The Beautiful Things He Said

It has been a week since Phillip’s father died. And I’m happy to say that Phillip has been dealing with it much better than I had expected. Throughout his grieving, he has said some of the most beautiful things.

To begin with, he and I have both had friends die, grandparents die….but, this is the first time one of us has lost a parent. The suddenness of that death was jarring. No one woke up last Tuesday even thinking, suspecting, even slightly considering, that Allen would wake to go to work….but never make it.

Throw in Thanksgiving two days later and the whole scenario just seems the utmost in tragic. But, Phillip has handled the whole thing with more strength than I thought he was capable. Now, you may think that something of a slight against Phillip’s character, but I’ve lived with the man for seven years and he has never handled a crisis well.

This time was different. This crisis was absolute. There is no amount of bargaining, nor demanding, nor even emotion that can undo this moment. Phillip cried his eyes out, I right there beside him crying for him. But, through all of those tears he said some of the most beautiful things.

“If I truly believe in the things that come out of my own mouth, then I shouldn’t be crying….I should be rejoicing in his going home, all of his pain and suffering done with forever.” I held his left hand, as his right hand continually wiped away tears. “I hope he knows that I’m sorry for anything I did that might have disappointed him….but, I know he is in a place of total love and he doesn’t think about anything else but love for me.” And the sobbing would begin to subside….

In some ways, his grief was wrestling with the idea that his father was gone….but, somehow closer now. I saw an emotional maturity in his tugging feelings.

262812634_580040969758150_646555288625155842_nIn the last few days I’ve seen a difference in him that can only come from harsh reality. I’ve heard him discuss all the wonderful things he wants to do with his life. I’ve seen how solid he is when simple things that used to propel him into hysterics barely cause him to bat a lash. The boy in him has finally grown into a man.

He’s going to be heading down south to his father’s funeral in a few days. Transportation will be arranged through this amazing network of cousins that will piggy back him down to South Florida. He’s going to be missing three days of work, so I have the donate button up if you’d like to help him out. He wouldn’t ask, not for a million years. But, I know that’s going to be tough on him to miss that much work.

I care for him deeply, you all know this. I care for the man so much that even though divorced, our involvements in each other’s lives hasn’t changed. And of all the beautiful things he said, the one that hit me closest to the heart was, “Thanking for being here for me….I don’t know what I would have done.”

I clutched that big man close to my frail chest and said, “I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t have been.”

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Prayers for Phillip

In my last blog post I wrote about how I would be having Thanksgiving alone, while Phillip would be going down to visit with his family for a few days….

Unfortunately, Phillip’s father passed away this morning, so his trip to see his family this holiday won’t be for the reasons anyone had expected.

I am here with him, helping in anyway I can. I felt so much sadness for my friend as he clutched my hand, then pulled me towards him just so he could hold someone as he wept.

If you could, please say a prayer for Phillip. Thanksgiving will probably be forgotten this year. There are far too many other things to think about….

Maybe Knit, Maybe Not

It’s about 6am, the start of a holiday week. People will be out rushing to get the last ingredients needed for a festive dinner, cars will get packed with luggage as people dart across the country to visit relatives and loved ones. Annual traditions will be relived once again.

Something about traditions around the holidays keep us grounded, that despite how disruptive our lives may be at the moment, we have traditions to return to, reminding many of us that normalcy will return.

For the first time in six years I’ll be spending this Thanksgiving alone. That’s not a terrible thing…not really. I did it for years. Even though Phillip and I still live together, he has other plans, as he heads to South Florida to be with his family. Our yearly tradition for Thanksgiving was to have a big meatloaf dinner with mashed potatoes and peas, sweet potato pie with cool whip, while we plop with TV trays in front of a laptop to watch disaster films. It will be sad to see that tradition end.

259178821_1016067635607027_4756233325518100999_nI certainly don’t plan to spend Thanksgiving that way. To begin with, that sort of dinner just isn’t in my budget. Secondly, it wouldn’t be as much fun watching things blow up without my best pal to laugh with. He’ll also be gone for a few days. That never happened when we were married. But, in terms of our emotional separation, it will feel like we’re both moving on, for it will be the first time in six years that he wasn’t at home for even a single day…

I don’t have a problem being alone, God knows an agoraphobic relishes that. But, this is the first holiday since our divorce, and everything feels different. Yes, Phillip may be here at the end of the day to watch Jeopardy with, but he won’t be with me for the holidays. He has his family and his new friends to create traditions with. And I am so very happy for him.

I think I might go to Stasio’s Wednesday and grab a slice of lasagna for my Thanksgiving dinner, maybe knit, maybe not…I don’t know yet. It may just be like any other day: a box of White Castle’s from 7-11. Maybe I’ll find a new tradition just for myself.

I’m not sad about all of this…not exactly. I’m just not pleased, if that makes any sense. I’m not happy, but I’m not upset either. Maybe a few days apart with help me understand what Phillip’s life would look like in mine if I finally did move out and on with my own life, leaving him to pursue his own endeavors. Maybe I’ll get a glimpse of what life post divorce really does look like. And that’s probably for the best.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Life Is Just Better With A Teddy Bear In It.

There are little bits of teddy bears everywhere….Arms and legs, bodies and heads lay scattered atop alpaca skeins…..

If Santa were a scrawny man, I’d have the job. I feel like the ultimate toymaker this time of year. My hands move in quick fashion, as my double pointed needles whirl through my fingers. I can’t tell you how much having one of my teddy bears under a Christmas tree does for my spirit. I’ll wake Christmas morning knowing that some adorable little one is squishing one of my teddy bears with all the strong love they can give.

257849577_412953950499462_1453703904866873108_nI will agree that the times we are living in are strange. I hate to say it, but there seems to be an unshakable moroseness that none of us seems to be able to shake. Financially, there is an uncertainty that hangs over many of us. Spiritually, some are struggling to find their faith. Emotionally, many are left feeling alone.

So, that is why it is more critical than ever that we truly focus only on the positive moments this holiday season. Remember, “Fear not! For, I bring you good tidings of great joy!” Good things are on the horizon! Beautiful things await all of us, if we just remember to stay patient and persistent in our positive outlook.

My teddy bears always represent hope in the darkest of times. Don’t forget, I was homeless when I first started knitting them, hoping that one would sell so that I could eat…..then after selling enough of them, I got my little studio garage apartment….then a career. The hope in my teddy bears has always been the true essence of why they are so adored. Life just feels like it’s going to be alright when you have a teddy bear in your life.

Now, I know not everyone can afford one of my teddy bears, so I thought I’d just give you the pattern, for free. Feel free to fill the world with as many teddy bears as you can…send hope to all corners of the world. 🙂 With about $10 and a free weekend, you can knit up one of my teddy bears easily. Gift them, give them….but, be sure to greedily keep one for yourself!

If you do use the pattern, and only if you are fortunate enough to, please toss a little something in my tip jar….That would mean a lot to me.

Now! Let’s go knit some teddy bears!

241434156_1132137397314136_5048963449264906032_nTHE KNIT TEDDY BEAR

Materials
Yarn Bee’s “Alpaca Twist” in any colors you desire.
Size 8 double pointed knitting needles.
Size 8 straight needles
Small amount of black yarn (about a yard) for embroidering the face.
Poly-fill

HEAD
Beginning at the muzzle and with double pointed needles cast on 9 stitches.
Divide evenly onto three needles. Join, careful not to twist, and knit each stitch.
Place marker to denote beginning of round.
First round: k1, k1fb, k1 on each needle. (12 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch
Next round: k1fb in each stitch around. (24 stitches)
Knit three rounds.
Next round: (k3, k1fb) around. (30 stitches)
Knit three rounds.
Next round: (k4, k1fb) around. (36 stitches)
Knit two rounds.
Next round: (k5, k1fb) around. (42 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Knit 7 rounds.
Next round: (k5, k2tog) around. (36 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k4, k2tog) around. (30 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k3, k2tog) around. (24 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k2, k2tog) around. (18 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round. k2tog around. (9 stitches)

Cut yarn, leaving a long strand (about 18″) and thread through live stitches and pull off needle, but do
NOT draw through yet! Sew up muzzle with cast on strand from the inside. Stuff firmly with fiberfill,
then draw long strand tightly, closing up hole at the back of the head. Sew up hole with 2 or 3 stitches
to securely close. Leave long strand, set aside for assembly later.

EARS (make 2)
With 2 double pointed needles, cast on 6 stitches.
First row: k1fb in each stitch.
Next row: purl each stitch.
Next row: (k1, k1fb) across.
Next row: purl each stitch.
Next row: (k2, k1fb) across.
Work stockinet stitch for 3 rows.
Next row: (k2, k2tog) across.
Next row: purl each stitch.
Next row: (k1, k2tog) across.
Next row: purl each stitch.
Next row: k2tog across.

Cut yarn leaving long strand, thread through remaining stitches on needle and pull tightly.

BODY
Beginning at the bottom of the body and with double pointed needles cast on 9 stitches. Divide evenly
onto three needles. Join, careful not to twist, and knit each stitch.
Place marker to denote beginning of round.
First round: k1, k1fb, k1 on each needle. (12 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch Next round: k1fb in each stitch around. (24 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k3, k1fb) around. (30 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k4, k1fb) around. (36 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k5, k1fb) around. (42 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Knit 17 rounds.
Next round: (k5, k2tog) around. (36 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k4, k2tog) around. (30 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k3, k2tog) around. (24 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round: (k2, k2tog) around. (18 stitches)
Next round: knit each stitch.
Next round. k2tog around. (9 stitches)

Cut yarn, leaving a long strand (about 18″) and thread the through live stitches and pull off needle, but
do NOT draw through yet! Sew up cast on hole with cast on strand from the inside. Stuff firmly with
fiberfill, then draw long strand tightly, closing up hole. Sew up hole with 2 or 3 stitches to securely
close the body. Leave long strand to use to attach to head, set aside later for assembly.

LEGS (make 2)
Using 2 double pointed needles cast on 10 stitches, leaving about a 3 inch strand from your slip knot
(This will come in handy later).
Beginning at the sole, purl the first row.
Next Row: (right side) k1fb, k1,m1 (7 times) k1, k1fb (19 stitches)
Next Row: purl all stitches
Next Row: k4, m1, [k3, m1] 4 times, k3 (24 stitches)
Work in stockinet stitch for 7 rows
Next Row: k8, [k2tgther 4 times] k8 (20 stitches)
Next Row: purl all stitches Next Row: k6, [k2tgthr 4 times,] k6 (16 stitches)
Next Row: purl all stitches Next Row: k7, k2tgthr, k7 (15 stitches)
Work in stockinet stitch for 3 rows.
Next Row: k2, m1, k11, m1, k2 (17 stitches)
Work in stockinet stitch for 13 rows.
Next Row: k1 [k2tgthr 8 times]

Cut yarn leaving a long (about 18″) strand, thread through remaining stitches and draw tightly. With
rights sides facing, sew up leg seam with long strand, and the sole using the original cast on strand,
leaving a small hole at the ankle. Turn inside out, stuff with fiberfill and sew up ankle using the long
strand. Set aside for assembly later.

ARMS (make 2)
Using 2 double pointed needles cast on 6 stitches, leaving about a 2 inch strand from your slip not for
use later.
Beginning at the shoulder, purl the first row.
Next Row: k1fb, [k1, m1 3 times] k1, k1fb (11 stitches)
Next Row: purl all stitches.
Next Row: k2, m1, k2, m1, k3, m1, k2, m1, k2 (15 stitches)
Work in stockinet for 25 rows.
Next Row: k1, [k2tgthr 7 times].

Cut yarn leaving a long (about 18″) strand, thread through remaining stitches and draw tightly. With
right sides facing, sew up arm seam using long strand and using the 2 inch original cast on thread, sew
up shoulder, leaving a small opening (about half an inch) near the top of the arm seam near the
shoulder. Turn inside out, stuff with fiberfill and sew up small opening using the long strand.
Set aside for assembly later.

1If you have any problems with my pattern, please by all means, let me know. The best way to show you how to do all of the stuffing, sewing, and embroidering of the eyes, mouth and nose, is if you watch this video from a teddy bear knit a long we did recently on my youtube channel. Everything you need to know, all of the little tricks and things that I do to make my teddy bear are all there for you to enjoy. 🙂

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

All Dolled up and Propped in the Shop

254453451_4430251113677491_34073032903933478_nI can’t think of anything quite as special as finding a teddy bear under the tree Christmas morning. There is something lifelong about the clutch a teddy bear has on your heart. It’s beautiful, warm….especially when you have a teddy bear that’s as plump as this little guy.

He’s all dolled up and propped up my shop and priced to sell quickly. There’s only one, so don’t delay!

Four Days To Pray

I first want to thank you all for being so gracious to me. I was able to pay rent. As donations came in, I quickly sent the payments to my landlord via venmo. I had a little bit extra, so I paid the electric bill. And with a touch left over, I treated Phillip and myself  to Stasio’s Deli. I’d eat there everyday if I could. Her meals feel like home cooked dinners a mom would make.

Then I decided to be quiet for a little while….

254647737_213303324146735_7474407143408174344_nFor the last four days I’ve been in a tender place, a sacred place, alone with my thoughts, just trying to find a soft place to land in the mind. I spent some time with Mario, tending to her little grave that is watched over by the Blessed Mother. It was a nice visit. I miss that little cat….When Mario died, she closed the chapter on a part of my life that was nearly two decades long; a chapter in a book you only get to read once.

It was a good four days to disconnect with my own problems so that I could align myself with something deeper before I proceed with all of the wonderful things I’d like to pursue. There was a definite need for some grounding, some centering of the soul. I think you can only find that in silence….save the whistle of the wind through the ferns, the crunch of fallen leaves on your path, and the chirping of friendly birds. 

I think we all have a tendency to rush to a place that is frantic when we’re in trouble, rather than just trusting that God will move the very Universe to help us when we need it. There is solace in that idea, some truly profound peace. My dear friend told me recently that he thought much of my panic and dread comes often from the idea that I’ll be homeless again. “But, that won’t happen again,” he said. “Not with how much you’re loved.”

That sort of statement can bring someone to tears. 

In the last four days I have come to adore the idea of putting that love first, before anything. Because if I should put God’s love, your love, and my own love of this self first in feeling, then all will be well. There is no pain, no judgments, no hardships. There is only this great presence of undeniable joy, so enthralling, that it can even cause a Buddhists to give a slight smirk when praying. (It feels so good, this presence of the spirit, how could you not smile?)

So, today is the last day that I’m taking for myself and time alone with God before picking my knitting needles back up, before digging through my embroidery floss, before writing another chapter in a book. This quiet retreat at Honeychurch and your reaching out to me with kindness over the past four days, has shown me blessings that I didn’t know I had….and revealed how much I truly am loved.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

 

 

Getting Rid of the Donate Button

Tenacity in an unusual economic environment should be the only virtue a small business should hold dear. Ride it out, hold on. Don’t let these moments sink your spirit. Find ways to adapt, be creative, think outside your normal limits. In order to survive the Prohibition, Yuengling Beer began to sell Yuengling Ice Cream. With whatever resource you have, find a way to keep your company alive.

I have started sending blog posts that I’ve written to various major publications, hoping they’ll not only find one they’d like to repost, but perhaps find my work tangible enough to hire me as a contributor. I’ve also taken on StoryTerrace.com, hoping to compete with them in ghost writing memoirs for anyone who wants their story told by offering a little more for about half the cost. I call mine, “The Book of Your Life.”

I’ve made my teddy bears larger so that their plump new size would add value without adding any more cost to the customer. I’m working on my next children’s book, “The Pillow Guardians,” with the hopes that the story will be so inspiring to young people that they will demand one of the teddy bear’s from the book. (If you already own one of them, can you imagine how much more they would be worth? WOW!) I’ve taken on embroidery, artistically exploring bouquets on the back of denim jackets, making hoop art with floss and any fabric I can find, punching towards a new way to succeed.

Everyday a new idea comes to mind on how I can hit my bottom line and maneuver my ship through a weary storm. Because everyday, every idea that comes to mind, could potentially be the one that wins, the idea that finally takes me to a higher level in whatever endeavor I choose.

Despite that, I still have my financial problems. Now, I do not view these problems as hindrances, but a challenge to the imagination. I’m still $200 short on rent, and today is the last day before it becomes a serious problem for Phillip and me. (Phillip is not at fault here. He paid his half on time).

I have to market myself more, put myself in front of more people, get more eyeballs to look at my blog, my bears, and my books. So, that’s what I’ve been doing today to drum up some interest in what I do, who I am, and how this all started. I’ve been reaching out across the great globe to anyone who has an email where they can be contacted. I could have spent the day knitting another teddy bear, but I felt the hours were better spent cold calling and knocking on virtual doors like an old school salesman would.

I would like to be paid for my work from now on. No exceptions. In order to do that, in order to get to the next level of success that I think I’m worth, I need to take down my donate button. I have one bear in the shop. I love the little thing, but selling him wouldn’t cover the money I need to finish paying rent. Selling “The Book of Your Life” project to my first client would! That’s in the shop, as well.

But more so, this blog has been up and running for 10 years. I don’t even think Carrie Bradshaw’s column lasted this long. This has been the longest memoir, the deepest kind of diary, of a man who shares everything he can about his own experience with life. And if this blog has given you pleasure and joy, if it brings you back to see the next chapter in my life, donate a little something. You’ve been with me since I was homeless, through my successes going viral, through my marriage, then divorce. You’ve lived every moment of this life with me.

252478745_402453538017884_6187061157579586162_nIf I am able to pay my rent tonight and put a little aside towards next month, then I’ll take down the donate button for good. I promise you that. You’ll never see it pop up on my blog post again, because it means I was able to stabilize and move forward, rather than swirl around in an eddy that’s headed down an economic drain. I was able to level out and begin to reap the rewards of selling my work, my talents. 

And if the donate button is gone by the time you read this, then thank you for wanting to help, but I got what I needed to move ahead and won’t need more. I’ll be able to focus on imaginative ways to really start selling myself again.

I don’t want to be a starving artist anymore than I want to be a failed businessman. But, it’s time the two of those facets of myself begin to speak to each other. That businessman in me needs to start feeding the artist in me.

Thank you!

Fairy Tale Beginnings

In an effort to find my first client, I asked a friend if I could just write the first page of what the “Book of Her Life” would read, just so I could sample what I’d like to do. She said yes and wow….It became something more of an interview. Someone talking about their life….and someone just listening. So, what follows is a taste of what I could do if you’d allow me to write your story.

FAIRY TALE BEGINNINGS

She said with a smile in her voice, “I wish I remembered my time living in Japan. I was just a baby, though. I only have pictures of me being held by my mom and dad….” She then confessed that she had about a dozen boxes of photographs of her life, all crammed under lids she often couldn’t open.

IMG_0017Virginia was born in North Carolina in September of 1954 at the Fort Bragg Army Hospital, but it wasn’t long after that this new family of three was whisked away to Okinawa, where her father was now stationed. Her bright blue eyes moved towards the ivory chopsticks she has sitting on a bureau. They are chipped, a little scratched, probably 75 years old by now.

“My mother used to wear those to keep her bun in place.” Then her eyes caught a photograph of her mother when she was about 40. The resemblance between the two women was uncanny. Elevated cheek bones, the slight arched brow. Her mother was a woman of natural elegance and beauty. Virginia’s father was a simple, creative man, who loved to build. He was so good at eyeballing the design of a structure, he could tell you down to the tenth of an inch what measurement was needed to put that joint into place…and he was rarely wrong.

His career in the military took his family back to the United States where Virginia’s first sister was born. It wasn’t that much later that the now family of four was sent to Germany, where her brother was born. A few years later they were off to France.

This was not a wealthy family, mind you. This was a military family that lived on a definite budget. This was a family that was packed in a Volkswagen on the weekends, with Virginia’s mother having made a sandwich lunch for everyone while her farther drove them to the very far away lands of the castles they were reading about in books. Look! Cinderella’s castle! Now, look over there! It’s Frankenstein’s castle! Next up, Crazy Ludwig’s!

“I grew up with my mom and dad taking us to castles and stuff on the weekends. Real castles some kids will never dream of being able to see.”

Eventually, they came back to the United States where Virginia’s youngest sister was born. “We’re ten years and two days apart in age.” The family of six was now firmly back on American soil for good.

But adjusting to life back in the States was a little more difficult than moving around the world. “Middle school and high school were more difficult than I thought they’d be. That was difficult. That adjustment was difficult, being in middle school and then high school. I was going to school with people who had forged bonds with each other from the very beginning. They probably still have those bonds to this day. All this time I had forged a bond with my brother, my sisters. That bond will last forever.”

252096091_582918376254074_4800176597658562812_nWhen asking someone about their life, it isn’t often the answer to the question that you’re looking for, but the reaction they give.

“What’s the next big thing that happened to you?”

Virginia sighed, paused. She was reticent. “I married my first husband when I was sixteen.” The words are one thing to hear, but the tone was dismissive. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it.

However, she ultimately did. “We both joined the army and I was sent back to Europe.” The dullness in her voice confessed that this time there would be no castles. And that is precisely where Virginia’s story starts. Where the fairy tales end and real life begins….

Thank you so much to Virginia for letting me do this. I cannot thank her enough for being so honest, candid, and kind with what she shared of her story. Please let us know what you think.

And if you’d like for me to write “The Book of Your Life,” I would be so honored. 

Feeling Blessed All Season Long

Well, it’s the third day of a new November….and I couldn’t’ be happier.

252018614_101894532283311_7869241467746937966_nChristmas is getting closer and closer and my little room is starting to look more and more like Santa’s workshop. I’ve got yarn piled up and ready to go. Bags of polyfill are stacked in the corner. I am truly looking forward to this Christmas, despite what may happening in the world with supply chain problems and everything else. As a matter of fact, instead of trying to buy things that are made in mass, then delivered across the globe, why not celebrate this Christmas with things that are genuine, rare, things that can be handed down from generation to generation. And what better gift than one of my little teddy bears.

The truth is, I’m still trying to pay my end of the rent. Phillip is being patient, but he’s not the landlord. So, I thought I’d do whatever I can to pay that off as quickly as possible by selling the bears I have in the shop (not enough to carry me across the finish line), but go ahead and take some orders as well.

252319141_412345473705399_8182566697906622755_nOne of my standard teddy bears in the color of your choice will cost $55 including shipping. Or! (And this is my favorite because I like making little clothes for my bears), you can get a fully dressed bear with a removable hat, scarf and sweater.

Or you could hire me to write your biography! All the details for that are in the shop. I haven’t had my first client yet, and I’m soooo anxious to work on something like that. That first sell could be an absolute life saver for me. Not only could I pay off my rent, I’d have enough left over to get ahead. (For the first time in a long time!) If we acted quickly, we could have a few copies ready for you to give to your friends and family before Christmas. But, we would have to get started right away. So don’t delay!

Or if you’d like to help out just to show support for my blog, donating always helps out. Some days I sit and knit myself into a frenzy, hoping to get the bear done in time for some cash, then poof! A donation will appear! I’ll do my little dance, thank the Universe that you care enough about me to do so, then get back to my knitting, but with a little ease in my needles.

I’m feeling more than just good about today. I know in my heart I’ll be able to vinmo the landlord my half of the rent, then watch a little television with Phillip with a nice meal in my tummy. If those are the worst of my problems right now, then I’m doing really well. And I want to carry that sense of feeling blessed all season long.

So, if you’d like one of the bears I have ready to go, click here to go to my shop. If you’d like me to write “The Book of Your Life,” (please please please :), then click here. If you’d like for me to custom knit a bear for you, please send me an email at madmanknitting@gmail.com. And of course, you can always donate just to say you appreciate my blog. Thank you all so much for the support!

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Want a Patriarchy? Then That’s What You’ll Get.

I’ve been having the most spirited conversation with a very close friend about the existence of “the patriarchy.” I told her immediately that I didn’t think that it existed. She, like many reading this, will disagree, but hear me out.

I’ve never been fond of the pursuit to vilify someone. Or even worse, the joy you could possibly find in that. The principle laws of the universe simply demand that if you desire something, it will be given to you. If you desire finding the wrong in someone, then that is all you will ever experience. The need to find facts and figures to prove that someone is an oppressor just makes you more of a victim of this socialized acceptance to find fault with another, rather than finding their brilliance. Hobbies should not include spending hours and hours digging up reasons why you (and all of us) are victims of another’s oppression. You will spin in circles, looking in every direction for someone to rectify your hatred.

We are able to make these arguments, we are able to have these debates in a society that is so stable that we are fortunate enough to come to the battle field with ideas rather than swords. However, those ideas can affect emotions much deeper than a sliced wound ever could, because they last so much longer than the scab that can eventually heal the situation. Wounds can heal in a matter of weeks, Ideas last longer. Ideas become imprints on how we move through our emotions. And when ideas take you to a place of emotion where it feels better to feel oppressed by someone else, victimized by someone else, or hatred for someone else….well, you’ve lost the battle. Why? Because you’re spending your time trying to justify hatred.

Perpetuating these ideas in young people does a disservice to everyone, for it hinders momentum in the individual, squashes any desire to strive for the appreciation of your own merits and your own accomplishments. Why bother? The patriarchy won’t let you. So sit there. Stay! Be mundane….

Condoleezza Rice made one of the best statements ever. “Prejudice and racism was someone else’s problem. Not mine.” She understood that if you cling to this real oppression, this real idea that you cannot do anything at all in life because of someone else, then you will never see all of the things that you are inherently blessed with, all of the things you are capable of. You deny yourself of anything that is possible. You limit yourself. You allow an idea that promotes hindrance to become normal, you allow this way of thinking to become a lifestyle, something to pursue, something to obtain, something to preach and teach about: I will never do better because I was told so, because they won’t let me… And the wretched seed in all of that is a recognition that you must hate someone else, blame someone else, possibly attack and hurt someone else in order to feel pleased about that situation. Someone else must be destroyed in order for you to survive….

What a terrible path to go down. How primitive….

My friend may have thought that our conversation was about “the patriarchy,” when I was thinking the conversation was about so much more.

251037838_1299735787130580_6269256599063838859_nMy initial response to the idea that men control our lives was that my entire existence is deeply entrenched in a matriarchy. There was no possible way I could be persuaded into believing that a patriarchy exists. My authority figures (my mother and grandmother), my best friends (especially her!), and my biggest champions (you!) are all women….I don’t see a cabal of men out to suppress women, I see the opposite. I see a mass of wonderful women out to support a simple man in a ball cap and boots who knits, embroiders, and reflects in his writing. I see compassionate, caring women. none of them suppressing a man because he is a man and part of the problem. NO! They see me as an individual! I don’t want to speak on their behalf, but I can only think that these women, this matriarchy, value me as the person I am: someone wanting to share love and be loved. No hatred here.

My world is not beset with a desire to find someone to blame. No, I spend my time thanking the Universe constantly for all these amazing women that read what I write and encourage me to write more(!), women that buy my art, women that send materials so that I might create more art.

My friend can say all she wants about the punished life under a patriarchy, while I’ll be crying with joy about the blessings I’ve had under a matriarchy. (Good grief, I am a man in a female dominated scene! It doesn’t seem to have hindered me, it seems to have made people love me. It wasn’t about my gender, it was because of my work!)

I don’t spend my time looking for reasons why I’m a victim, hunting an oppressor, then faulting them for my failures. No, I spend my time thanking the Universe for all the wonderful souls in my life.

And if that’s what you ask for, that’s what you’ll get….

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