There isn’t one me, and that’s OK.

A post at Hearthrose’s blog got me thinking about something recently.

Although I take pride in being pretty independent and happy to be alone, like all people I try and craft myself a story which minimizes conflict, which allows me to appear more congruent, to fit into the group.

But the thing is, although I am functional, stable and happy, I am not a sane, balanced, “one story” sort of a person. I’ve done a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff has happened to me, and my refusal to adhere to one group means my outlook on life isn’t from the same vantage point as any given person I am talking to. I have been on welfare and among the elite at the Oxford and Cambridge club. I have spent time in churches and posing nude for painting and photography groups. I have been paid to write liberal essays, but I have also intentionally associated with Marxists and feminists. I have lived across countries, incomes, social boundaries… And between that and the randomly flicking light switch which is my hormonal balance, I am not sane or balanced, there is no “one story”.

I find that with the way my head works, it’s hard to reconcile many different aspects of myself. I learned from a young age that people as disjointed and random as me aren’t “real” people, that I needed to simplify myself in order to be “genuine”. Although no one person has mattered to me beyond Jon, I’ve still tried to minimize conflict by wedging myself into one story and hiding anything which didn’t quite fit.

Pregnancy has given me some time to think about this though, especially about disorders like bipolar and disorders of shallow affect. I know they’re highly heritable. But I don’t want my son to end up like my father: a bipolar alcoholic unable to reconcile all the facets of his identity into something pleasant and superficially genuine, which people might find easier to swallow. I want my son to be able to be weird and disjointed, to not commit to something unless he needs to or wants to or believes it makes sense, to not force himself into an indentity or a group without reason. I don’t want to make him think he has to find a community he can perfectly blend into and fade into the background. Because that is what happened to my father and it doesn’t work.

I don’t care any more if I’m a bit too sweary or immodest at times for the traditional spheres. Or if I’m not racy or flaunty enough for social media. Or if I’m not religious enough for small communities. Or if I’m not abrasive enough for my age group. I don’t care that I read anything from the KJ Bible to Deadman Wonderland, that I’m an anime nerd, that I can’t hate the sex industry, that I prefer to be alone most of the time, that I’m self-absorbed, that I like to do traditional tasks, that I hoard money instead of using it.

I’d rather get on with being me, doing what I must do in order to succeed at what I want, accepting the different sides of myself and not hiding them in order to fit in better or appease someone. If something needs fixing, I’ll fix it, not pretend it isn’t there to give a better impression. And if I lose a few people along the way, then they’re not part of my story, are they?

How To… be better than your man.

Confused? Let me explain.

If we aim to be excellent homemakers, we are therefore aiming to improve ourselves. And in this improvement we should find that in some areas we begin to surpass our partner. After all, the breadwinner, even if they are also working on self-improvement, will be excelling in other areas. They may have been a great cook to begin with, but we aim to be an excellent cook. They have no interest in gardening or DIY but we are mastering them both. In short: in some aspects we will be better. And there is a right way to handle this. We will use budgeting as an example, as it is a personal one I have more knowledge on.

1: Acknowledge each other’s abilities.

Regardless of what your relationship dynamic, acknowledge and accept that even if you are great at budgeting, this does not make you superior as a human being. First of all, your superiority in this area does not mean they are no good at all at budgeting. And secondly, they are better in other areas which at other times may be more important.

Key here is also that they acknowledge your abilities. To say you are great at budgeting in no way takes away from the fact that they can handle their budgeting when they need to, nor does it cancel out their own abilities.

2: Acknowledge your own limitations.

Likewise, we need to accept our limitations. Just because we are better at budgeting does not make us absolute experts. There will be nuances they are more familiar with, or the situation may be one that you have not handled yet. It is impossible to know everything.

Again, your partner is likely aware of their personal limitations. They know that you have an edge in most areas and are unlikely to be being stubborn when they refuse your help. It is more likely that the nuances and your limitations concern them.

3: When a decision involves you both, talk about it first.

Regardless of how expert you are at budgeting, or whether or not your skills are superior, do not make decisions that involve them without talking about it. It is one thing to offer advice from experience or to make a final decision when it is up to you. It is another thing entirely to walk up to your partner and declare you’ve moved your life savings into a form of investment. Even if the end decision is exactly what you expected it to be: don’t assume, ask.

4: When they are struggling, offer help.

When the final decision is up to them, do not attempt to wrangle it from them or undermine them. Instead, offer your advice and let them listen to as much as they want or need to. If the decision affects you both, your partner will be willing to hear reasonable input. And if they are genuinely having a hard time, they may welcome some help. But the key is to offer, never to force.

5: Do your best, but know when to back down.

Sometimes your awareness of the specifics is not good enough to carry you through. Sometimes they are determined to make a certain decision even though you fear it. Know when it is not your place to try and control your partner and back down. If you need to, take action to safeguard yourself. But do not turn an offer of help into a “do what I say or else”.

Quite simply: don’t try and control your partner’s life just because you have more knowledge or skills in a highly specific area; but also do not let them make you act against your knowledge or best interests. Communicate, be kind, be humble.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

It isn’t wicked to be an enabler, just misdirected.

It is often too easy to see the flaws in a behaviour and not the healthy points at the root of it. Enabling is one of those behaviours where the healthy components are often overlooked.

When we call someone an enabler, we usually mean “a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another”. However the primary definition in the dictionary is not that. That part comes second. The primary definition is “a person or thing that makes something possible”. And that’s something important to bear in mind.

An enabler, at their core, is someone who wants to give someone else what they want. The enabler may enable an alcoholic by buying said alcoholic more drinks when the alcoholic’s state is too bad to get out the house. The enabler will do this because they believe it is good, as it makes the alcoholic happy. They do not want the alcoholic to suffer or do badly; if they did they would be a saboteur: “a person who engages in sabotage”, to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.

The problem therefore is in what they are enabling. They are enabling a negative habit, which in the end will cause more harm than good.

And therein lies the problem. An enabler is not a wicked person. They simply need to learn that what they are enabling is a wicked thing, that temporary happiness and praise is not a sign all is well, and often they will adjust and make efforts to enable more positive traits.

Enabling, once redirected, is a marvellous and powerful thing. Housewives and the home guard enabled healthy men to go to war when it was required. Kelly Ann Conway enabled Trump to portray himself well to the media. General Curtis LeMay enabled the Berlin Airlift. Objectively, in all cases everyone involved benefitted from their enabling.

So don’t fear being an enabler. Just ask yourself if you’re doing it for the feels or for the results.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What things have you enabled in the past? In what ways have you been enabled, for better or for worse?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Blue Pill behaviour puts magic before accountability.

Whether it’s in the form of feminism, Marxism, or what the Red Pill describe as “Beta”, Blue Pill behaviour seems to be born of blind idealism. They deny reality for pleasantries that defy reality. However, I put it to you that blind idealism is not completely blind. Instead, it is a sort of casual self-deception, a willful ignorance designed to protect oneself.

Take, for instance, the concept of a “soulmate”, ubiquitous wherever Blue Pill mentality emerges. Whilst it is indeed possible to be in a relationship with someone you are highly compatible with, and even many more realistic people will accept the possibility of developing a unique bond from which a couple may enable each other, it is only under Blue Pill mentality that the soulmate becomes:

  • ineffable
  • unconditional
  • eternal
  • predestined

Thus, the assumption is that your soulmate was chosen for you before you knew about it, cannot have a flaw, will love you forever and no matter what.

The reality of “soulmates” is that you chose your soulmate, that you crafted each other into what you needed, that your love is conditional and that whilst you accept their flaws, you can still see them… even if they are not flaws in your eyes.

The reality requires you to work hard. You must be a desirable person to the sort of person you wish to attract. You must accept their flaws – whether you personally take issue with them or whether they are flaws on a societal or cultural level. You must be open about your own flaws. You must accept their conditions for love and they must accept yours.

But that isn’t pleasant, or easy. The Blue Pill ideal of love is almost parental instead. They want a sexual partner who loves them intrinsically and unconditionally, for their shining, eternal, invisible, intangible soul. Thus, a “soulmate”, to them, is someone who requires no work to conquer, to love and to care for. Someone who brings no grief, no worries, no conflict, no pressure, intentionally or incidentally, for better or for worse.

When they see a pair who have achieved a balance through hard work and focus and deep love, all they see is some magical aura which unites the two, a red string between their fingers, a zodiac alignment, a mystical bond. They seize this as proof that soulmates exist exactly as they would define them.

Because to accept that everyone who has something good, on some level must work for it, is to accept that they are not putting in the work.

And that might require them to change.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Men Like Capable Women.

However much we discuss the nuances of female desire, it seems almost taboo to discuss the subtleties of male desire. The assumption is that men care only about bodies, or ought to care about personality, that men should simply be happy and grateful to get a woman’s attention at all and that they are simple beings who want simple things.

I have already touched on the subject of intellect and desire before, in that humans, being brainy creatures, do desire intellect, just not in the exclusionary and simple way intellect is commonly presented.

But there is yet another nuance to male desire and intelligence which is rarely if ever addressed. As mentioned, most men do want a smart woman, even if an IQ score or a PhD isn’t what’s going to get you a declaration of undying love. And a key part of being a smart woman is to be capable. That means that whatever your IQ or education, you need to be using every ounce of brain to handle your life like an adult.

You could have an IQ of 145, three PhDs, make great money, and even be a solid 9/10 on top, but if you are constantly in debt despite your income, battling a prescription meds habit, and unable to keep your own living space at least hygienic, then you’re not going to draw anyone in for a long term deal. Quite simply, you have great genes, but you’re a shoddy partner.

Men, much like women, prefer it when the person they are dating is a capable, functional human being. Men like it when a woman is smarter and prettier, as that means better genes for their children. But the thing that persuades them to invest long-term is when a woman is an asset to their lives, not just to their offspring. The woman who can save money regardless of income, the woman who can polish up and dish out regardless of looks, the woman who can handle her paperwork and DIY and home regardless of intellect, these women get a bigger boost from their skills.

Of course, being a capable high earner with great looks and a high IQ will put you ahead of a capable low earner with worse looks and an average IQ. But the second woman will blow a less capable woman of almost any walk of life out of the water.

And besides, you needn’t even do it for your (extant or potential] partner. You can’t change your IQ, looks or luck by much. But making sure you have your life together will do wonders for your ability to enjoy it.

So ask yourself how much you can handle on your own, what you can’t handle, and why. It’s the first step towards a happier life and a happier man.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Living with humans.

Living with people is hard. Even harder when you are introverted, not highly emotive, and overly practical about how to run your life. Even harder when your lifestyle is markedly alternative. But living with people can be handled.

As briefly mentioned last week, we were thinking of moving in with relatives and it fell through. And one of the reasons for it was quite simply that we felt we could not live with them at all. Their lifestyle clashed with ours, but there was a requirement that we merge our lives. And every pressure was put on us to change our own behaviours and accept the behaviours of the people we were moving in with. Which I suppose is fair enough, as they were there first. But neither Jon nor I are ready to change our lives so dramatically for anything or anyone. And the levels of drama were, quite frankly, massively above what we can tolerate, which, incidentally, is “as close to zero as possible”. So why try at all? Quite simply, we didn’t actually expect to have to change so much.

You see, we comfortably “live” with a couple we’re friends with semi regularly. We’ve had sleepovers, shared hotels, and our last holiday involved a solid week of houseshare. And although even arranging a single visit or day with the relatives was a nightmare, somehow living for a week with our friends was easy. We could do basic housework, arrange meals together, go places and even schedule my work and medical emergencies and shopping, all without a single falling out. So what gives? Why can we do that with them, but not our own family?

The core difference actually comes down to independence versus agreeability. Jon and I both have a strong desire to be independent, both as individuals and as a couple. So we aim to do as much as we can on our own. We also would rather things got done than did not, so we’re both agreeable as long as the work that needs to get done is getting done, but not at all agreeable when delays occur. And our friends are very much the same. They want to do their own thing and they want to do it in peace. So even though we were living together and doing things together, ultimately we were still operating as individuals and we were agreeable so as to enable all of us to continue operating as individuals.

Meanwhile, the main sources of conflict with the family were based around dependence and a need for agreeability beyond comfort. They were demanding to be informed of every aspect of our lives, insisting on helping us rather than letting us hire someone to do work, and getting upset whenever we chose to do something on our own. They were essentially demanding a merge of lives, a loss of independence to us. Share the dogs, let them take care of XYZ, put their needs first. And being highly emotive people, whenever we sought independence over communialism, they became upset. So rather than focusing on a problem, such as the dog needing somewhere to stay but them being unable to keep up their promises, or the solution, such as finding someone else to take care of her, we were expected to first and foremost focus on how we hurt their feelings throughout the situation. In other words, we were expected to be dependent on them and to be agreeable towards them. It was the complete opposite of our relationship with our friends.

I’m sure many people are happy to live with people who they are dependent on and agreeable towards. But ultimately, to avoid drama, you and the people you live with need to agree on your levels of interdependence and agreeability. Whether you want to lead completely isolated lives under the same roof or whether one of you will be completely dependent, you need to agree on that. And whether you want to handle everything bluntly or whether you need people to be sensitive to your emotions, you need to agree on that.

People can live together when they lead completely different lives. They cannot live together when their socializing patterns are completely different.

Let that be a lesson to all: before living with people, discuss dependence levels and how agreeable you need to be to each other. Because drama doesn’t come from disagreements, conflicting beliefs or busy lives. Drama comes from differing neediness.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Bait, Bid, and Bite, everyday affections.

The flip-side to last week’s post about giving time and space, I would like to take the time this week to address the “bait and bite” of comfort-seeking behaviour in relationships.

In CBT this behaviour is referred to simply as “validation”, although it’s not exactly what we think of when we generally hear the term. In relationship psychology it’s called a “bid”. And it goes a little like this.

One member of the couple experiences something.

They feel an urge to share it with their partner.

Their partner acknowledges the vocalization and the experience.

It seems simple, and it is, but it makes an enormous difference.

When we reach out like that, regardless of whether we are pointing out a cute dog, explaining what went wrong with our work day, discussing something we read or looking for confirmation that what we witnessed did, indeed, happen, we are comfort testing our partners. We are saying “this is my life experience, and I want you to also experience it”. We are saying “please see what I have seen and tell me it is valid to you as well”. We are saying “this is what matters to me right now”.

And all we need is for our partner to acknowledge what we said and acknowledge our experience. That’s it. They don’t need to agree with us, to share our emotions, to continue the conversation. All they need to do, in essence, is say “yes, I can see the dog”, “I’m sorry your work day was bad”, “that book sounds interesting/not my thing”, or “I saw it too”. It’s that simple.

We “bait” our partners with actions that are designed to captivate attention and words to draw their attention to things around us. If they “bite” and acknowledge the bait, however minorly or however personal or weird their reaction is, we feel acknowledged, wanted, respected and loved. If they ignore us and react passively or dismissively, we feel insecure. It’s the ultimate comfort test and all humans do it, introvert or extrovert, male or female. It also directly correlates with relationship longevity.

Example of positive, comforting “bait and bites”:

Him: “Wow, look at that truck.” “Look there.” “Truck ahead.”

Her: “Pretty cool.” “It’s red.” “Is that a toyota?” “Not my thing.” “Where?” (Typically with some emotion in voice or on face, turning to look at what he is pointing out.]

All acknowledge what he has seen, what he is saying and establish some sort of personal connection. On the other hand, a negative, worrying “bait and bite”:

Him: “Wow, look at that truck.” “Look there.” “Truck ahead.”

Her: “Huh.” #silence# “Wait one moment.” “I’m busy.” “Sure.” (Typically in a flat tone, whatever is said, without turning her head to the truck.]

None acknowledge what he has seen, all refuse to share the moment or indulge in a personal moment, all focus entirely on her.

It isn’t about talking more, or forcing yourselves to talk about your day or to do things together. It’s more about the responsiveness percentage when you share information with each other. The more bait goes unbitten, the more detached a couple become. The more bait we bite, the longer the relationship lasts. So skip the candlelit dinner or the relationship adviser if you want to revive the spark. Perhaps first try and look at your partner, respond to their comments, and invite them back into your world.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How often would you say you make a bid of your partner? How often to they bite the bait? How often do you respond to their bids? If you’re not sure, try and keep a “bid diary” for a bit and tally up how much you share each other’s world.

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.