone, which will actually reverse the work of the estrogen and begin destroying those new connections in the hippo-campus. In these last two weeks, the brain will become more sedated, less focused, slower, and even more irritable.

Think about this guys and try to have some compassion for our female counterparts. Remember this when you begin growing irritated because you think your girls is “acting crazy.” It’s not her fault (most of the time anyways¬†reasons to smile) It’s just nature in all her wisdom decided to wire her this way and she’s just doing her best with the cards she’s been dealt. Imagine if we had to deal with these shifts in emotion every month, for a majority of our lives. There probably would’ve been a nuclear war by now. If men had to deal with things like menstrual cycles and pregnancy, there would be a hundred drugs to damper the effects of mood swings and cheer us up. Maternity leave? Not a problem, take a year off with pay. Morning sickness? we’d declare war on it like we do with cancer. Natural childbirth would be quickly phased out, not to mention that birth control would be absolutely 100% effective.

Now that I have taken all of this into account, it’s changed my way of looking at things completely. Looking back at my previous relationships, I see how insensitive I was to these things. As men, many of us treat PMS as some derogatory thing and even those three letters have become synonymous with “unmanageable” women. I wasn’t compassionate because I always thought it was something that could be helped and if my girl was acting up, it was because she was trying to be difficult. “Being a girl.” I was completely ignorant in these matters.

It’s not just women who should be taught about these things, boys should be too and it would go a long way to help improve relationships they will one day be in. In this male dominated world, we fall short when it comes to educating our boys on the opposite sex. With smartphone and instant access to anything you can think of, they are finding things that are teaching them contrary to reality and what it means to be in a healthy relationship. If your frame of reference is porn hub, you’ve misused the boat on this one.

I think about this now, in my interactions with women and it has improved my relationships dramatically. I no longer grow impatient or agitated and make insensitive remarks, like it’s something they should just get over. So think about this guys, the next time you feel your girls is “acting crazy” because it may just be the progesterone dragon riding high.

My Story

Before Sentencing

The week before sentencing is usually a hard one for inmates in county jail. Restless nights spent tossing and turning on  sheet of metal welded to the wall; growing anxious and experiencing a spectrum of emotions from anger to sadness to fear. Yet as this inmate stood, watching the lawyers and clerks walk around the room preparing for court, he felt unexpectedly calm.

He stood there thinking of all the things he’d done and the destruction he’d brought down upon everyone around him. He understood this account would have to be paid in full he would live with the consequences without complaint and do what he could from where he’d be.

Just then a good guard walked into the small room and set some papers on a table in font of the inmate. “How goes it Mr. Martinez, are you ready?”

“You know me”, he replied.

“So how much time you looking at?” When the inmate told him, the guard whistled softly and said, “Damn man.”

The guard had come to respect this inmate’s calm demeanor because he knew he’d never have an issue with him. Yet, even after all these years in corrections, he was still surprised at what these men were capable of. Humans are very adept at masking things and most never see the emotional turmoil that roils just beneath the surface.

“How are you holding up?” The guard asked.

“Good, I’ll be alright.”

“So, what now?”

The inmate stared at the wall in front of him but his eyes were unfocused, what now? A question he had asked himself everyday for the last 6 months and one he would continue asking for the foreseeable future. Things were different this time, only he didn’t know how.

Life Lessons

Jack and Rose

In the very first stages of any relationship, we are inclined to go above and beyond ourselves; supplanting our normal disposition. We do this to put forth a better version of our-self, one that is more desirable and easier to fall in love with. It’s like a job interview; you don’t go dressed like a slob, professing your laziness, lack of punctuality and tendency to easily grow bored. No, you put forth an ideal image, an immaculate avatar which eventually gets harder and harder to maintain over time. And yet, people still get surprised when their significant other accuses them of being someone other than the person they first met.

Aren’t we though? Think about it. How long until those old habits, the one’s we did our best to camouflage begin to bubble up through the carefully crafted guise we’ve sewn? We are creatures of habit after all and habits don’t break easy; especially not after years of continuously reinforcing our neural network with said behavior that eventually had us hanging like puppets from “calcified” neural strings. Sometimes he unseen hand just moves you.

It’s always magical in the beginning. We make promises we declare our love and we don’t want to spend a moment apart. Many of us dream of loving another as passionately as Jack and Rose (Titanic) did and we grow disillusioned when we end up in a relationship more akin to Al and Peggy Bundy. Resentful and nostalgic for a time before. Life isn’t a movie though. You don’t think Rose would’ve eventually gotten tired of Jack’s jumping from venture to venture? Sitting around the house all day, leaving his cloths scattered all over the floor and using his “art” as an excuse to sketch naked women. “We have to pay the bills Jack! I’m sick of this, doing all the work while you just lay about. Get off your ass and get a job already!”

I’m not disenchanted or trying to be facetious in some way. This isn’t some cynical mans brash declaration, trying to convince others in the nonexistence of love because I very much believe in love. All I’m trying to say is that it seems like a lot of work to be someone you’re not and if a person can’t love you from the very beginning, why would you want to submit yourself to the eventual heartache.

Be yourself and love your partner for who they are too. Things won’t always be perfect and it may even get difficult but just remember the promise. The promise you both made in the beginning to always love one another no matter what. The words can be cruel and life will challenge us from time to time, so why then mistreat each other as well? It’s bad enough we’ll face adversity on the outside, so why suffer it in our relationship too? it should be us against the world, figuratively speaking.

Some struggle is a part of any relationship, just remember this… love starts with you. Every moment is a new beginning, another opportunity to forgive one another for whatever disagreement, so don’t dwell on the negative. Let go of any ill feelings you may have and love each other whole hardheartedly. Life is fleeting so don’t spend it in purgatory. Let your love be magnificent.

Life Lessons

Live your Truth

We need to stop defining ourselves by what other people think we should be.

Once you begin living your truth, you will feel as if you’ve come to life.

Let others define you how they will don’t let it affect how you carry yourself.

Let them limit themselves, confined to self-imposed boundaries while we live free.

Push yourself. You my be surprised with the heights you’ll reach.

Life Lessons

Persistence In the Face of Resistance

Perseverance- noun. Persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power, indefatigably, stead fastness, patience, endurance, application, diligence, dedication, commitment, doggedness, tirelessness, stamina.

All great things take time. Persistence in the face of all resistance, no matter what kind of roadblocks may fall in our way. These types of roads are never traversed easily and there will be times we’ll want t stop and rest but we must persist.

As we speak, I’m writing you this first thing in the morning (6:07 a.m.). Whether I slept 7 hours or only four, I’m up every morning working on some assignment. It’s not easy and I’ll tell you why. Prison drains you. It drains you of ambition and keeps you in a state of ind numbing routines. Not to mention, when you try and remove yourself from the self-proclaimed haute monde of prison society (read: When in Rome) in order to work, people grow resentful for some reason, as if your positive approach and desire to change is some sort of anathema. I am working towards changing these attitudes, wish me luck.

Yet you must persist. Even as the florescent lights dull your senses and the food saps your energy; you must persist. I have to work ten times harder than the net person because of all f my restrictions and there are days when what should be a mole hill turns into a mountain. But I persist, however small the step.

Drive can be an elusive thing for most people. The endurance to see our cause through to it’s completion. For to long popular culture has glorified the get-rich-quick narrative and so when people don’t see immediate results, they give up on their dreams. The great stories aren’t written quickly. It’s about about hard work and sacrifice, believing when no one else does; these stories are the ones that will stand the test of time.

In the movie Troy, Briseis asks Achilles why he came to Troy, what is it he wanted for it surely wasn’t about the princess Helen and he replied, “I want what all men want. I just want it more.”

You can get there, we all can, you just have to have the “willingness to go beyond where others will stop.” stay strong and push on.